Faith and Fitness: Don't Do Either Alone

Our physical fitness and spiritual life affect one another in surprising ways. Unfortunately, this relationship has often been ignored or misrepresented in the church. This week Eric Cartier, Senior Pastor of Rocky Mountain Calvary, joins Gary Wilkerson to look at the gracious and good connection God has made between our bodies and our souls.

Our physical fitness and spiritual life affect one another in surprising ways. Unfortunately, this relationship has often been ignored or misrepresented in the church. This week Eric Cartier, Senior Pastor of Rocky Mountain Calvary, joins Gary Wilkerson to look at the gracious and good connection God has made between our bodies and our souls.

Pastor Eric, with such a busy schedule, is it challenging to find time to maintain your physical health?

“I would say traditionally in the past it was, now it's not. I've seen the value of it and I've started to enjoy it. It really has to be a priority otherwise it doesn't happen. I think motivation wise, something I've wrestled through with is some false guilt probably, like, ‘Man, I should be giving this time to preparing a message,’ or I feel bad in taking the time to go to the gym or run when that's time I could spend with the kids. There's a little bit of foresight or looking into the future of, ‘Man, if I do this, this'll actually give me more time with the kids down the road.’ I battle that like not only not having the time, but I should be using this time differently,” answered Pastor Eric Cartier.

Have being intentional about fitness and nutrition helped you have more energy and better concentration?

Pastor Eric replied, “Yes, it really has. The biggest thing that I notice is when I go and workout, the mental fog really clears. A lot of times as a pastor I'm thinking about decisions that need to be made, problems that are going, praying for vision, and it can be overwhelming and before you know it you're just in a bit of a fog. After the workout, it just seems like that fog is cleared. If I'm intentional, then that provides a really fresh slate to meet with the Lord, just for Him to speak to me in the midst of the workout, or at the end of the workout.

“I definitely feel like I have more energy preaching as well, we have three-weekend services, and so by eating right, staying hydrated, having some exercise in my weekly routine, it's a lot easier to have energy throughout those three services, come home and not be as exhausted.”

How are faith and fitness connected?


“It seems like it's one of Paul's favorite illustrations to look at the athlete and then to draw parallels with our faith. In 1 Corinthians 9, he talks about athletes running to win a temporal prize, but he wants to win the eternal prize, but then he said he disciplines his body. What I found is that discipline seems to carry over into other areas, like when you discipline your body in nutrition and fitness, that also carries over into your faith,” responded Pastor Eric.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

He continued, “Then, I love too, when you are working out with other people or even going on a walk with someone else, it really gives you a chance to get into their lives in a unique way that without fitness you don't have that opportunity.”

Why do many Christians have a hard time disciplining their bodies in fitness and nutrition?

“Sometimes in the area of our Christian life, we don't necessarily see the need to discipline our body when it comes to nutrition or fitness like we do with sexual integrity or anger. Those are some of the things that seem to be more traditional for us to focus on. They're legitimate, but when it comes to, ‘How do I take care of this physical body that God has given me?’ I think it's hard even to see that the scriptures and God have guidance for how we eat and if we exercise, and it's highly personal. It's a hard topic to preach on, teach on, venture into because it's so personal. I think some of it is just being open to the reality that God would have instruction for us in nutrition and in fitness,” answered Pastor Eric.

He continued, “We do fail to see the stewardship of it because when you stop and think about it, the physical body that God has given us is amazing. It really is his temple, that when we take care of it, there's more opportunity to do the Great Commandment: to love God and to love our neighbor, to do the Great Commission. If we don't take care of our body, it really inhibits us from some of the things that God may be calling us to do.”

What practical advice would you offer someone who wants to get started on their journey with fitness and nutrition?


Pastor Eric responded, “What comes to mind is first focusing on the nutrition. I've really experienced you can't out-exercise bad nutrition. A really simple thing is to really eat things that aren't processed. So if it grows, or you can kill it, eat it, but if you've got to open up a bag… really starting to look at the nutrition piece of it is huge.

“Finding people to do it with. It's really hard to get consistent in nutrition and exercise if you're not doing it with someone and so looking in your family, your friends, a gym that offers where you can workout in community. I think trainers can be really helpful; finding the right trainer that is going to help you learn how to exercise and what to eat, those are things that are really, really helpful at least for me.”

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast

About Gary Wilkerson

Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

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About Eric Cartier

I realized at a young age that the Lord was calling me to reach those without Christ. Through teachings at Applegate Christian Fellowship and Calvary Bible College, God began to equip me for a life of ministry. In March 2000, I accepted a permanent position with Rocky Mountain Calvary that grew into overseeing and ministering to both teenagers and young adults. After five years of service, I was offered the position of senior pastor. I believe the Lord’s house should be one of prayer and that the Bible should be taught verse-by-verse. This allows God’s word to challenge and encourage us to walk in obedience. My desire is to lead by example, to be a disciple and make disciples, and to share God’s loving kindness. I have been married to my beautiful wife, Amber, for 10+ years and we have four children, Hannah, Adelyn, Ileanne, and Wyatt.

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