Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV)
Dear friends, Cary and I are both such passionate advocates for God and for exercise. Joyfully, today’s posting brings the two together.
My goal with this posting is to help you look at health and fitness in a whole new way; a healthy body and mind give you platform from which to live fully in God and share His glory with others. Your body is a temple, use it to honor Him.
Everyone has heard the saying that life is a marathon, not a sprint. This saying applies in glorifying God with our bodies, as well. If we spend our short life here on earth eating junk, smoking, overindulging in drugs and/or alcohol, only exercise periodically or not at all, and not resting like we should, our natural bodies are bound to give up too soon and make our already brief time here even more so.
On the contrary, if we treat our natural bodies as temples, if we exercise regularly, eat all of the nourishing foods He has given us in great abundance, and live a life of moderation, we are much more likely to live a long life, fruitful in sharing the Word of God with as many people as we can and having a firm platform from which to do so.
Man’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed (Job 14:5, NIV). God knew us even before the world was created, and called us by name. Only He knows how many hours we have in our natural bodies to make the greatest impact, and when we take responsibility for our bodily health, we are best able to fulfill our primary mission from God: Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples (1 Chronicles 16:23-24, NIV).
Those who have lived lives of excess or had lives disrupted by poor health can still be beautiful examples of God’s majesty and grace. But think with me for a moment how wonderful it would be to have the ultimate health in our natural bodies as well as our spiritual health! If your life has been handicapped because you have made poor lifestyle choices, then that also hinders the service you can do for Him, and I know none of us what that. So many health issues are caused by our “you only live once” worldly mentality, but the truth is that our life choices have such a profound effect on our ability to serve the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Christ that I wish we all had a “do-over” so we could go back and treat our bodies as the temples of the living God that they truly are. God is with us always, living in us and dwelling among us (see 2 Corinthians 6:16), so imagine how strong our voices would be if we weren’t huffing and puffing at the top of a flight of stairs.
The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7, NASB). We were formed by God, in His image to do good over all the earth. And on earth we will remain until the day He has set for us arrives. Remember friends, Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lovely bodies so that they will be like His glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21, NIV). Can you just imagine it with me? Our earthly bodies which were formed in His image will also be raised up in His image and be glorious just like His. That’s a far cry from the way I feel when I look in the mirror each morning, far from glorious.
When we look in the mirror, when you see photos of yourself, when others see you, what do they see? Is your body as healthy as your spirit? Do you see health and vigor in your reflection or dullness and exhaustion? Jesus said that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22, NIV).
What our eyes see is critical to the health of our spirit, but as important is all that can be told about us by looking into our eyes. Someone close to you can tell when you are sad or down, tired or sick, just from seeing your eyes. A complete stranger can tell so much from the volumes you speak with your eyes; they can see health or illness, happiness or sadness. Our eyes truly are the windows to our souls, so we must guard them from what is seen and keep our natural bodies healthy so that what we reflect is health and the love of God.
I have to tell a quick family story here. Last night over dinner, I asked our oldest son, Bryce, if he would like a second helping of baked salmon, “Protein packed and filled with cancer-fighting Omega-3′s.”
As he was taking his second helping, Bryce said, “I don’t think any of that cancer fighting stuff is true. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
As I answered him, I realized this is exactly the point I wanted to bring out of this lesson, “The research is correct, the problem is that the majority of Americans will not follow the strict nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle guidelines that it takes to truly make a difference in their life.”
When we, as Christians, build our bodies in excellent health while also building our spiritual health, we will truly be living in God’s image, and His light will shine through us to the world as we share His Word. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true–even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20, NIV)
Can we have eternal life even without near-perfect natural health? Absolutely. Will a healthy natural body better allow us to go, to serve, to do, to preach, to teach, to show love, to be more readily available in times of need, and on and one? I believe so. I have gone through some minor health issues that had pretty major effects on my day-to-days at the time. There was a nine month time frame before my hysterectomy that doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong and what needed to be done. During that time, I remained in such pain that I was not vital, energetic, or available. I did not spend much quality time with anyone, I did not feel like talking to or seeing anyone, and I sure didn’t spend all of my time spreading the Word. A part of my body was sick and it effected everything. My belief in God did not falter just because my natural body was going through a rough spot, but because of all of the doctors visits, tests, procedures, and overall pain, I did not feel like doing anything, and “anything” included using my body to tell of His glory.
Our natural bodies may not hinder our personal path to eternal life, but they sure can get in the way with our mission to share Him with others who may not otherwise know Him.
Once my natural body was healed, the light of good health returned to my eyes. As God spoke to Jeremiah, He also speaks to us, “For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds” (Jeremiah 30:17, NASB).
God heals, God inspires, God protects and restores, God gives us a lot of praiseworthy goodness. We must look to our natural bodies as Jesus did, as temples of the living God. His temple is worthy of our care and effort. Please, friends. take care of your bodies, treat them as you know you should, so you can have a strong platform from which to call out to others in God’s holy name.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2, NASB)
Make it a great day, Marilyn
Here are a couple of other verses I enjoyed that jumped out at me while preparing this lesson:
- You, however, are controlled not my the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9, NIV)
- So will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, NIV)
- Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food–you haven’t eaten anything. Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive.” (Acts 27:33-34, NIV)