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Chaplain's Corner

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All Fit to Go All-In

16 Mar 2023 | Lt. Cmdr. Pon Chanthaphon Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

After having served with Marines for over seven years, I have observed that truly “fit” warriors have far more than just high or perfect Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and Combat Fitness Test (CFT) scores. They must be totally fit in all aspects of their bodies as well. Real warriors’ fitness is about being totally fit physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. In other words, all fit in all aspects of the body. When they are fit holistically, they are also totally fit at work and at home, in the community, and at play. They perform and socialize well “in any clime and place.”

Being totally fit has many great benefits for the warriors. Ensuring holistic wellbeing boosts morale, cohesiveness, and resiliency which enables them to perform their day-to-day duties to include executing the toughest challenges and recuperating in shorter time.

There are many other sources of spiritual strength that a warrior has, of course, but research shows that religion contributes to human flourishing in many positive ways. Tyler J. VanderWeele, citing numerous researchers in his article, “Religious Communities and Human Flourishing,” provides us some eye-opening insights on benefits of attending religious services that, it is:

“...associated with 25% to 35% reduced mortality over 10 to 15 years.”

“…associated with numerous health behaviors over time including less frequent smoking initiation, greater smoking cessation, less alcohol abuse, and less illegal drug use.”

“…associated with better mental health, including approximately 20% to 30% lower rates in the incidence of depression.”

“…associated with better social relationships.  Numerous studies have examined associations between attendance and divorce… the longitudinal designs suggest that those attending religious services at baseline are 30% to 50% less likely to divorce in follow-up.”

“…associated with an increased likelihood of subsequently making new friends, of marrying, of having non-religious community membership, and of higher social support.”

What is stopping us not to put religious activities as our daily or weekly priorities, then? Just like we find time or make time for physical fitness activities at different times of the day, devotional and prayer time can be done at various times of the day, too, such as in the morning, at lunchtime, after work, or even with the family at home or on the weekend.

As one who regularly promotes warriors’ total fitness, most importantly spiritual fitness, I would like to offer these encouraging verses to boost your spiritual fitness to the next level:

- Deuteronomy 6:5, “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

- Matthew 22:37, “Jesus declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

All fit to serve. Your heart, mind, and soul are all fit. Whether you are at work, in the community, with your family, or at play, you stay holistically fit. When you, a warrior, is totally fit and love God holistically, you are ready and certainly are willing to go all-in for the sake of your family and country.

The Chaplain’s Corner covers everything faith related. Facts not attributed are purely the opinion of the writer.