I have shared details about my life from my faith and relationship with God, to personal stories, my journey from depression, and my journey to health and fitness after 2 major weight loss cycles and I have connected with people — online and offline — on some of these issues. However, the two main topics that have brought the most questions and comments from people and have served as the basis of some of the relationships I now have are overcoming depression and losing weight. For this reason, I am going to be doing two series on both topics about what scriptures say about mental health, and physical health and fitness. This is the first post in the Health And Fitness Routines Found In Scriptures series.
You may have heard it said that once you see a thing say a car you want to buy, you keep seeing it everywhere and can’t unsee it. You start to see the car model everywhere you go even along routes where you never noticed the car. This is so true for me and has happened to me twice. I wanted a Honda civic 2003 for my first car. I preferred the Toyota brand but I knew my parents weren’t going to give me enough money to buy a Toyota and since I didn’t have money to add to the price of the car, I settled for its sister model which was cheaper, the Honda. A new car was definitely out of the question and an old car, at least 7 years old, was the only car I could afford to buy. The first Honda model that fit this budget was the honda accord 2000–2002 model popular called baby boy. I wasn’t a fan of this car though because it was like pure water — very common and driven by everyone. I didn’t want to buy a car I would have difficulty finding in a parking lot because there were too many of it. Thus I decided to buy the next model which was the honda civic 2003 model. And it felt like from the day I decided on this model, I would see it all the time on the road in places I had never seen it before. Unfortunately, I ended up buying the baby boy I disdained because the civics I saw were out of my budget.
For my first car in the USA, I decided against a brand new car though I could afford one because I belong to the school of thought that says that a car is a liability not an asset and my shikini money was going to be spent accumulating worthwhile assets and splurging a little on clothes, shoes, and fun experiences not a brand new car. I wanted a black 2008–2010 honda civic again because the price of a Toyota, my preferred choice, was over my budget. And I kid you not, it seemed as if every car on the road was a 2008–2010 honda civic. Talk about the real pure water. I did end up buying a 2009 Honda civic in the black color I have always wanted. My preferred car color has always been black and except for the baby boy my two other cars have been black.
From the minute I decided on the car models I wanted at these two instances, I began seeing them everywhere and couldn’t unsee them. This phenomenon is called the power of recognition. Once you decide to own something or you own it, you begin to notice it everywhere including places where you had never noticed it before. Your power of recognition for that thing becomes activated.
At the just concluded WAFBEC, Pastor Yemi David taught a little about the Isaac and Rebekah story. He said a lot of things in that sermon that really resonated with me because they confirmed some things God had spoken to me about but the point he touched on that’s relevant to the story was that Rebekah drew water from the well and gave all Abraham’s servant’s camels water to drink. He said that “If you googled how much water Rebekah drew for the camels, commentaries say it was 2000 liters of water. For you to draw 2000 liters of water from the well means you are physically fit and some of you here may be unmarried because you’re not physically fit. That deeply resonated with me, not because of the marriage part but because I understand now that health/fitness just like spiritual maturity and success is God’s desire for us.
A few years ago, a woman in my fellowship said she couldn’t listen to a preacher for years until he slimmed down because he was very obese and she couldn’t bring herself to listen to someone who wasn’t disciplined about his health and fitness teach spiritual truths. I thought that was a bit extreme particularly because one of my favorite music ministers at the time was also quite obese. The truth is that some people have underlying physical and mental health conditions that prevent them from making the right diet and exercise choices that would help them stay healthy and fit. However, For those who do not fit into this category, I do believe that health/fitness is essential. We are stewards of the resources God has given to us including our faith in Christ, the grace of God, spiritual and regular gifts, relationships, resources, talents and abilities, opportunities and education, and even our bodies. Yes our bodies are a very important resource that God has given to us and we must steward it carefully because it doesn’t belong to us — it’s been bought by christ for a huge price and the holy spirit lives in it. Our earthly bodies are so important that when God wanted to come into the world, he needed a human body to come as Jesus Christ. God — the eternal, immortal, invincible God had to constrain himself into a human body just to reside on earth and dwell among men.
Anyway, since I listened to Yemi Davids’ sermon, I have been seeing many references to physical activities in the bible like walk and run and I can no longer unsee them. I have also become aware that biblical characters had to have been physically fit to have done some of the things they did. For instance, Abraham had to have been fit and strong to train and lead an army that was strong enough to defeat the 4 kings that captured Lot. Isaac had to have been physically fit to have dug several wells that were taken over by the philistines until he dug the last one which was left for him. My power of recognition for health/fitness has been activated in the bible. I have also become mindful that some of my teachers in this season also prioritize their health/fitness. Dr. Mensa Otabil, my primary teacher in this season mentioned that he runs frequently and when google revealed his age to me, I believed him. I saw a clip of Pastor Ernest Paul playing basketball and dunking and I couldn’t believe he is 50. These anointed men of God who also pay attention to their bodies greatly inspire me and solidifies my belief that health/fitness is a very important aspect of our walk with God. Consequently, in every article in this series, I would use activities of one or more bible characters to demonstrate the importance of that activity in cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
Starting from Gen 3:8 which says; Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day (emphasis is mine). Walking is a major form of exercise. My friend who gave me the first tips that helped me lose weight’s only form of exercise is walking. I walked for months before I ever ran or did any other form of exercise and not only did I slim down, I was also more energized and had a more active heart rate. There are so many articles that highlight the benefits of walking for only 30-minutes daily as a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. And walking requires minimal effort such that EVERYONE with functional legs can walk. The irony is that most people walked a lot as kids and teenagers. When I was younger, teenagers in relationships in my estate used to take walks or strolls as a date. Those of us who were single to stupor just kuku used to observe them ni and didn’t take walks with anyone. But often when we were bored, my siblings or friends and I would stroll to waterside and back home. We walked A LOT in my secondary school because our dorms were quite far from class. And even with the poor food we ate in secondary school, I was more energized then than I was at the university and in my 20s. The best part is that everyone from kids to grandparents can walk. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t do any exercise, you can take a 30-mins walk at the very minimum.
Genesis 5:24 — Enoch walked faithfully with God; (emphasis mine). A physical activity, walking, is used to describe Enoch’s relationship with God. Have you ever wondered why physical activities are used to describe spiritual activities? I believe it’s because occurrences in the natural have corresponding activities in the spiritual realm. I am not a fan of walking in itself but when combined with listening to a sermon or worship music, it opaparadas to a completely different activity and I can walk for hours without getting tired. The times I walk are also one of the few times I have uninterrupted conversations with the holy spirit as I am always offline during my walks to eliminate distractions. The ideas and content for some of my best articles were given to me during walks and that’s one of the reasons I look forward to walking.
You’re not limited to listening to a sermon or worship during walks though especially if you’re not a believer. You can listen to an audiobook, a podcast, or watch a movie on Netflix or Youtube even (sha be careful and don’t let car jam you). I have watched (more like listened to) friends, girlfriends, and one TMC episode during my walk. During your walk, You can also converse with God or pray, converse with a friend or lover over the phone, walk with them physically rather than just talking to them while lying on the bed and being sedentary. The point is that you should find something you enjoy doing that would give you an incentive to walk, do it while you walk, and walk frequently. I assure you that within a few weeks (and eating right oh not eating to stupor or eating like a hoodlum) you would begin to feel differently and might even see changes in your body. If the thought of exercising puts you off or overwhelms you, try walking for at least 30 mins 3–6 times a week and start to note the changes in your body as a result of walking.
If your excuse is that you don’t have 30 mins daily to spend walking, you can do 15 mins. However, if you have time to check social media and gist, I believe you can squeeze 30 mins out of 24 hours to take a walk especially if you can bundle it with a mental or spiritual activity.
It’s important to always remember that man is a spirit who has a soul and lives in a body. All three elements must be functioning properly for man to be optimally productive.
As an example, all three parts of Jesus were well developed.
Spiritual development — he would spend the night praying to the father.
Mental development — He studied the scriptures, taught in the temple daily, and engaged the religious rulers in apologetics. Jesus is the first apologist ever I feel.
Physical Development — Jesus walked and hiked a lot. Yes, Hike because the bible says he went to the mountains. The mountains are steep and climbing a mountain is called hiking.
As your Lord and Savior, Jesus was physically active, you too must be physically active.
If you’re currently in a cold climate where the weather precludes you from walking, you can either walk twice as much during summer and fall when the weather is a lot milder to compensate for winter when you can’t take walks (Just kidding) or you can buy workout gears that are suitable for walking in winter and cold climates. I never wore such an outfit when I lived abroad because spending on workout clothes was a waste of money in my opinion but Beyonce and other people I know had outfits that enabled them to walk/run during winter.
I’ll close every post in this series with these verses as it helps you to think differently about your body and how you ought to treat it (at least it does for me).
1st corinthians 6:19–20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
If you’ll start walking or walk more consistently as a result of this post, let me know in the comments below. Also if you found this article useful, Kindly share it with your loved ones and across your social media platforms.