Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Keeping in shape

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).

Have you ever seen a picture of what the imaginary inhabitants of Mars are supposed to look like? They are usually pictured as being all head and eyes and ears, with miniature bodies and spindly arms and legs. And that would probably be a good picture of someone who has been trained only in mind, ignoring the physical development of the body. Pictures have also been produced of what Mars, the Roman god of war, might look like if he truly existed. He is not particularly handsome, with his bullet-shaped head, his neck and shoulders like an ox, and a body bound in muscles. And that is probably a good picture of someone whose efforts at development have been concentrated on the body at the expense of the mind.

Most people would agree that to be healthy, both mind and body must be developed; to leave either one stunted is unnatural. But it is just as unnatural to think that someone can be a whole person without spiritual development, a knowledge of the things of God. Someone once said, "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." The man who spoke these words was not a preacher; he was a former president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt. An English philosopher, who was also practical enough to be an engineer and an architect, once said, "When a man’s knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has, the greater will be his confusion."

Information without a moral context is useless. For example, science can explain how babies are formed through the mixing of male and female DNA. But killing someone might not be a big deal to a person who believes that all humans are accidents of nature, whereas killing is a big deal to someone who believes that God creates every human life. We are given a great deal of information throughout our lives, and we are given bodies that can act on that information; but it takes spiritual development to be able to decide the best way to use our minds and bodies. Please join me in praying,

Lord Jesus, we live in a world that cares more about the perfection of our bodies and the content of our minds than it cares about the rightness of our actions. Forgive us for neglecting our spiritual development. Give us the desire to study Your Bible, where we might find the wisdom to make decisions that are pleasing to You and that serve others in love. Amen.

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