I have a confession to make. I’ve really been struggling with my healthy habits recently. There have been several reasons, but the truth is, I have the tools I need to work around all my limitations – I just haven’t been using them.
It’s easy to just have the attitude that “my body just won’t let me do __________,” and just not worry about it. For me, though, it’s about honoring God through taking care of myself.
But does God really even care about our health wellness?
As we talked about in Lord, Make Me Like the Olive Tree, most believers want to be useful to God throughout our lives. “But wait” you may be saying, “Can’t God use us regardless of our health?” Absolutely! He’s God – He can use us in any condition we’re in. And sometimes, He uses our health challenges to help others. But that doesn’t mean He wants us to neglect our wellness.
He has given us an amazing gift in the form of this earthly body He’s given us. There are a few reasons we might want to take care of it. First of all, let’s take a look at our wellness in the context of stewardship.
A Matter of Stewardship
What if someone loaned you a fancy sports car, and said you could keep it as long as you took good care of it? I don’t know about you, but I’d be taking that baby in for all its preventive maintenance, giving it the recommended type of gasoline and oil, and making sure it was in tip-top condition.
God may not have given us a ‘sports car’ body, but He did give us a body that is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The more I learn about how all the systems of the body are interconnected and how many processes are going on in the background all the time, the more this fact hits home. Since God gave us such an intricate, amazing ‘machine’ shouldn’t we take good care of it at least as well as we’d take care of that fancy sports car?
An Act of Worship
Taking care of ourselves can also be an act of worship. In Romans 12:1, Paul tells us to, “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.” This isn’t just about our physical health though. Check out what he says next. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
We honor God when we take care of all dimensions of our wellness so we’re ready for whatever He gives us to do.
Again, this doesn’t mean He can’t use us if we’re not in tiptop condition.
As you may already know, I live with fibromyalgia and a couple of other health issues, so I’m definitely not what you’d think of as your typical health coach. But I know God is able to use me. I just need to do my part to make sure I’m doing my part to be an acceptable ‘living sacrifice’ by, as the old saying goes, “practicing what I preach.”
If you also deal with issues with your health, I’d like to encourage you to believe He can use you too.
We show good stewardship and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice by taking care of ourselves, but as believers, we’re also a temple….
A Shining Temple
When we become Christ-followers, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That means He lives in us. In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit:
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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
Now when Paul wrote this, he was confronting the Corinthian believers about the rampant sexual immorality in the church. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to us.
Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, we are the temples. When I think about my body in that context, it makes me want to ‘spiff things up a bit.’ I can’t imagine wanting to fill a temple with ‘trash’ so why would I do that to my body?
Isn’t that what we do, though, when we fill our stomachs with food that has no nutritional value or our minds with thoughts that are not helpful? And we forget to ‘take out the trash’ when we don’t exercise or get rid of things that are harmful for our health.
So does God really care about our health and wellness? I can’t really say for sure — I’m not God — but when I look at wellness from the perspective of our bodies being temples, an act of worship, and a matter of stewardship, I would say it’s very likely He does.
What do you think? Do you think God really cares whether we cultivate our wellness? Please share!