Why worry about being healthy?
Don't we sing "This world is not my home, I'm just a-travelling through" all the time?
It seems an obvious answer, doesn't it? Be healthy so that we live longer, happier lives. But we are planning to live forever in heaven . . . why be concerned now? What's the point of stressing about health, counting calories, measuring portions, journaling our exercise data, before "forever" begins?
After all, our bodies will be changed in a twinkling, right? (Kinda looking forward to that one.)
All of that is true -- we WILL live forever, and we WILL be changed. But as we saw yesterday, there is a Biblical basis for encouraging a healthy life-style for Christians in the present.
This might not be something we want to focus on right now. Here in the United States, we just finished up a holiday (Thanksgiving) that stresses traditional foods, heavily-laden tables groaning with the weight of scrumptious dishes, and congregating in front of the television to snooze afterwards! Add to that the Christmas seasoning of eating follows on the heels of "Turkey Day" and there are office parties, church parties, Christmas cookies and eggnog, and, and, well.....you know the drill. (Grin)
Hopefully we are awake in front of our computers and ready to read, no? I was interested to read that some of the oldest and most venerated schools have advocated good health for a long time. Harvard University (1636), Oberlin College (1833), and Earlham College (1847), were all institutions of higher learning which (at the time of their founding, at least) emphasized healthful lifestyles in addition to their quest for academic excellence.
Hmmmm. Wonder why they felt that it was important for a healthy physical body to accompany a sharp mind and a fervent spirit?
Well, from the beginning, we humans were created as whole beings: body, mind, and spirit. The whole package, so to speak.
Today, science and medicine confirm this "whole being" idea, because more and more people are recognizing that illness in one part of the body has an impact on all other parts. On the negative side, heart disease affects the brain. Depression affects spiritual thoughts. Stress and spiritual restlessness can affect blood pressure, blood glucose, and mental agility.
On the positive side, the Bible tells us:
And even the description of how Jesus grew and matured is noted in terms of the whole person:
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)I reckon ('scuse my country showing there) that if we were to express things in scientific terms, the human body is here to house and maintain the brain. The brain is how we communicate with God, and with other people. And any defects in the physical body will mess up our brain and how it functions. So this really applies to everyone here on this earth -- if we keep our bodies healthy, our minds and our relationships will be healthy, too.
Whoa, partner. We Christians don't live just for ourselves, though. From the day we accept God's gift of grace and forgiveness, we live in a special relationship with "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28)
So, if we take the whole person idea into this new relationship, we can see a very special and important meaning in one of our focus verses from before:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own... (I Corinthians 6:19)Look right above your head. See that light bulb?
Good! That means you got the idea!
Christians are not free to do whatever they choose with their bodies. Their bodies belong to God, and not just to themselves anymore.
That one was important. Go back and read it again....
Paul told us this:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)For us as believers, the power inside that enables us to follow God can be affected (positively or negatively) by such simple things as what we eat or drink. By whether or not we exercise.
(Kinda puts a different angle on whether or not to scarf down that plate of sugar cookies, or the extra slice of cheesecake....or whether to drink our third cup of eggnog (and ask if it was dosed with alcohol),....or whether or not to get out in the frosty cold and walk briskly. I know, right? I'm preaching to myself here, and my toes are busted.)
As believers who want to be useful to God, to bring glory to Him, our decision to learn and implement healthy lifestyle choices is important. It needs to be on our list, right behind our commitment to read our Bible and pray, and to love our neighbors. If we want to be complete and effective witnesses for Him, we'll give our attention to the health of the whole person -- our mind, body and spirit.
We'll finish our study tomorrow!