Evangelism and Physical Fitness: An Introduction

5 Jul

Say the word “evangelism” and what comes to most of our minds is clever technique and skilled responses to difficult questions – the actual acts of sharing and defending the Gospel.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to allow these particular aspects of evangelism to “drown out” others which are equally important if we are to fulfill the commission of Matthew 28:19-20.  If we are to obediently “go” into the world to share the good news of God’s love, we must first take the time to prepare ourselves in spirit, mind, and body.  Indeed, without careful physical preparation, sharing the Gospel may not even be possible.  Imagine what would have happened had the disciples been too out of shape to walk from town to town with Jesus… or, later, across the world to tell the story of His life, death, and resurrection! Doubtless, the Good News wouldn’t have been spread as rapidly or as effectively as it was.

To prepare ourselves only for the mental aspect of evangelism is foolish.  It’s a bit like limiting our preparation for warfare to weapons classes and only weapons classes.  While the rapid fire of machine guns draws our attention, it isn’t just the ability to pull the trigger that wins the war. There is plenty that is going on behind the scenes to guarantee that the battle can take place to begin with.  There are Generals who strategize, secretaries who write down orders, supply officers who provide equipment, cooks who ensure the troops are eating properly, and medical officers who see to the physical health of future combatants.  Each of these people play an important role in ensuring that the battle takes place in such a way as to give the fighting men the best possible shot at victory.

If we’re to fight our spiritual battle (a battle that Scripture tells us in Ephesians 6:12 is not against flesh and blood) in a way that honors God and gives us the best possible opportunity for glorifying Him, we need to pay attention to everything that happens behind the scenes as well.  And this “behind the scenes” activity extends well beyond spiritual disciplines and into the practical activities of our daily lives – study, work, and play.

That’s why, for the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the more practical aspects of evangelism… and what the Scriptures (and common sense) have to tell us about some of these behind the scenes issues.  We’ll examine the importance of our physical health and the vital role that sleep, exercise, and healthy eating play in keeping us at the top of our game; ready to step in and do God’s work any time and any place.  We’ll discuss difficulties that Christians encounter as they try to develop a healthy lifestyle as well as a few of the dangers of overemphasizing our physical needs.  In the end, we hope to provide you with a good primer for keeping yourself “fighting fit”.

Before we begin, however, we’d like to take an opportunity to hear any questions you already have about these subjects.  While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to answer every one, we’ll sure give it a try!

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