It may seem strange for a blog focusing on apologetics to review a book calling for Christian leaders to take better care of themselves but I promise it is applicable. For those of us who have been immersed in the world of defending the faith, we have had numerous encounters with apologists like Dr. Frank Turek, Det. J. Warner Wallace, Dr. James White, etc. Other than being on the front lines of the faith, what do these men have in common? They are all in good physical shape.
I discovered the hard way that one's service to the Kingdom is greatly impacted by our attention to our bodies. Six years ago, I found myself struggling with a life threatening ailment. I'm only five foot eight but after spending more than a year having to lay on my stomach, I ballooned up to two hundred and twenty five pounds. By the grace of God (and a lot of hard work), I lost seventy pounds and never felt better in my life. Moreover, my memory improved, I thought more clearly and, the consensus was, it was much more pleasant to be around me!
I eventually fell in love with going to the gym (I even look forward to leg day!). I liked it so much that I became a certified personal trainer and earned a certificate in fitness nutrition as well.
It wasn't just so-called "comfort food" and inactivity that gave me a spare tire, it was lack of sleep and stress. The latter raises cortisol levels, which increases belly fat. Thus, working out, eating right, getting seven to eight hours (or more) of sleep, etc. actually makes you a better servant of Jesus Christ.
All of this is presented in a clear and compelling manner by Dr. David Murray in his wonderful book "Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture" (Crossway 2017). Professor Murray, who teaches at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and pastors a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, faced similar health problems and emerged to the other side to tell the tale.
Nearly all Christian leaders know that we have to take good spiritual care of ourselves. Nearly all understand that we must continue to mentally challenge ourselves as well. Too few, however, take good care of the bodies God "knitted together" in our mother's womb. Yet, as Dr. Murray demonstrates, all of these integral to being a healthy servant of Christ's Kingdom. Do yourself a favor, pick up this book, read it with an open mind, then pray more, eat better, sleep more soundly and sweat a lot for Jesus!