The Expository Files


Maintaining a Healthy Body

Ephesians 4:15-16

Proper exercise and diet are important to maintaining a healthy body. The lack of proper exercise can cause muscles to lose their strength and lead to heart problems. What foods we eat and avoid will also have great effect on the body. So, since this is a very important topic, we are going to consider some important guidelines to follow in order to achieve and maintain better health. If these guidelines are followed, the body will be more sound.

So Many Organs
The body is a very complex organism and there seems to be so many things that can go wrong. A healthy heart does not mean one can see well. Good hearing does not insure that one can breathe easily. A body full of healthy members with the exception of one poorly functioning organ will likely suffer consequences, and one poorly functioning member could easily lead to distress and failure of other members. The body needs all of its parts to be functioning well or else it will suffer from disability of some sort.

Fitted and Held Together
“...but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15,16).

Well now, the proverbial cat is out of the bag. I have not really been discussing the health and care of the physical body at all, but using the Scriptural analogy of comparing the local church to the body.

In this passage, the body, or local church, is said to be “fitted” together. This means to be fitly framed or joined together into a working arrangement. As the bones are “fitted” into a skeletal system to create a working arrangement, the members of a local church are likewise to be joined together into a working arrangement. The New Testament gives us instructions on exactly what this arrangement is, and we should follow it. This will help the body to maintain good spiritual health and growth.

The passage also describes this body, the church, as being “held together.” This describes the members functioning as a unit.
The bond that holds the body together is supplied by “every joint” and comes from Christ. This occurs through the mutual sharing of faith and confidence with respect and love for one another. It is up to each individual part to make sure it (he or she) is properly nourished and exercised so that the individual member as well as the body may grow (2 Peter 1:5-11).

Growth of a local congregation cannot be any better than the sum total of the growth of its individual parts. Each useless, non active part saps the strength and health from the body. No brother or sister should look upon themselves as unnecessary or render themselves useless.

Consider One Another
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Another ingredient to maintaining the health of the (spiritual) body is for each member to regularly assemble with the saints. There is a need for mutual assistance and encouragement, at least that is what the Lord says though I have heard people who evidently think themselves wiser deny it.
This encouragement, which the Bible also refers to as “edification” is available at the assemblies of Christians, and it is God's will that disciples gather with the local church when it assembles. We need the stimulation to love and good deeds, and we also need to be stimulating others to the same thing (Colossians 3:12-17). When we forsake assembling ourselves together, we hurt ourselves as well as our brethren... and we disobey God.

You Are Christ's Body
“Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27; cf. vss 14-27).
There are three points made in the context of the above passage for preserving the health of the body.

a). The body is not one member, but many (v. 14).
b). There are many members, but one body (v. 20).
c). Christians make up the body, and are individually members of it (v. 22).

The passage also affirms that there is a divine purpose for each and every member. Though responsibilities, obligations, opportunities and abilities may vary, all are important for the smooth operation, growth and health of the body. By the way, ability plus opportunity equals responsibility in the Lord's kingdom; "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41).

The member that is not doing his part is adversely effecting the health of the body. One who would detract from another member's usefulness by considering him/her insignificant forgets that “God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” (1 Corinthians 12:18). One who considers himself as insignificant is also wrong for the same reason.

If There Is Any Fellowship of the Spirit
“If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:1-5).
The final guideline we will consider to maintaining a healthy (spiritual) body is that of having the same attitude toward our brethren as Christ did. Selfishness and conceit are out. They are as viral infections to the physical body. The antibodies to rid ourselves of the disease are prescribed by the Lord. He prescribes that we maintain the same love and the same mind toward one another, united in spirit, intent on one purpose; to be like Christ in our relationships with others, honoring Him as Lord.

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 13.2; February 2006