1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." Where does physical health meet spiritual strength? Here’s the skinny!
In biblical times, I’m not sure if there was much room for physical atrophy or poor diet. You had to walk everywhere, work the land, and the only fast food around was when you accidentally inhaled a fly. The Bible doesn’t offer a great deal on the topic other than at the fall of man, our bodies began to deteriorate, that we should take care of our temples, and gluttony kills possibility and life… all wise to note.
Today in our fast-paced, fast food world of minimal physical activity, it’s not just prudent, but a responsibility to evaluate how our physical condition affects our spiritual capacity to serve God and others. There’s an old saying that “the world goes to the energetic,” and although not entirely true, I began to wonder what all the spiritual gifts, talents and callings fueled by limited physical energy were doing, how little they were doing, and frankly if they were doing anything at all. I thought about how all these abilities God could use for His glory were immobilized by mental lethargy, limited stamina and a tired commitment. Standing to lose a few pounds myself forced me to consider how much those in my life were missing while I droned around in a food coma much of the time. My wife, family, employees, clients, friends and ministry partners were all experiencing a groggy, inconsistent, moody, semi-alert, half-committed “me.” I was a mess. So I changed my diet, dropped 25 lbs and am grateful I took the steps… as are others, especially my wife. If we really took to heart the call that God has on our life and truly considered the needs of those around us, we would be serious about what we put into our body and how we treat it. For when God calls, “go ye therefore,” He wants us in great spiritual condition, and He wants us to have the physical strength for the journey ahead and go far if He calls for that.
Another part of health/spirituality stewardship shows up in duration of life. It is estimated that those who ignore their health shave between 5-25 years off their life. It’s a little known fact that on average, Christians hit the peak of their spiritual maturity and effectiveness between 58 and 62. For those with health issues it means when Kingdom impacting maturity is nearing maximum potential, death or debilitating disease may be just around the corner. It’s no stretch to say that for Christians who gamble with an unhealthy lifestyle, 10 years of high-impact Kingdom opportunities are taken away because of addictions to unhealthy food and sedentary lifestyles. Add to that the incapacitating effects of premature illness and the burden multiplies, not just with us and those we serve; we pull others out of their game as well, as they must sideline their vision to care for our dwindling health. This is not a health epidemic; it is a clandestine pandemic of self-centeredness, gluttony, complacency and resignation. Tough words yes, but to couch them (pardon the pun) would be a disservice. Honestly, I would be regretful if I didn’t address it with the forthrightness the subject deserves. Lives depend on it, relationships depend on it… as does our service to God!
The Big Question: Am I stewarding over my health for maximum Kingdom impact, blessing and fullness of life or am I living in physical deficiency and coping with it by calling it normal?