This post attempts to provide a biblical understanding of what it means for a believer to maintain his body wisely. I commend it to you with the desire “that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).
What does it mean to maintain my body wisely?
To maintain my body wisely is “to keep [it] in a condition of good repair or efficiency” (definition of “maintain” – The American Heritage College dictionary, 1997, p. 817), “having understanding or discernment of what is true, right, or lasting” (definition of “wise” – Ibid., p. 1548). Keeping my body in an efficient condition is to keep it “acting or producing effectively with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort” (definition of “efficient,” Ibid., p. 437).
“Effectively” means, “in an effective way” (Ibid., p. 437), and “effective” means, “having an intended or expected effect” (Ibid.). Thus, putting all these definitions together, to maintain my body wisely is to keep it acting with or producing the intended or expected effects that it should with a minimum of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort, having understanding or discernment of what is true, right, or lasting.
What source of information is most important for me to maintain my body wisely?
I must have the right sources of information concerning my body to maintain it wisely. Scripture contains all the essential information needed for me to maintain my body wisely.
Information obtained from a proper study of “the firmament” that shows His handiwork is valuable and must also be heeded. It is, however, clearly of secondary importance in comparison to the information provided by Scripture.
What does Scripture teach about maintaining my body wisely?
Scripture reveals the universal reality that of God, through God, and to God are all things, to whom be/is the glory forever. Thus, wise maintenance of my body is one of the all things that are to His eternal glory.
The following points present many key truths from Scripture about how I maintain my body wisely.
- To maintain my body wisely, I must respond properly to the universal reality of all things being to the eternal glory of God. Apart from such a response, I cannot maintain my body wisely.
- The glory of God consists of His unique identity, character, and works. The glory of God is the absolute perfection of His unique identity, character, and works. I maintain my body wisely only as I show forth the praises of His glory in my body.
- Scripture repeatedly emphasizes the mercy of God in connection with Him being glorified. To respond properly to the universal reality of all things, especially His mercies, being to the eternal glory of God, I must properly present my body to God. Only as I properly yield myself and all of the members of my body to God will I maintain my body wisely.
- Then, I must not allow myself to be conformed to the world in any respect. I must not in any way fashion myself “according to the former lusts in [my] ignorance.” I must “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” To maintain my body wisely is that I “no longer should live the rest of [my] time in my [body] to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
- I must also be being transformed “day by day” by the renewing of my mind. Such renewing requires that I give the Word of God its proper place in me. Whatever God has said concerning my body must be delighted in and meditated upon for me to prosper in all things concerning my body, that is, to maintain my body wisely.
- Having properly presented my body to God, putting an end to all worldly conformity in my life, and continually being changed into the image of Christ, I must fully participate in the will of God for my life. Maintaining my body wisely is an essential facet of full participation in His will for my life.
- Full participation in the will of God for my life is to eat, drink, and do all else in my life to the glory of God. I must maintain my body wisely in order to be able to eat, drink, and do all else in my life to the glory of God.
- Maintaining my body wisely is an essential part of my having my identity, character, and works in proper correspondence to the glorious identity, character, and works of God. Having that proper correspondence is how I glorify God in my life in all that I do. To do so is to have the abundant life that Christ has come to give us.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I understand properly what my body is and what I therefore must do with it. My body is the greatest divine masterpiece in the material universe. I must glorify God by praising Him for my body and by maintaining it wisely.
- To maintain my body wisely, I must understand that God has made me an inhabitant of both the material realm and the immaterial realm. All the “laws of nature” that have been properly understood are in reality God’s laws of nature, and they are expressions of His will for my life. I must be in proper submission to God in the material realm by heeding properly His laws that govern the material universe.
- My body is a member of Christ. My body is the inner sanctuary of the Holy Ghost. My body is the blood-bought possession of God. Therefore, I must “glorify God in [my] body,” which is His, by maintaining it wisely.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I understand that because I belong to God, both by creation and by redemption, I am not my own. I am only a steward of my body. I must be a good steward of my body for the glory of God.
- Christ must have the preeminence in all things in my life. I maintain my body wisely only as He has the preeminence in all things concerning my body.
- Scripture reveals that God desires continual proclamation that He be magnified as the God who delights in the comprehensive prosperity of His servants. God delights in the prosperity of my body; therefore, I am to maintain it wisely in accord with that truth.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I present all the members of my body to God. Every part of my body and all of its capabilities must ever be “on the altar” as my “reasonable service” to Christ.
- My “reasonable service” to Christ requires that I maintain my body wisely so that I fulfill the role that the Lord has for me in my lifetime in His Great Commission. I must be taught to obey carefully all that Christ has commanded me, including what He has commanded me about all things concerning my body. Moreover, when I am ready to do so, I must teach others to do the same.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I understand and respond properly to the truth of the statement, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink.” Rather than being “meat and drink,” the kingdom of God is that I serve Christ acceptably to God in fulfilling the Great Commission by eating, drinking, and doing all else in life “in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
- Full participation in the will of God for my life requires that I manifest proper love for God and others in all that I do, including in maintaining my body wisely. To maintain my body wisely, I must lay down my life for the brethren. I must not seek my own nor give anyone offense in anything that I do, including in maintaining my body wisely.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I pray properly concerning my body. I am to pray for my total sanctification and that God would preserve my spirit, soul, and body blameless until Christ returns. I am to pray that I would have physical health that matches the prosperity of my soul. I am to pray that God would keep me from all that would unnecessarily bring pain, etc., to my life.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I “remember now [my] Creator in the days of [my] youth.” I must put away in youth all things that unnecessarily are presently bringing or at some future point will bring harm, calamity, or ruin to my body. I must put away in youth unhealthy eating habits and slothful living. I will only do so as I put on “the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” I must flee “youthful lusts,” including gluttony and sloth!
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I eat my food “in the sweat of [my] face.” To maintain my body wisely, I must properly labor in every realm of my life. In the will of God, I must be regularly physically active.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I not be intemperate in any of my bodily appetites. I must not be gluttonous, slothful, drunken, or immoral. I must be blamelessly temperate!
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I “keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” I must be “temperate in all things.” Doing so is immensely profitable for both this life and for the life to come.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I “bridle [my] whole body.” I can only do so if I sin not in what I say. If I do anything with “murmurings or disputings,” including anything I do concerning any facet of my body, I will “come short of the glory of God” of bridling my “whole body.” Only those who “do all things without murmurings and disputings” are able to glorify God in maintaining their bodies wisely by bridling their whole body.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I accept full responsibility for my failures to glorify God in my body. I must not cover my sins. I must not shift the blame to anyone or anything else. I must confess and forsake my failures to maintain my body wisely if I am to have mercy from God to be faithful in maintaining my body wisely.
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I refrain from all unnecessary fellowship with vessels “to dishonour,” including those who grossly fail to maintain their bodies wisely. Unnecessarily companying with those who do not maintain their bodies wisely “corrupt[s] good manners.”
- Maintaining my body wisely requires that I be a good, faithful, and wise steward of all that the Lord has entrusted to me, including my body. To be such a steward, I must have the proper conception of the imminent return of the Lord who will judge me concerning my stewardship of all things, including my body. To be the godly steward that I should be of all that He has entrusted to me, including my wondrous body, I must “love His appearing”!
- Maintaining my body wisely consists of Christ being magnified always in my body, “whether it be by life, or by death.” The love of Christ will constrain me always to magnify Christ in my body, if I allow it to.
- I can maintain my body wisely through Christ who is strengthening me. I must maintain my body wisely by faith in Christ. I can maintain my body wisely only as I give the word of Christ its proper place in me.
- Maintaining my body wisely is only possible as the fruit of the Spirit, as I am filled with the Spirit, as I am led by the Spirit, as I walk in the Spirit.
- Maintaining my body wisely is essential to my doing the work of Christ for my life, including faithful obedience in solemnly testifying to everyone that God has appointed Christ to be the Judge of the living and the dead.
- Christ will one day judge me concerning all that I have done in the body. All that has not been done with love and to please Him will be burned up at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Whatever I do in maintaining my body wisely must be done with love or it will profit me nothing (no eternal reward).
- Not that I would be in good health, but that I would do the work of Christ is to be my highest priority in life. For the work of Christ, I must be willing to sacrifice all, including my health and even my life, if God should will that I do so. I maintain my body wisely only as I have good health in the will of God.
- Maintaining my body wisely is to “not lose heart” when my physical well-being deteriorates in the will of God. Rather, I must ”keep [my] heart with all diligence,” looking eagerly for the redemption of my body at the return of Christ. Christ will one day change my body “that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body”!
- Maintaining my body wisely is necessary for me to glorify God in my days on the earth, having finished the work that God has for me to do, even as Christ did.
Let us all maintain our bodies wisely that we may glorify God by serving our generation by the will of God!