We have a tendency to compartmentalize various aspects of our lives, like keeping the physical separate from the spiritual. In actuality, it is all linked together, and you can try to blindly build the separating walls, but it doesn’t change reality. For example, let’s consider our health. Some of us neglect taking care of our bodies, claiming to focus on things that are really important. But according to the Bible, health is a spiritual issue. Our bodies are on loan to us by God and He expects us to take care of them. God created it, Jesus died for it, the Holy Spirit lives in it, so we should care for it.
What we do with our bodies either honors or dishonors God. There is nothing in between. You can be in poor health circumstances even if it is not a result of your choices, but how you handle those circumstances will either honor or dishonor God.
I grew up in a church where honoring God with your body meant don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance. I’m rebellious at heart, so if you give me a “don’t” rule, and I want to prove it wrong. So, what if, instead, we looked at what we should DO instead of DON’T do? There are three key areas:
1. Eat nutritious food. What we put into our bodies, affects our bodies. We have been immunized to this idea in the United States. Ease of access, cost-effectiveness, and speed of preparation has become our priority over the contents of the food. Are you eating for pleasure or have you been eating for health? God DID give us food to enjoy, but when we eat, we should look at our motivation. Eat to give glory to God and care for your body rather than making pleasure or ease your priority. Look for foods you enjoy that are nutrient rich and good for you. Think through what you eat in the context of whether it glorifies God. This motive will last longer than any other temporary motivation, such as losing weight, and will create a good habit in your life.
2. Live a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle habits are not prescriptive in Scripture and are culturally diverse, rooted in were we are born and what is available. The American lifestyle is the most sedentary of any culture in all of history, now that we generally have desk jobs and the chores required of most of us do not involve as much physical activity as they did even 100 years ago. We spend a lot of time on screens, even looking at multiple screens, and only when we turn them off, we are more likely to move around. We are to look at what the Word has to say and apply biblical concepts to our choices. Anytime we put Jesus first, we are bound to take good steps.
3. Keep fit. A mind and body that is fit may have more opportunity to serve and to care for others, pointing toward the glory of God. Fitness is an area where we need caution to not go too far in either direction. Taking care of our body is a step we take to glorify God. But you can also take it too far and forget the purpose of bringing glory to God and taking the glory for yourself – to look good, to look hot, to look young.
Knowing that all our activities have eternal significance, we should put first things first. When we focus on just ourselves and our bodies, it makes it about us, so we must re-focus and put first things first. Put God first. Then, we are to put others second. When we do this, it indirectly impacts how we look at our habits and lifestyles. We are not our own. We were meant to honor God with our bodies while seeking Jesus and living in community with others.
Based on the sermon at Fellowship Bible Church. You can listen to the message, which is called "Seven - Health" at http://www.fbctopeka.com/media.