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Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas

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“Every Body Matters” Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul by Gary Thomas is a book full of relevant information for the Body of Christ today.  This book has been very insightful in making the correlation between our physical body, including healthy eating plus exercise habits, and comparing it to the state of our spiritual health via the strength of our soul with the corresponding benefits of endurance and self-control.  Thomas directly ties this into the ability to fulfill the plan and purpose of God in the Believer’s life.

 

The author uses a very balanced approach to the subject of carrying too much weight.  In referring to the Body Mass Index (BMI) Thomas summarizes it by stating it like this, “Sin can lead us to become overweight but being overweight is not, in and of itself, a sin.”  He is quick to point out the drawbacks from carrying too much weight in terms of the decreased mobility, breathlessness, discomfort of moving around and accepting the gradual decline in personal health.

Gary Thomas stresses that caring for our bodies is a form of stewardship that must be taken seriously.  The temptation to eat more, sleep more and lie around more rather than engaging in life are the greatest thieves of life purpose.  An unfortunate effect of laziness is that it can become an ingrained behavior that spills over from the physical into the spiritual.  Physical activity benefits the brain and can help prevent age-related brain fogginess that develops by age 65.

Also covered in this book is an interesting look at a movement from England in the late nineteenth-century called Muscular Christianity.  I had never heard of this movement before and it is one that the modern church would benefit from greatly.  Even more fascinating was that movement’s awareness of the need to have a body fit for service to the Lord for an effective, influential, energetic life that commands respect as an effective witness to the world.  Their goal was to have Christians ready for the warfare of the Kingdom, by having victory in the warfare of the flesh through the disciplines of self-denial, courage and perseverance.

Thomas notes that we are all susceptible to the draw toward comfort and ease rather than sacrifice and denial.  Unfortunately the American church has been so focused on loving and not wanting to hurt people’s feelings that we are guilty of loving them to an early death by not having an honest conversation with them.   Even worse is that over weight pastors minister from pulpits across the country giving the impression that there is nothing wrong with all the extra weight.  The question is do we love them enough to confront and bring the hidden things of darkness into the light so true freedom can come?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Desiring a silver soul means that we stop treating our bodies like ornaments – with all the misguided motivations often displayed by those who build their bodies out of pride and ambition – and start treating our bodies like instruments, vessels set apart to serve the God who fashioned them.”

“Protecting your health is the same thing as protecting the vehicle through which God wants to change the world.”

“What if exercise and discipline in eating isn’t as much about physical health as about honoring the God who made us?”

“But we need to remember that our use of food is something that, due to our sinful nature, can imprison us, assault us, and take years off our lives.”

“The reality is that overeating and obesity kill far more people than anorexia or exercise.”

“But many of us feel quite comfortable with bodies that don’t honor God – in large part because everyone else in our church looks just like us.”

“In one very real and very intense sense, laziness undercuts the image of God in us.

“Spiritual laziness leads to resentment; spiritual diligence spawns insight and transformation from the exact same events.”

This is a very truthful and grace based approach to a subject that many in the church would rather avoid for fear of offending.  Gary Thomas does this beautifully and with a heart that recognizes the value of each individual’s contribution to the overall plan and purpose of God.  One of the great things he does is help the reader think about and identify circumstances that make you vulnerable and offer ideas for safeguards that help the reader to fortify their soul against failure.  I highly recommend you add this book to your library and pass it along to others when you’re done with it.

By way of disclosure: I received a free review copy of “Every Body Matters” by Gary Thomas from Zondervan in exchange for writing a review—good, bad, or otherwise.

© Copyright 2012 Bridget Haymond.  All rights reserved.

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 © 2012 Bridget Haymond ~ Renew, Refresh and Refocus Your Life  www.BridgetHaymond.com

 

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