Many times in the church, people like myself who adhere to natural living, herbal medicine and so on, get wrongly accused of being “new-age” and written off as a “health nut”. Some may go so far as saying that the state of our physical body here on earth is of absolutely no concern, and all that matters is our eternal life.
However, I believe that investing in your physical health is an integral part of the Christian life. Why?
I believe that firstly, God wants us to take care of our physical bodies because our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. (God lives IN US!)
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.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
My physical body belongs to the Lord – it is His temple, and so I should treat it with much respect.
This is the proper notion of a temple – a place where God dwells, and sacred to his use, by his own claim, and his creature’s surrender. -Matthew Henry, commentary on 1 Corinthians
The last line in 1 Corinthians 6:20 says to glorify God in our body. How do we glorify God in our body? I think that we must acknowledge that it belongs to Him, and should be used and employed for Him – it must be kept as a vessel fitted for our Master’s use.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Our modern age of science and nutrition can easily educate anyone on the best ways to take care of our bodies. At other times in history perhaps, the average person did not have access to nutritional education and wellness methods, but we definitely do not have this excuse now. All of the health and wellness literature says that we promote good health in our bodies by eating healthy nourishing foods, maintaining optimal vitamin levels, drinking water, getting adequate rest and exercising. There may be some disagreement on what exactly are healthy foods, or what exercise is best. But all agree that these are the 5 keys to good health. We as Christians should be implementing all 5 of these keys into our everyday lives.
The second reason I believe we should work towards good health is because it not only benefits our personal physical body, but we will also be so much more effective in our service for Him. It’s hard to be working for the Lord when our bodies are tired and sluggish. It’s hard to serve the Lord if you can’t get out of bed. It’s hard to serve the Lord if you’re sick all the time. Exercising and healthy diet will keep our bodies healthy, ready to get out there and serve. Getting adequate sleep will give us energy and clear, sharp minds ready to defend the Gospel.
A side note here, but one that is very important to address- Obviously our bodies are ultimately in hands of our Creator, and for some people, no matter how many health promoting things they do, will still suffer with poor health or debilitating diseases. There is not always a direct correlation between healthy living and excellent health. However, we can rest in knowing that IF we have done our part in working to be healthy, and yet the Lord has still not given us good health, then He has purposes in mind that we may not be able to understand this side of Heaven. On the other hand, if we don’t take care of our bodies, and then suffer bad health, we cannot sit idly by and say it must just be the Lord’s will for us to be sick. We have a responsibility to do our part, and then we trust the results to the Lord.
So, I hope I’ve communicated that our goal in healthy living shouldn’t merely be to “get healthy”, but it is to more effectively serve the Lord and to glorify Him in our nutrition and lifestyle choices. This way of living is not just a new-age, get-fit fad.
It’s a way to bring glory to God and to be more effective in our service to Him.