This week we are studying the importance of good health, and the intertwining of mind, body, and spirit in us as Christians.
Are we motivated to be healthy?
Seriously, it's easy to just talk about it, but when you're staring down a gorgeous chocolate cake, all gooey and "come-hithery" on its cake-stand there on the table....it's not so easy, is it? And someone put a knife and little plates there, and napkins so you can wipe your mouth and act innocent.
Give me a moment to clear that picture from my mind.
Okay, I'm back.
God wants us to be healthy, and to have the emotional and physical energy associated with it. Why? Because we are empowered then to have more fruit in our lives, and to better use the gifts and talents that He has blessed us with. We'll be energized to serve others and to serve Him.
These verses are familiar to us:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. (Romans 12:6a)
Do not neglect your gift.... (I Timothy 4:10a)
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (I Peter 4:10)
So, good health is not an end in and of itself. Nope. It's an open door. It opens the door to using our gifts for God's kingdom: winning others to Christ, to sharing what we have with those in need, to becoming more Christ-like, and to praising Him.
Some of us may not have good health. We may have chronic conditions that try our spirits, and cause us to become frustrated and depressed. But even those with chronic illnesses can follow some simple guidelines to being as healthy as they possibly can.
1. As much as possible, follow good sleep habits. A restful routine, no "screen" time before bed, and keeping the temperature a teensy bit lower all have been found to increase effective sleep.
2. Add an exercise time to your day (if you don't already!). Simply walking for twenty to thirty minutes will release endorphins and rev your metabolism, making you feel refreshed. If you increase your time by five or ten percent each week, you're really doing great!
3. Soak after exercise. A nice, warm bath will ease any achy muscles and relieve stress, too.
4. Watch your portions. Instead of cutting out special comfort foods, cut down on the volume! One spoonful, instead of three, OK? (Grin)
5. And while we're on the subject of food, get all the stuff out of the house that you know the doctor or nutritionist would frown about. (Guess this one will have to happen after Christmas, right?) If it's not there, you won't be tempted to indulge.
6. Get to know your water bottle. It's one of your best friends for good health! Drinking extra water will increase your body's ability to handle stress, that extra exercise, and any toxins that might come your way.
7. Have a wellness buddy, if you can. Someone who will encourage you and help you when you've fallen off the wagon, too.
8. Pray about it. Seriously, tell the Lord that you want to be healthy, and you want to be an effective witness for Him.
When we have the joy of the Lord, the peace that passes understanding, and the happiness that being in His will brings, we'll be on our way to good health. It is His desire for us to enjoy the best possible health in our own situations.
I'll close with this wish that John sent to a friend. It's my wish for all of us, too:
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (III John 1:2)