Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul

Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul

by Gary L. Thomas


$15.29 $16.99 Save 10% Current price is $15.29, Original price is $16.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, June 20


Few pastors or Christian writers have dared to approach the subject of how proper eating and an active lifestyle can affect how we serve God. Author Gary Thomas does just that. And he reaches all the way back to the apostle Paul, who wrote that we need to prime our bodies to become, "an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." To illustrate the body/soul correlation, Thomas presents engaging and diverse stories that include a young mom who got fit through volleyball and reaped spiritual rewards in her marriage, a 300-pound pastor who realized his obesity was eroding his ministry impact, and a woman who gained the spiritual strength to survive a contentious divorce by training for a marathon. In every instance, Thomas makes a direct connection between the physical challenge and its spiritual consequence. This book is a must read for anyone seeking new and compelling motivation for strengthening their bodies and fortifying their souls.

Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOJVmFwlYbA for more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310290810
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 11/22/2011
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 708,132
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston, Texas. He is the author of 19 books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Cherish, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-winning Authentic Faith. He has a master’s degree from Regent College, where he studied under Dr. J.I. Packer, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in divinity from Western Seminary. Gary has spoken in 49 states and 10 different countries. He has appeared numerous times on various national radio and television programs, including CBN, Focus on the Family and Family Life Today.

Table of Contents

1 Souls of Silver 11

2 Heads without Bodies 27

3 "Your Strength Will Equal Your Days" 39

4 Healthy Humiliation 51

5 It's Not a Fair Fight 65

6 Is Being Overweight a Sin? 75

7 Socially Contagious 91

8 The Silent Murderer 101

9 Let's Get Physical 113

10 Muscular Christianity 123

11 The Three-Hundred-Pound Pastor: Changing the Church Culture 135

12 Stronger Shoulders 147

13 Purely Practical 159

14 Meet My Friend Morty: Our Ongoing Battle against Sin 171

15 The Last Christian 191

Epilogue 203

Acknowledgments 209

Notes 211

Questions for Discussion and Reflection 221

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
MSaff More than 1 year ago
"Every Body Matters", by Gary Thomas is what I would consider a Study Guide as well as a Physical Fitness Guide to maintaining the proper physical body in order for you individual body to maintain the spiritual goal which we all need for our souls. By doing so, we will only be better to live our lives in the manner God has intended us to live. I must say that before starting "Every Body Matters", I didn't give much thought to how my physical abilities impacted my spiritual fitness. As the cover states, 'Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen You Soul'. God created out bodies as temples, in His own image. What right do we have to destroy that temple by our negligence of our body. Thomas explains in clear and concise words how when our bodies are neglected through lack of exercise, poor diet and the such, that our physical body does not have the strength to maintain and strengthen our Soul. I must say that I hadn't thought about it like that previously. As far as the strength of our soul, if you think about it, without a clear and strong soul, we are unable to strive to maintain our physical bodies, which in turn will affect our lives all the way around. Thomas also reminds us that our bodies are not our own. They belong to God and it is our responsibility to maintain them in order to do His work. Thank you Gary Thomas for writing such a thought provoking and knowledgeable guide. You have certainly opened my eyes and have also provided a catalyst for me to strengthen my body, in order to assist me in growing as a Christian. I'd also like to thank Zondervanblog for the opportunity to read and review this vital piece of advice.
LeeBird More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas had the guts to write the truth about the connection between physical fitness and spiritual fitness. He had the guts to challenge the Body of Christ to tighten the belt a few notches. He had the guts to suggest that churches schedule a few less potlucks and replace them with fitness gatherings. Now, I must say that Gary Thomas shares his message with a hefty dose of grace and gentleness. As an overweight, out-of-shape Christian, he stepped on my toes, but he didn’t break them. The overall message of Every Body Matters can be summed up by a quote Thomas shares by renowned health and fitness expert, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, “A healthy, fit body is the most appropriate home for a vibrant spirit.” For 20 years, I’ve been lamenting, “I want to lose this weight so my body can keep up with my spirit.” Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul is a guidebook to empower me to do just that. Using many examples from Scripture as well as wise teaching from years past, Gary Thomas lays out a feast of truth about the benefits of a strong, fit body. •Paul longed for Christ to be exalted in his body. (Philippians 1:20) •When committed to God, caring for one’s body can be an act of worship…”a new way of surrendering to God’s presence.” (Thomas) •An active, healthy lifestyle is a way to stay in the race and to finish the race strong. •Developing discipline in the areas of food and exercise strengthens Believers to endure spiritual hardships with perseverance. •Saying goodbye to physical laziness is a huge step toward warding off spiritual laziness. Gary Thomas challenges Christians to love each other enough to want the absolute best for each other! I love Thomas’s heart in this statement: “How loving is it to allow someone to barely scrape by when God is offering truly abundant life?” Becoming spiritually and physically fit are two ways that we can grow in our inner and outer strength, as well as in our ability and willingness to endure hardship. The end result is that we, like Jeremiah and Paul, may become truly useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (Thomas) ***Zondervan provided me with a review copy of Every Body Matters free of charge. I was not required to post a positive review, but after reading the book, there was no other option for me. This book is a must-read! I can’t wait to share my co
mudrash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul was a very interesting read. As a physical education and health teacher and also a Christian this topic especially caught my attention.The first part of the book does a good job of describing the authors personal struggles with weight gain and spiritual walk as well as other friends and faced with dealing with their weight. As some points the author nears the point of saying that it is a sin to be overweight, but backs away several chapters later and finally admits that there isn't enough evidence in the Bible to say so.As the book progressed there was plenty of information about writings from the Church "fathers" and other famous theologians concerning this topic. I found this part of the book a bit dry and not really necessary.The middle to end part of the book has the best content in my opinion. Thomas focuses in on the real crux of the matter, which is our heart. When it comes down to it, if we are focusing all our attention on things other than the Lord, it can become a sin. Another part that made me think was that even those that are not obese can still eat unhealthy food and not take care of themselves, even though their body might not show it on the outside.In all, this book was a fine read on the topic, but nothing earth-shattering or new.I received a complimentary book from LibraryThing in exchange for an unbiased review.
sdmurphy53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book as I am very interested in improving the 'temple' that God has given me. I appreciate that this book help connect the physical and the spiritual body. And that it was not another diet book. This book will help me improve myself both spiritually and physically and not focus just on weight loss. I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity.
booksandbutter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I found it very helpful as a woman who has had trouble controlling her weight and finding a balance including this struggle into my faith. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with weigh/body issues and who wants a Christian perspective.
Agape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas shares his personal struggles with diet and exercise, but puts it is the context of a spiritual struggle. We don't discipline our bodies so that we can be beautiful, or fit or live longer, but to bring glory to God. We do that by being available to be instruments for God to use, to be made holy, to be useful to our Master and to be prepared to do any good work. This book takes a touchy subject and insists that the church should address these issues more frankly. We should not be so "loving" that we avoid the truth of what they are doing to themselves. This is a very good book.
jasminemarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been looking for a book on physical fitness with a spiritual focus. I found this book very interesting especially because as a new mom, I've been really struggling with loving my post-pregnancy body. It is a great reminder to not grade myself on the world's standards, which I could NEVER live up to, but to honor and cherish the bodies that God has given us. A great read!
briannad84 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas writes about how important it is to keep your body in shape and to watch what you eat, in order to better serve God. I thought this was an excellent book!!! My church has a great aerobics group, so exercising isn't much of an issue for me personally, but overeating and snacking were a big temptation. This book has helped me to honor God more with my calorie intake and with what I do around the house, instead of watching TV, I'll clean or something. I showed it to my instructor and she was even interested in reading it! I really liked Thomas' take on 'strengthening your body to strengthen your soul.' I think many Christians can benefit from this book, whether they're fit already or want to start getting into shape.
justmommy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have really enjoyed reading this book. It helps to show the connection between our spiritual and physical health. I love the use of Scripture and real life stories to help drive home the points. It is helping me to reshape how I think about my own body and the way that I treat it.
ranson_larry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Every Body Matters. Its appeal is a non-condemning way of saying "GET IN SHAPE." While understanding the discipline required in both physical and spiritual matters, it encourages you to be the best that you can be in every area of your life. Much better than another book on diet and exercise that make you feel bad about your self.
Chrizzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every Body Matters is an inspirational read that engulfs an individual in the necessity of taking control of your health. Creating an attitude of dedication to the pursuant of self discipline but doing so with a pure heart and a longing to have a closer relationship to your Saviour.
traubrieme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think we have to include God in our plan to get fit and this book explains that well. Breaking our habits in uncomfortable for many but we can learn to be disciplined with God helping us through daily prayer. I recommend this book for anyone needing to tighten up their body as well as their soul.
RonStarcher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas has entered a risky arena in his Every Body Matters. Many evangelicals voice considerable objection over the current cultural obsession with body image. Conversely, some Christians have fallen prey to the mindset that ¿image is everything.¿ In this book, Thomas adds his input in a way that brings us back to the center.The premise is that God has given each of us only one body through which we live to the glory of God. Stewardship of this resource is as important as any other aspect of life. Thomas states his position clearly: ¿Whether you¿re in your twenties, thirties, or forties ¿ or facing your fifties, sixties, seventies, or beyond ¿ one thing is certain: you¿re doing it in a body, a body that not only contains a soul but affects your soul as well. We are not angels, pursuing God without physical covering, and if we try to pretend that we are ¿ living as though the state of our bodies has no effect on the condition of our souls ¿ all the proper doctrine in the world can¿t save us from eating away our sensitivity to God¿s presence or throwing away years of potential ministry if we wreck our heart¿s physical home.¿The intent of this book is not to produce marathon runners (although Gary Thomas runs in marathons), bodybuilders, or swimsuit models. It is to encourage the Christian to seriously consider the totality of the individual created in God¿s image.
johnfgaines on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, "Every Body Matters" is not written with the aim of being an enjoyable read. Author Gary Thomas gives us motivational writing at its best. This somewhat-overweight minister had decided he needed to get serious about losing weight before reading through the first three chapters. By the time he got to Chapter 11 -- The Three Hundred Pound Pastor -- the resolve was absolute. Thomas grounds his appeal for a change in the reader's thinking in the simple but undeniable truth that Christians should give their all to the Lord. In order for us to do our best in serving Christ, we must be as healthy as possible. It is a matter of stewardship. Our bodies are given to us by God and we are accountable for using them as effectively as possible for God's glory. While there are a few minor quibbles with Thomas' interpretation of some Bible passages ... he makes his case too strongly in some instances by neglecting to consider Bible statements in context, this is a highly-motivating book that really will change lives for the better. I do not give out five-star ratings easily, but this book is very deserving of the highest accolades.
mms04b on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gary Thomas is a thoughtful writer who has tried to engage a topic that is taboo in current American culture. He does this successfully, managing to engage his readers in every chapter. Although Thomas has interesting reflections on physical fitness and spirituality he has a tendency to proof text and take verses of the bible out of context from their original meaning. The kind of lifestyle that Thomas is advocating was far from the minds of those who wrote scripture and yet by looking at verses such as 1 Corinthians 9:25 he seems to see a command for Christians to exercise. A cursory look at the surrounding passage, and the book as a whole, will show that Paul is talking about his relationship to the gospel and what he has sacrificed to bring the gospel to others. Certainly Paul is advocating self-control, perseverance, and stamina but to use this verse as a proof text for a physically fit lifestyle is a gross misunderstanding of what Paul is trying to communicate.Thomas also approaches the book focused almost entirely on the individual. He spends relatively little time on diet in the book other than to repeatedly say that 'junk food is bad.' What we eat affects more than just our bodies. What we consume affects both the environment and those who worked to produce it. If we choose to buy food from a company that does not pay their workers a fair wage or wrecks the environment with their production process we partake in injustice. Many people are awakening to the idea of 'fair trade' products and the social impact that supporting such companies can have yet Thomas ignores this important issue entirely. What we consume is more than just the calories we intake. A person who is fit and trim could be one of worst consumers on the planet based on the industries and practices they support with their dollars. Although we are individuals we exist in a community. A love of neighbor attitude is a much more compelling theological argument for limiting our consumption than taking verses that seem to reflect physical fitness out of context.Yet despite these complaints Thomas has addressed a serious issue in the American church today. What we do with our bodies is important to God. The attitude that it is just the soul that really matters is prevalent with many Christians. We can both dishonor God and honor him by what we say, do, and eat. Having the discipline to engage in an exercise does carry over to other areas of our lives. Becoming more health conscious can make us aware of the reality of how much we truly do consume. Thomas has written an engaging work that brings some light on this issue. 3/5
bartsy123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book summary: Author Gary Thomas makes a case for a body/mind/spirit connection when it comes to Christian Living and weight management.Great quotes: "Our holiness does not rest on the shape of our bodies, but on the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus' broken and bruised body. Losing twenty pounds won't make God love you any more, and gaining twenty pounds won't make him love you any less." (Page 65)"I go to war against gluttony, not to build a body that others admire, but to maintain a soul "prepared to do any good work" that God can use to bless others." (Page 88)My thoughts: Focusing on an obesity epidemic that is running rampant in America, Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas raises some very important points that many churches seem to be missing. For example, with so many overweight members of the congregation, why are most churches still focusing on "all you can eat" potluck gatherings? Additionally, as a Christian who desires to live a life for God, why do we overeat into health related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease which can rob us of the health needed to do God's work? Every Body Matters is not a diet book or a guide on how to lose weight. Rather this book is a wonderful look at the causes behind overeating, how to get started on a path to a healthy body and motivation for maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. This book does not focus on getting skinny in order to fit into an ideal weight that the world would love to see, but instead advocates for a healthy lifestyle in order to maintain the life you were meant to live.In other words, God might want you to travel overseas in your older years as a missionary to other countries. If you have spent a lifetime overeating and can't fit into a plane seat, then how is God's plan going to be accomplished?Using scripture, personal anecdotes and classic books of Christian history, Every Body Matters is honest about gluttony and other similar vices, while at the same time it is very sensitive to those who might have overeating issues due to abuse, etc. Gary Thomas isn't alone in his quest to link food and faith. A recent article on MSNBC explained one pastor's plan to bring fitness to his flock with his own program and book, Bod4God.Gary Thomas' famous book, Sacred Marriage, boldly asked "What if God designed your marriage not to make you happy, but to make you holy?" It's a radical question that can completely change your mindset, if truthfully answered. In this book, Every Body Matters, Gary Thomas asks even more bold questions of readers regarding health, fitness and a Christian walk worth living.My Source: I received this book complimentary from LibraryThing via their Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an honest review but the opinion is all mine.
jenvorm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was very inspirational to Christians on why fitness and health are important. I enjoyed the author's perspective, illustrations and insightful thoughts. However, while the author was providing motivation, I felt he should have gone one step further and at least provided the reader with a bibliography of suggested books to follow up with that dealt with balanced nutrition or meal planning. I felt like I was left hanging at the end with a feeling of, "Now I know why, but how?" Instead I am faced with an overwhelming task of choosing from so many books and programs out there when it would have been nice to have a list of Christian guides already there to save myself the next step.
milibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book begins with an interesting premise--our bodies should proclaim Christ's lordship. Honoring God with our bodies, according to the author, means healthy eating and the pursuit of physical fitness. While the discipline required to live a healthy lifestyle may carry over into the spiritual realm and should be addressed by the church, this book belabors the point at times and becomes somewhat repetitive. This is less of a book on practical diet and exercise advice than a call to Christians to remember that Christ redeemed their bodies as well as their souls, and, therefore, urges Christians to take care of their bodies particularly in regard to their eating and exercise habits. An interesting read for evangelical Christians.
Adayriddle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read many books that Gary Thomas has read and for the most part can say that I enjoy them. The fact that he chose to write something on this subject matter does not surprise since it seems to be a popular subject to write on. I have to say honestly that the title is cute - it is one thing that caught my attention. As a youth teacher I am constantly telling the youth that their bodies matter to God because they are the temple of God. This fact alone should stir each of us to take better care of what God created as a special place for the indwelling of his spirit.In this book Thomas explores the negative and positive aspects of caring for ones body. He ties the healthy body to a healthy soul. His main goal is to show that our desires should not be for the outward appearance but should be for the goal of growing closer to God.I would recommend this book for someone who is looking to make changes in their lifestyle while staying focused on God's design.Thank you Zondervan and LibraryThing for this review copy.
Jeani1512 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book "Every Body Matters" to be very well written and interesting. It came at a good time for me, because I am in the processing of losing weight. 50 lbs gone. It is helpful to anyone that is in this position. It has some very good points and comes from a Biblical prospective!
adameliot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hesitant as I was to read a book about physical fitness from a spiritual perspective, I was pleasantly surprised with author Gary Thomas' positive advice, encouragement, and reasoning for a healthy lifestyle. Gary writes in attempt to change the reader's mind about the way one views his/her own body. Using biblical proofs and life experience, Gary offers a fresh perspective and gives the reader a renewed motivation to pursue a stronger, well-nourished body that is primed to become an instrument of God, prepared to do any good work.
NQTBradyBunch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My husband read this book, and said it was very similar to Body By God: The Owners Manual for Maximized Living by Ben Lerner. Basically, we live in a broken world, but our food and healthcare systems are more broken than we know. If we get back to what God intended for us, then we can return to the level of health that He intended for us as well.
jolerie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every Body Matters is not your typical how to guide on getting into shape or achieving that ideal physique. Instead, Gary Thomas delves into the hidden motivations behind why we should be paying attention to the foods we eat and how that affects our overall health. Using scriptural authority and numerous quotes from various sources, Every Body Matters addresses the issue of our modern affair with food and how it has created a generation of soft bodies and even softer souls, ill equipped to do kingdom work.When browsing any self-help section of a book store, you will inevitably be bombarded with countless books on to to get in shape, fad diets, and exercise regiments. What sets this book apart from so many of others of its genre, is the fact that Thomas addresses the reason why we should be in shape, the source of our motivation, and the mental see saw that comes with our battles with the bulge rather than a quick fix and how to guide. In some ways, this was more motivating and helpful than a step by step guide because half the battle with any kind of weight loss regime is fought in our minds. The book was clearly laid out and organized, not too heavily laden with scriptural references and completely relatable. A definite recommendation for anyone who has the desire to not just lose weight, but to be healthy and strong, both in body and spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago