I believe there is a line of thinking that has inched its way into the footnotes of Christianity. Many believers have thrown their hands up in the air and excuse themselves from discussing it. What is this way of thinking? That our health does not matter to God.
We think, “Oh well, ‘bodily exercise profiteth little,’ right?” But check out these startling facts about Americans’ health habits:
Americans today spend roughly $110 billion every year on fast food (up from $3 billion in 1972) and 1 in 4 Americans eats fast food at least once every single day!
Since 1980, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has tripled. And according to the National Institutes of Health, 2 in 3 Americans are now considered overweight or obese.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity (other than day-to-day tasks like moving around the office) per day. Yet the average American gets only about half that much. (https://www.pulsara.com/blog/the-5-scariest-health-facts-for-americans)
The fact is that God does care about your health. What you put in your body matters to God. What you do with your body matters to God. Yes—husband, wife, pastor, leader—your health matters to Him! Here are three reasons why I believe this is true:
You were created for service, not slothfulness.
From the very moment of conception, God gifted you with life. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
God created you with intention and purpose. It was not a haphazard conglomeration of artistic whim, but a specificity of placement and divine appointment. You are His creation. That’s why your health matters to Him. There is something He has left you on this planet to do, and He has given you one body to fulfill that purpose.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1).
He created us to serve (Colossians 3:23-24), and our bodies are the vehicle that gets that done! But if we do not take care of the bodies He has given us, how can we serve Him to the fullest? How can we expect God to bless us with health if we have been a poor steward of it?
The Bible warns us against slothful behavior that drives the spirit and the body down to a place of uselessness. “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through” (Ecclesiastes 10:18). When we succumb to the temptation of idleness, we open the door to poor health habits that can affect our body negatively:
Spending too much time in front of the TV
Staying up late because we procrastinated on a project
Grabbing a fast, unhealthy breakfast because we weren’t a good steward of our time to prepare
I know, I’m treading on thin ice! But it easier to form a bad habit than it is to keep a good one.
Be disciplined with the body God has given you and remember that your purpose is to serve the Lord and honor Him in everything you do. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1Corinthians 10:31).
Your body is His, not yours.
What? What do you mean my body is not my own?
My body my choice!
Sound familiar? If we are not careful, as believers we can live our Christian lives compartmentalizing everything. We say, “Lord, this is yours, and this is mine!” We categorize parts of our lives into two sections—secular and spiritual.
Look what Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19-20. You can almost hear the sarcasm in his voice. (I think we would have gotten along pretty well).
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
“Ye are bought with a price…” What was the price that bought your redemption? It was the precious blood of Jesus Christ! Through His love and mercy we can take hold of eternal life and live in the freedom of His will.
He sought you out. He paid your sin debt. He loves you! It is by this truth that we ought to give to Him everything with a heart of thanksgiving—including our health. Have you surrendered your body to Him and to His service?
I understand there are things regarding our health that we cannot always fix or help. Unexpected ailments pop their heads up. The word tumor appears on the MRI results. Nothing seems to fix the aching pain that keeps you up at night.
But the truth is still the same. Our bodies and health are His to do with as He sees fit. If you suffer with a physical ailment and the doctor is no stranger to you, listen to these comforting words,
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:15-18).
There is a heavenly purpose that God wants you to do through an earthly body. Does He have complete control if it?
Because your body was made to be pure, not perverse.
Another charge from the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).
The moment you received Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit of God came and dwelt in you. What a thought! He is there to guide you, encourage you, comfort you, and bring healing that you cannot create on your own. But with this wonderful gift comes a great responsibility. This means that now wherever you go, He goes. Whatever you do, He does.
When you abuse your body through alcohol, drugs, overeating, etc. you can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Your body becomes a place of spiritual decay that constantly needs cleaning. And the more time you spend having to “clean” your mind and body, the less time you are spending in service to Him.
God wishes to use pure vessels of honor for His Kingdom, and when we continue to defile the temple of the Holy Ghost, we are hindering God’s pure work in us and through us.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says this about stewarding our bodies:
“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”
What steps could you take in your life to better steward your body for Christ’s sake? What is a small, attainable goal that you could set this year, that would change the way you feel and benefit those around you?
God is ready to give you the wisdom for that goal as well as the power to perform it. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
If you would like to learn more about stewarding your health, my wife and I would love to connect with you! Kathryn and I are both Wellness Advocates that love to coach people on how to live a healthier lifestyle through the natural solutions and supplements of doTERRA.
As parents of three little munchkins, we are on our own journey to establish healthy habits for Jesus’ sake and we would LOVE to help you do the same! Connect with us HERE!