This area of growth has reference to the physical realm of human existence. This is another realm of government of which we need to aim for a healthy degree of balance. Knowing the Scripture states that “our outer man is decaying,” and “bodily discipline is only of little profit,” we must not assume the unhealthy position that there is no need to give proper attention and care to our physical well being. The human body is part of God’s physical design for life on earth and as such, though balance is important, is to be treated with due respect. We could swing from the extreme of being too consumed with and placing too much importance upon physical conditioning and appearance to neglect of our physical state. Such extremes are to be avoided.
If we consider the context in which Lk.2:52 is written, we recall that Jesus was twelve years old. Subject to God’s design for the human body, the incarnate Christ would have experienced physical growth from this point forward. There is an element of growth, which simply takes place according to a natural process and yet there are choices we make that can honor or violate God’s design for the human body. Two considerations regarding the growth of Jesus are His employment prior to the onset of His ministry and His mode of travel, before and during His earthly ministry. Carpentry of his day was physically demanding, surely having an impact upon His physical condition. His mode of travel mainly consisted of walking. We might add to this that His diet would have been free of preservatives and added chemicals, food dyes and things made in a factory that might taste good, but are not fit for human consumption.
The essential point of this section is that it is fitting that Human beings strive to eat and exercise properly as an expression of love and honor for God. This is not to be viewed as a legalistic practice nor dismissed because it is not “spiritual.” Imbalance can come in many shades. Unfortunately, one might underestimate the importance of proper physical care by creating an inappropriate dichotomy between the physical and spiritual realms. Scripture identifies over eating, gluttony, as sin and, in the other extreme, we see anorexia and bulimia taking its toll on untold numbers of people. These are spiritual issues related to physical discipline. We see costly and deadly disease on the increase worldwide. Along with this we see a union between the medical community, the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies (now further corrupted with government control by way of Obama-Care) aiming to manage disease (in contrast to curing it) for lucrative financial reasons. I am convinced that discipleship should include teaching about this aspect of God’s design for life on earth. As the essential perspective developed in this chapter is greatly influenced by teaching received from Winkie Pratney, I refer the reader to the first chapter of the manual he and his son William developed entitled The Daniel Files (here). Another resource, among many, though controversial to some, is the findings of Weston Price during his research in the 1930’s (here).
Quoting from The Daniel Files we read, “Your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit is a home for the living Presence of God. His gift to each of us is our physical talent, our genetic potential. We all have a measure of genetic talent that we cannot change, some greater than others. Skills are the mechanics of how you use your body, say to run, jump, throw, kick or hit a ball. Although talent is a gift, you learn skills. PHYSICAL CONDITIONING and TRAINING improve those skills. Although your body is only a house for the real you, and physical exercise has limits, physical training will build your energy, increase your alertness, sense of dignity and self-worth. God wants you fit and well. It not only benefits your body, but your mind. The first component in bringing your body up to its Divine potential is to ‘discipline it for godliness‘ (I Cor. 9:24-27).”