In my last post, I shared a great burden that I live with often: healthy living. Its hard. Its challenging. It can seem hopeless at times. Maybe you have felt the weight of that burden as well. So what do we do?
I would like to take a look at living a healthy life through the lense of the gospel. What I mean by that is I want to lay a foundation theologically that will help us understand how God views the human body and if He really cares if we live healthy. In short, I want to answer two questions. Firstly, does God care about my body? And secondly, does God really care if I live healthy? Both of these questions are essential to us making progress in living healthy. Lets start by looking at question one...
1. Does God care about my body?
In the Old Testament, God resided in the tabernacle where the cloud of glory was above the ark of the covenant. His instructions were very detailed and explicit in how to take care of the tabernacle. Later the ark was moved into Solomon's temple, where God's presence remained until the prophet Ezekiel saw God's glory leave. God did not take up a specific residence until the time of Christ's incarnation. Then He was present in the person of of Jesus. When Christ ascended back to the Father, the presence of God returned to man when His Spirit came at Pentecost to indwell believers.
Whats so special about that, you ask?
If you are in Christ, God's Spirit lives in you!
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God cares about our bodies for two reasons:
1. He made you, therefore your life has value and worth in His sight (Gen. 1; Ps. 139:14; 1 Cor. 15:44)
2. If you are a believer, your body is the Spirit's temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19-20)
God cares for your body because your body is His creation and (if a believer) His temple. On to our next question...
2. Does God really care if I live healthy?
This is a question we must answer correctly. If the very God who created the universe (Gen. 1), stretched the heavens as a curtain (Ps. 104:2), and breathed us to life (Gen. 2:7) cares about how we take care of our bodies, we must pay attention. So, does He really care?
1 Corinthians 10:31 says "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." This is a confusing verse. At a quick reading, we may come to understand that we can eat whatever, drink whatever, as long as we do it for God's glory! Want that 44 ounce Dr. Pepper? Craving that McDouble with extra cheese? By all means, down it! Just do it for God's glory! Sadly, this is how some people interpret what Paul wrote. We must, however, understand that this is a text of Scripture that must be understood with a backdrop of what else is written in the Scripture. Look with me at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
Paul tells us what we have already explained above: our bodies do not belong to us. Your body is God's. It is His temple. Therefore, in light of that we are to "glorify God in your (our) body (bodies)." Now look at 1 Corinthians 9:27:
"I discipline my body and keep it under control."
Paul gives us a view of how he obeys 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, by discipling his body. He has self-control. This gives new meaning to 1 Corinthians 10:31. Yes, we are to do all things for the glory of God. However, we are to be self-controlled in what we eat or drink, understanding that we glorify God by being good stewards of the body He has given us.
This is essential to healthy living. Why? Because in the Scripture we see that because Jesus has bought us with His own blood, we are now indwelled with the Holy Spirit. We are His temple.
Living an unhealthy lifestyle puts more at stake than just a bigger waist or tighter jeans. The glory of God is at stake. Everyday when we wake up, we are to live lives centered on the glory of God. With every sip and every bite, we must remember "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20).
Friends, will you commit to living a healthy life not merely for smaller waist, but for the glory of God? Lets continue on our journey of taking a gospel-centered approach to healthy living. In my next post, I will share with you a couple of practical things you can do each day to help you glorify God by living healthy.
(Are there specific questions you have to A Gospel-Centered Approach to Healthy Living or something you would like to add? Comment below!)
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.