I’m so excited to get started on this new series “What the Bible Says About Our Health.” There’s sooooo much to write about, so I’m going to write this post in a series of three installments.
Part I: Our Bodies Do Not Belong To Us
Part II: In Order to Achieve Optimal Health, We Must Pursue Christ First
Part III: Discipline: You Don’t Need Willpower, You Need God’s Power
Part I: Our Bodies Do Not Belong To Us
Several of us struggle with how to lose weight and making time for exercise. We hear on the news how the national obesity rate is skyrocketing and are constantly bombarded with commercials and ads for diet pill this, fitness regimen that. With all the focus on losing weight and getting slim, why is it that so many of us have a hard time in this area?
I’m someone who has experienced nearly every hardship you can think of when it comes to losing and gaining weight. My all-time highest weight was 185 pounds, and at only 5″2′, that’s a lot of weight on my short frame. I hated the way I looked and could not fit into any of my clothes. In the years that followed, I lost and gained the same 10 lbs over and over and over. It was one of those things that I thought I just would never get under control.
At the start of last year, with my weight slowly creeping back up, I decided to fast and pray about what to do about my weight. I was overwhelmed with work and grad school and knew that I could no longer deal with this weight thing on my own. I decided to give it all to God. I asked God to help me figure out what to eat, lead me to make better food choices and give me the energy to get back in the gym.
And then…the weight started falling off.
For the first time in forever, I didn’t feel anxious about losing weight and it didn’t control my every thought. To be honest, I kind of really didn’t think about it much at all. It’s almost as though once I surrendered the issue to Christ and said, “Look God, I can’t deal with this. You take it and help me figure it out,” I literally no longer thought about it. Making healthy choices became second nature. Going to the gym suddenly became something I looked forward to. Making healthy decisions was suddenly just a part of my daily life, not something that I would stress over every single second.
One of the scriptures that I studied intensely when I was fasting is 1 Corinthians 6:19. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
Let’s break that down for a minute…
“Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…”
What? My body is a temple? When you think of a temple, you typically visualize a building that looks majestic and splendid. I even did a Google Image search of the word “temple” and the results were all of these tall, golden, shiny structures with intricate architecture that looked meticulously maintained. I’m sure the janitorial staff at those big, fancy temples don’t leave trash on the floor or garbage all over the place. Those temples are treated with the utmost care! Here I was treating my “temple” like it was an outhouse. What a wake up call.
“…who lives in you and was given to you by God?”
Wayment. You mean that Holy Spirit, the very presence of God, has taken up residence in my “temple?” Let’s think about it this way. If Jesus Christ himself pulled up to the front door of your house on his donkey and needed a place to chill for a few days, what kind of food would you serve him during his stay? Surely, you would not tell Jesus, “Hey man, there’s some frozen pizzas in the freezer and a some Fruity Pebbles in the cabinet. Help yourself.” NO! You would serve Jesus the WORKS! You would make sure you had the most wholesome, freshly-prepared and nutritious foods to serve him. So if the spirit of Jesus “resides” in your “temple” why do we continue to feed the Holy Spirit processed junk foods, refined sugars and other unhealthy garbage? See where I’m going here?
“You do not belong to yourself.”
Remember back in the day when you would rent a movie from Blockbuster? You’d take it home, watch it, put it neatly back in the case and drop it back off a few days later. The movie didn’t belong to you. Blockbuster loaned it to you. You rented the movie for a temporary amount of time and were obligated to take good care of it while it was in your possession to avoid being penalized. Well, the same goes with our bodes. Those feet, legs, elbows and arm hairs aren’t really yours, honey. They are all God’s! We need to be grateful that he has given us fully functioning bodies and treat them with the utmost care while we’re renting them out. I don’t know about you, but when I see my King at the end of this life, I want to say, “Hey God! I took great care of this body you loaned me all these years! ‘Preciate cha!” You do not belong to yourself, you belong to God. In belonging to God, we should want to make sure that we are making Him proud with how we take care of His belongings.
Once I started to really break down what the Bible said about my body, I began to want to nurture it on the inside and out. I started Salad Jamming, working out, getting more sleep and resisting the urge to overeat. I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge some days, but when I was tempted, I said to myself, “God help me resist. I can’t do this on my own.” And sure enough, He would help me whenever I asked.
In the next post, I’ll talk about more about intentionally pursuing Christ’s help in avoiding temptation.