What’s the world say about healthy eating? They recommend it, but no one really believes you can do it unless you’re one of “those” people. Corporations cater to the fact that you think you’re too busy to really care about what’s in your food. Do you even know what you’re eating half the time? Can you pronounce half of the chemicals in your food, let alone contemplate the havoc it’s wreaking on your body? The world says you shouldn’t care, that you have better things to do with your time, but forget everything you know about acceptable nutrition, and see what God has to say. If you’ve ever read Leviticus, you know He’s definitely interested in your diet and health!
I’ve got news for you, my friends. God wants us to be healthy. He designed our bodies to operate like perfect machines. Consider a car engine; if you put the right things in, it will work – and you need to take continuous care of it. If you put regular gas in a premium gas car, you are going to have some engine troubles. If your brake line is broken, you will crash. If you don’t replenish your oil or fill up your tires with air, then you’re not going to get very far after a while. Your car will break down.
Have you ever felt that way about your own body? Do you find yourself frequently getting headaches or feeling tired? I once claimed that I had better things to do than spend an hour working out, and that I had no time to do anything but heat up a can of Chunky Chicken Soup or microwave some Bagel Bites, and my body and health suffered for it. If my body was an engine, I was putting in tar and expecting to run on Premium. Does this sound familiar in your own life?
Let’s look at some of the ways your body and health can affect your spiritual life:
Your body is a temple: glorify God in your body and in your spirit.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
This passage is often only thought of in terms of sexual morality, but it applies to nutrition and diet as well. A clean diet leads to better health. Certainly there are some health things we are not in control of, so please don’t think I’m telling you that people with cancer have sinned in some way and brought their disease upon themselves. For most of us, our energy and overall health will improve if we improve our diet. This directly affects our ability to serve God with our whole hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. We are to glorify God in both body and spirit.
Lack of discipline in your body can lead to a lack of discipline in your relationships.
“So husbands out to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29
Interesting to note: America has one of the highest rates of obesity and divorce. Could neglect and abuse of our own bodies directly affect our loved ones? If we cannot discipline and love ourselves at the most basic level, how can we discipline our minds and hearts to love someone more than ourselves? Again, I’m not saying overweight people are incapable of loving their spouses, but I am drawing an eerie correlation between self-inflicted bad health and broken relationships.
If you are disciplined already, be careful not to let that turn into pride.
“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:18-21
On the flip side, if you are experiencing self-obsession with your body image, pray about that. If you are obsessed with your diet, whether gluttony or some trendy diet you’re proud to follow, pray that God would change your heart. Do not let your body be your god. Our bodies are a temple for the One True and Living God.
Let’s get to it!
This year I was convicted to start making myself healthy. For years I’ve known what I had to do, but I kept putting it off for various reasons. My loving husband, who’s a real health nut himself, constantly encouraged me and prayed for me to feel internally motivated to work out. When I started praying God would change my heart toward healthy living, He did. And He can change you, too.
It took me the better part of 8 years to really embrace this new lifestyle for myself. Why did I recognize exactly what would make me feel healthier, happier, and stronger, yet ignore it? This is the great irony of the American way: we have all the resources, all the time, and all the professional advice we could want or ever hope to have, and yet a lot of us ignore it. If you can improve your health with diet and exercise, what’s holding you back? Surely your health should be more important to you than your extracurricular activities, your promotion at work, or the new season of your favorite TV show.
If you’re still feeling resistant, get help for it. Seek out a work out buddy, a partner in prayer, and maybe even a nutrition expert. You are welcome to comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help. My husband’s favorite hobby is helping people be healthier, and I can give you some encouragement and tips!
Please, my friends, if you’re at the point now where you recognize that your human engine needs to be fixed, then please don’t just read this blog post – do something about it. You can do it. God will empower you, internally and externally, if only you ask.
Good health is vital to serve God, good diet and exercise shows discipline, and an overall fit body will make you feel great and give you energy to serve others. Plus, being fit and humble when so many are either overweight or fit and prideful will make a great witness to the masses, and give encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are also trying to be healthy.
Remember, forget everything the world tells you about ignoring your health and focus on God. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.