God wants Christians to "get in shape" physically so they can be used for His purposes, says Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren.
In an entry on Warren's Daily Hope devotional on Tuesday titled, "Why God Wants You to Get in Shape," the best-selling author explained that God wants believers to "get in shape," and quotes 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which reads: "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."
"How do you do that? How do you honor God with your body? Real simple: You take care of it," wrote Warren, adding that
"God set up the principles of good health. He doesn't just want you to have a pure heart. He wants your body to be in shape so he can use you more effectively."
Warren went on to note examples of physical problems that might get in the way of a believer being able to serve the Kingdom of God while on Earth.
"Some of you aren't getting enough sleep. But God can't use somebody who's tired all the time. You need to get proper rest. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap," continued Warren.
"Some of you need to work on the food factor. In 1 Corinthians 6:13, the Bible compares overeating to sexual immorality. You might never think of cheating on your husband or wife, but God says that these are all sins against the body. God is serious about wanting you to control what you eat!"
This is not the first time this year that Warren has focused a devotional on the issue of improving one's physical body in the name of spiritual improvement.
Back in April, Warren emphasized "the physical" as part of a changing process in which a believer becomes a "new creation," adding that for a change to occur in the "financial, vocational, educational, mental, or relational" areas of life, "you have to begin with the physical."
"Why? Because your body affects your behavior. Your muscles affect your moods and your motivation. Your physiology can actually affect your psychology," reasoned Warren.
"No matter what kind of change you want to make in your life, it will require energy. To have the energy to meet your goals, change has to start with your body."
Warren had some personal experience with this, having successfully lost 60 pounds in 2011 as part of a congregation-wide weight-loss challenge.
"God cares about everything in your life. He cares about the body, soul and spirit. Jesus went into every village — preaching, teaching and healing," said Warren regarding the challenge.
"Preaching involves our soul. Teaching involves our mind, and healing involves our body. If our body is the temple of God's spirit, then we had better give him a healthy temple."