“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought for a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor. 6:18-19)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, And be ye not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:1-2)
Some time ago, I went to a free exercise class in a church gymnasium. The flyer for the group referred to our bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit, as in the first Bible verse quoted above. I thought, “Great, these gals are really serious about keeping their bodies healthy!” Then they had a potluck lunch. Uh-oh!! Junk food all over the table! Lots of yummy baked goods made with refined sugar and flour. Sugared, food dye-high jellos. Jugs of fruit drink concoctions. On and on.
Somehow, when it was eatin’ time, God was evidently placed “under the table” for awhile!
Folks, God gave us our bodies and wants us to take care of them, in all ways at our disposal. His Spirit demands clean, healthy vessels – our bodies – to dwell in, and God needs us to be physically and mentally capable of carrying out His will. Sick, weak people can’t do things well, and often can’t do much at all.
Moreover, as quoted from the book of Romans, above, God does not want us to be conformed to the ways of this carnal world. Have we really thought about the areas of our lives where we engage in self-destructive activities? Can we effectively separate out the ways of God from the ways of the world around us – the carnal world? Or maybe we can’t tell the difference! Do we realize that the most fundamental purpose for food, according to God, is to nourish our bodies, and not to entertain us and provide recreation? According to TV, wonderful-tasting food is one of the most important things in all of life!! What do we base our food decisions on - sound knowledge or appetite fueled by heavy persuasion from our culture and by addictive substances put in our food?
Our nation is a nation of too many fat, lethargic, sick people, whose life habits would suggest they are far more enemies of their bodies than friends of their bodies. Our food supply has been altered in countless deleterious ways by people who do not care if we get sick and even die from bad food and toxic food additives. Their sole goal is to make as much money as possible, regardless of the consequences to anyone else. God did not make food the way most food comes to us in the supermarkets!! Food has been incredibly altered by man! When we eat that bad food, and financially support those evil food industries, we are, I believe, conforming to this world in unholy ways, often because we have been “taken in” by the food industries and by heavy advertising.
The food picture these days is highly complex. Oftentimes people are trying to eat food that is healthy, but inadvertently purchase much no-good-for-them food. Actually, we need to be quite well educated in “food lore” to know how to buy really healthy food. Being a “health nut” has been a hobby of mine for at least 30 years, and I’m still learning and revising. We need really adequate nutrition, and minimal toxicity. The food supply has become so unhealthy, that one should probably not eat in restaurants, unless they serve vegetarian, organic food.
Of course, adequate diet is not the only health concern. We need regular exercise – walking, stretching, weight lifting, and athletic activities, such as swimming and bike riding. We need enough good, deep sleep. We need to guard ourselves from too much stress, especially avoidable stress. We need a balance of activities, and not an overload. We need to keep our minds clean and unpolluted by negative materials of all sorts (I don’t watch the news very much).
There are countless self-help materials available to us in all areas related to health. In my experience, the lack of materials to learn from is not the problem. But, there are problems and challenges. First, we need to be convinced of the importance of keeping our bodies and minds healthy. We will probably have to give up favored foods. Then we need to be willing to follow through on changes, and to keep following through, always improving on our nurturance of ourselves (and of other family members if we’re the cooks). We will, I’ve found, face opposition - sometimes very heavy opposition with no, or little, support for us. Others will not want to eat what we do. Others will not want us to talk about healthy nutrition. I have been verbally attacked by certain family members for talking about health food (I like to talk about it because its my hobby). Even though I was not even thinking of them personally, they thought that I was “trying to tell ‘em what to eat.” People get MAD when the topic is even brought up. Several years ago I was attending a neighborhood church which was in the process of serving Easter morning breakfast. I didn’t want to eat the ham, white flour pancakes, sugary syrup and so forth, but I wanted to be “a good Christian” and do something nice. So, I volunteered to do dishes. Well, one of the male old-time members said, in an angry tone, “How come you’re not eating with us?” Dinners at other organizations can be similarly dismal and unfilling. At our square dance club Christmas dinner there wasn’t enough healthy food there to fill me up at all. The tables were loaded with “not-good-for-you” food. I ate a lot of green salads and did dishes there, too.
My point is that we need to become informed as to what we need to do to keep ourselves really healthy. We need to make plans and implement them as we can, and we need to stand up to the opposition that invariably comes when we “go against the grain.”
Is Our Health Nobody’s Business But Our Own?
Somehow, the idea is prevalent in our society that our state of health is nobody else’s business but our own – how we are doing and how we “get along” doesn’t affect anyone else, so nobody should comment or inquire. Besides, if we get sick, we can go to the doctor and he or she will “fix it.” It doesn’t cost much or even cost anything anyway, because “the insurance” pays for it. Oh, what a bunch of rationalizations and shirking of responsibility! I can’t believe those kinds of words can come out of minds which have been transformed by being renewed by God!
Actually, our state of health or illness always has great consequences for others. When we are sick, especially seriously and chronically, it really taxes and distresses the important others in our lives. I’ve heard of people who have to do so much “doctoring” that they basically have no other lives. Medical concerns are their lives, for years. If we die prematurely, that certainly distresses others, too. We may need very costly prescription medications. In using those, we usually cause ourselves to have other health problems, due to their undesirable side effects. Moreover, we are helping to financially support what has become an extremely greedy, exploitive, harmful industry – “big pharma.” My father-in-law was one of the ones who was killed by the medications he was given. The medical profession has the reputation for not really treating the causes of illnesses, especially the causes of degenerative diseases, but of only treating the symptoms. Insurance policies, be they government-sponsored or private, cannot endlessly pay for incredibly expensive medical care for increasing numbers of people without going broke. I’ve heard that Medicare and Medicaid will be bankrupt 10-20 years down the line, especially after having to pay for the “baby boomer” generation’s health needs.
So many of the diseases of modern life are preventable by healthy living. I’ve stopped trying to help people, even help them save their own lives, by pointing them to information about how dietary changes can substantially help them. Invariably, they are not interested in any other point of view and don’t want anything to do with any kind of change. I really feel bad for them then. Hard to understand. Seems like people can’t think very well. Seems like they are not even friends of their own bodies. Much good information is becoming common knowledge now. Of course, Christians, upon finding themselves or their family members quite ill, will pray to God to heal them, and perhaps ask their church members to pray, also. Well, they have, in many cases, brought their illnesses on themselves or have contributed to them substantially by their living habits. If they are healed, they will typically continue to eat in ways that will bring the illnesses back on them again, unless they change their habits. Even though many people should not risk discontinuing their prescribed medications without the consent of their physicians, they can nonetheless seek and implement safe ways to bolster their physical health.
Be Not Conformed To This World
People who are committed to Jesus are mandated to be different than the general run of the population. God’s Holy Spirit needs a really clean body and mind to reside in, kept clean and healthy by a person who deeply respects and appreciates the Spirit’s presence. People who responsibly take care of all their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs, as best they can, feel so much better and can function better in all their life involvements.
People who are committed to Jesus are mandated to stay separate from “worldliness” – the carnal world that is all around us. The way it is now, the food industries, and pharmaceutical industries, and the medical professions are absolutely filled with corruption, greed, and outright evil. Christians should try to avoid putting themselves in any position which supports evil!!!
We need to be friends of our own selves for God’s sake, for our sakes, for our loved ones’ sakes, and so that we don’t, even inadvertently, contribute to the evil in the world. Besides, living a transformed life, full of love and caring, is the absolutely best life we can live to keep us healthy and bring us joy. As a wise, senior citizen Christian lady of color told me years ago, “It takes more than soap ‘n water to be clean!!
Dr. Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org
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