Ask Your Preacher
Hi, I like to workout and build muscle, but I also know that God should be first in our lives. I sometimes feel that I'm wrong in working out to gain muscle and size, but I don't let it get in the way of going to church and praying and everything else that God wants us to do. I always put Him first. Well, my question is: is it wrong to spend money and time on this if it's not right in God’s eyes, and also, the other part to this is that I eat many small meals a day to keep my metabolism up, and I eat healthy, but I'm not sure if that's right to do either. I'm not sure if that is gluttony or not. My main thing is I like to look good because I feel better, and I enjoy working out. I don't do it because it's cool, or I'll look hot. I guess you can say it's my hobby; I just enjoy it.
There is nothing wrong with working out and exercising as long as you keep it in proper perspective – which it sounds like you are doing. The apostle Paul even mentions that there is a benefit to physical exercise. In 1 Tim 4:8, Paul makes it clear that bodily exercise does have its benefits but that those benefits pale in comparison to spiritual things. There is nothing wrong with working out as a hobby and as part of a healthy lifestyle.
As far as your eating habits, they aren’t gluttonous. Gluttony is the act of excessive eating. You are doing the opposite! You are controlling your portions for the purpose of controlled living. It sounds like you are making good choices and keeping your priorities in order.
At our Wednesday evening services, one young lady, the daughter of a very prominent member, announced that she was going to attend a skiing party over the weekend and that they would be having services conducted by another woman in the cabin in the mountains. Her father approves of this type of situation and has himself gone off in like manner. They have a lot of influence with the other members, and so no one will stand up to them. Our preacher said that he will not interrupt his schedule to deal with this trifle because "it is not bad enough". But he agrees that it should not be done. What should I do?
At The Bottom Of The Slope
Dear At The Bottom Of The Slope,
You should do exactly what everyone else is doing – nothing. Some issues are clear-cut and deserve to be dealt with publicly and swiftly, but this is not one of them. If you asked a hundred faithful christians what the best way to worship is when you are away on vacation, you will get one hundred different opinions. Some will say you can’t go on vacation somewhere that doesn’t have a faithful congregation, others (like this family) cite Matt 18:20 as proof that it is appropriate to hold your own temporary services while away, and still others say that a vacation constitutes such a rare circumstance that it isn’t important to attend at all. Those are three opinions that cover the entire spectrum of thought on the subject of vacation church attendance. The truth is that the Bible is never specific on this issue. God tells us that whenever we run into an issue of opinion, we should decide for ourselves and leave others to do the same (Rom 14:10-13). Leave the final judgment to God and don’t allow an issue of opinion and personal judgment to cause strife among the Lord’s people (Rom 14:19).
When I am playing the piano in our worship, I hardly ever feel the presence of God. But when I have the Sunday off, and I am worshipping, I feel God's presence. Why is this?
Not Feeling It
Dear Not Feeling It,
There are two parts to your question that must be dealt with. Before we answer your concerns about how and when you feel close to God, we recommend you read the post “Music to HIS Ears”. After reading that, it may make the second part of this question obsolete because it explains how using instruments as a part of worship isn’t a biblical practice.
The second half of your question deals with emotion. The Bible never talks about us feeling the presence of God. In fact, mankind hasn’t been allowed in the presence of God since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden (Gen 3:8). The angels are in God’s presence (Lk 1:19), but mankind won’t be until the Day of Judgment. God is certainly close to us and affects our lives (Acts 17:27-28), but we don’t have direct contact with Him. So when we talk about “feeling the presence of God”, what we are really discussing is when we feel emotionally close to God. Emotions are fickle. There will be times when you will feel like God is far from you… but you are wrong because He is still watching over you (Ps 9:10), and there are folks that believe that they are close to God, but they are separated from Him because they are living wickedly (Matt 7:21-23). Simply put, we can’t trust our emotions to be accurate. The only way to confidently know that God is near you is to live faithfully by hearing and acting upon His instructions (Rom 1:16).
Please, I want to know; where did black people come from? Help me.
Dear Ethnically Aware,
We all came from Adam and Eve (Gen 3:20). Eventually, mankind was scattered across the whole earth after the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:9). Different races were created as these scattered groups became more isolated. This is very similar to how you see parents and children looking alike – they share noticeable physical traits because they are closely related. The groups that were scattered from the Tower of Babel were isolated by their language differences, and therefore only married amongst their specific language group. This isolated intermarrying created distinct physical characteristics that differentiated one group from another (i.e. skin color, eye shape, face shape, hair color). The different races of the world are nothing more than large family groups created after the Tower of Babel.
If a member of a church of Christ goes to a military branch, ends up fighting in a war, and kills men, will he still be a member of the church? And will he still be okay spiritually?
Dear Sgt. Unknown,
There is nothing wrong with being a soldier; some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14).
Lord willing, most christian soldiers will never have to kill anyone, but if they did, it won’t be murder (read “Kill Or Be Killed” for more on that topic). Being a soldier is an honorable profession.