“I eagerly expect and hope that I will have nothing to be ashamed of. I will speak very boldly and honor Christ in my body, now as always, whether I live or die.” St. Paul in Philippians 1:20, GW
God’s image in us includes the body he has given to us. These bodies of ours are so important to him, that a glorious day is coming, when our bodies will be resurrected from the grave without any flaws. (See Philippians 3:20-21) Think of the awesome price that God paid for these bodies which are just as much a part of us as our soul. “God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20, NLT
Good stewardship includes taking care of our health and staying in the best shape we can. We take care of our bodies because we want to honor God and serve others. We also feel better about ourselves when we do. Did you stand in front of a mirror today? Of course you did. You wanted to be sure you looked your best for your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend, to be well-groomed for representing your business or company and well, it just feels good to look our best. We know that we when feel good we perform better. It doesn’t mean that we make idols out of our bodies spending hours in front of a gymnasium mirror sculpting and toning them to the exclusion of what really matters in life.
Staying in shape helps you to feel better and look better! It is a good testimony for Christ and his church. Your energy is replenished and your countenance is brighter. Remember yesterday, the Apostle John prayed for good health and your soul to prosper? When people see a passionate follower of Christ glowing with good health their witness is enhanced.
When your health is poor it affects the stewardship of life. When you are out of shape or sick, you don’t feel like volunteering with students or children, serving senior citizens or feeding the hungry. Poor health affects your relationships, your career and it also affects your soul. Over the years many people who I’ve talked with have suffered stress related issues, depression, and spiritual failure that can often be traced to the fact that they neglected the good health that they were given. Recently I prayed with a man in the hospital, that over a decade ago at the request of his family, I pled with him to exercise and eat sensibly. Now with broken health and depressed he reminded me of our conversation as said, “Pastor, please people to not neglect like their health like I did.” So I am honoring his request.
Dr. Ken Cooper said, “after 40 you lose 2% of bone and muscle mass per year unless you exercise. Fortunately if you haven’t exercised in years you gain regain that bone and muscle mass if you begin to exercise aerobically.”
So just a couple of suggestions for taking care of your health
1. Eat Sensibly. I love, love, love hamburgers and french fries, fried chicken and creamed potatoes with lots of gravy and banana pudding! I just don’t eat it a lot. Most days my diet is very simple, a lot of fruit, vegetables and little meat. Personally I try to keep my meat intake low because of my personal health issues.
2. Exercise six days a week at least 30 minutes a day. An article I read last week by a doctor said that if Americans would walk 150 minutes a week they would feel better and live longer. That’s only 25 minutes a day if you walk six days a week! Almost everyone can do that!
3. Observe the Sabbath Principle, Rest! Go to bed at a decent hour, rest. Your blood pressure will go down, your life expectancy will increase and you will honor God by being like him. My District Superintendent used to say, “if you want to be like the devil work all the time.” Take a day of each week to worship, enjoy your family, rest and recreate. Since it’s summer, I’m attaching a post about the value of vacation at the end of this post. (1)
4. Be a healthy weight. The CDC has some great tips for assessing your weight and then managing your weight gain. Over the years most of us have added on a few pounds. And you can lose that weight a little at the time if you put your mind to it. This past Sunday one of the men in our congregation gave me a great tip of how he lost a lot of weight. “For today, I am going to exercise and eat sensibly so I’ll be in good health.” I tend to take a long view of things. But if you are motivated like he is by just one day at a time, then just for today, manage your weight, just wake up the next day and do what he did again and again. Here’s the link to the CDC article. www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html
Finally, be persuaded that God wants you to have good health. “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:17 God revealed himself in Jesus Christ. When you see Jesus you see the Father. When Jesus met the blind man he healed him. When a woman who suffered from an illness that was taking her life, she touched Christ’s garment and was healed instantly. He said of her, “This woman I healed, a daughter of Abraham, has been held by Satan for eighteen years.” He met parents and healed their children, he met friends who brought their sick to him and he healed them, he healed mother-in-laws, he healed by a word and sometimes a touch! Whenever Jesus met sickness he revealed the will of the Father in heaven, he defeated sickness and healed them! Be assured that God wants you to enjoy good health as well.
Tomorrow, how becoming a follower of Jesus will also improve your health!
Peace and Joy!