Have you ever been told that your physical health isn’t really that important and you should just focus on the spiritual instead? I’ve never been told this explicitly but it’s often been implied. Many Christians elevate what we consider to be spiritual and minimize what seems to be physical. But what if I told you that it all matters and serves to glorify God?
Everything we do reveals the condition of our hearts. Yes, even the things we choose to eat and drink can say a lot about how we honor God. If it matters to be disciplined about reading the Bible and praying, it matters to stay healthy.
Does God want us to be healthy?
I don’t believe that God is calling all of us to perfect health. That isn’t the goal. But we have all been given living, breathing bodies. Our bodies are gifts from God. We wouldn’t trash a precious gift from a good friend, would we? So, in the same way, we don’t trash our bodies.
God is calling us to do our best with the gift he has given us. Some of us are given near perfect health and others have health challenges. No matter where you are, steward this gift well.
In the parable of the talents, a man trusted his property to a few of his servants. He gave each servant talents according to his ability. All were supposed to go out and double what their master gave them. However, the servant who received one talent buried it instead. When the master came back, he rewarded the first two servants who received five and two talents. He took away the one talent from the servant who hid his money.
What was the problem? The ungrateful servant looked at what everyone else was given and felt like he didn’t have enough. So instead of multiplying what he had, he hid it.
Likewise, God has given us our health among many other gifts. We are called to steward all the gifts well even if we don’t have exactly what we’d like.
So, yes, God wants us to be healthy. Steward the gift of health he has given you as unto the Lord.
Related: Dear Christian, Your Healthy Habits Won’t Free You (ft. Bailey DeHaven)
What does the Bible say about healthy living?
The Bible has a lot to say about healthy living and how our health can honor God. Again, all the gifts God has given us are meant to honor him. So, we can and should honor him with our bodies. Here are a few Bible verses about health and wellness.
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.3 John 1:2 ESV
for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.1 Timothy 4:8 ESV
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 ESV
(This verse speaks particularly about sexual immorality but the principle is the same that our bodies should be valued as holy unto God.)
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.Genesis 1:29 ESV
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV
Related: 9 Easy Ways to Actually Maintain a Healthier Lifestyle this Year
4 Reasons Christians Should Care About Their Physical Health
It honors God
Ultimately, our lives are meant to honor and glorify God. Getting up each morning and choosing wholesome food to eat, exercising, and taking care of our mental health honors God. As Christians, the Holy Spirit dwells within our bodies. If we prioritize our health, we create a comfortable space for the Spirit to live and work within us. God cares about his temple and it’s our duty to care about it too.
It positions us to live out our calling
Let’s think practically for a second. If we’re always tired and sick, we may have trouble doing the things God is calling us to do. However, if we’re healthy, we have the physical energy to do the spiritual work he wants us to do. Proverbs 31 speaks of a woman who did much for her home and her community. God gave her the strength to do all of this and he used her health as one of the means to help her serve well. Now, I want to emphasize again that all of us won’t have perfect physical health. This doesn’t mean that you can’t live out your calling. Remember that God gives gifts according to the measure of grace. If you have health challenges, God has still given you the grace to recognize where you are, own it, and do what you can with what you do have.
We’ll have the strength to serve others
This goes hand in hand with my previous point. Our lives are not just for ourselves. We were created to serve and love others. Our physical health empowers us to serve others well. For example, we might be gifted with the ability to walk — and we might take it for granted but it really is a gift. There are people within our communities who cannot walk. We can use our healthy legs to go to the grocery store and help them with their shopping or take them to places they couldn’t otherwise go on their own. But if we squander our health, we might find ourselves in a compromised position, unable to serve others.
This is the only body we have
Finally, this is the only body we have. We do not get another one. Scarcity is usually enough to make something valuable. Things that cannot be replaced are valuable. Our bodies cannot be replaced. Treat it well and give thanks to God for this beautiful gift.
As Christians, our number one priority is to honor God. We respect our bodies because it comes from God. We should not elevate our bodies over serving God – instead we should serve God with our bodies. Our bodies aren’t minor or secondary to our spirituality. All parts of our entire being are important. May we value all that God has given us and steward it well.
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