WHAT ABOUT HEALTH?
Life is meant to be filled with happiness, friends, and accomplishments. To go through it half alive is not really living. Life is to be celebrated and filled with good times, good music, beauty, and action.
But to get the most out of life we need good health, responsive muscles, and a sharp, aware mind. How we prize these things! How we love to feel the mind and body working perfectly together! We love to have great accomplishments on the athletic field, in the swimming pool, at work, and at study. To be able to run through life and to be able to use our strength and mind to the full is our constant desire.
But there are times for most of us when the body breaks down. The mind seems to slow and forget. Often we don't realize how important good health is until we've lost it. Then we'd give up almost anything to regain the strong muscles, coordinated body, and quick mind. Can you keep your health and happiness all of your life? What can you do to regain a sharp mind and an alert, responsive body?
God fits right into those questions. His Word, the Bible, has something very important to say about how we can keep our minds and bodies in top shape. As you study the Bible, you will discover that God is deeply concerned about your mind, health, and body. You will discover God's guidelines for better health and a sharper mind.
To get a clearer picture of God's concern for us both spiritually and physically, we must look at Jesus. He was God in human form. Jesus said of himself, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." (John 14:9) Jesus of Nazareth was a riddle to the people of his day. He just didn't behave like the Messiah they had expected. Instead of working to overthrow the Roman government and establish Israel as the world power, he set about healing the bodies and minds of people, even the poor, common people: the tax collectors, the sick, the children, the people of the streets. He often spent more time in healing than in preaching. As the Bible says, "Jesus. . .saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." (Matthew 14:14)
Jesus knew how to make a man whole, for he had made man in the beginning. The Bible tells us, "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:3) "All things" includes even the universe, for ". . .he made the worlds," the Bible says of Jesus. (Hebrews 1:2) He wants us to be whole--healed in both body and mind. But some effort must be made on our part. In order to walk in the way of health and wisdom, we must cooperate with the laws of health and well-being that he has given us.
The apostle Paul knew that too, for he wrote: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galatians 6:7) We can't cheat the laws of nature and expect to get away with it. When we disobey the laws of health, we must reap a breakdown in health. When we follow the laws of health, we can expect better health. Nor is it safe to go against the laws of health and then expect God to keep us healthy through a miracle or two. We cannot honestly ask him to heal us from disease if we continue living contrary to his laws of health.
Owning a new car is a similar experience. In the glove compartment you will find an operator's manual and a warranty booklet. The manual will tell you how to best operate and take care of your car. But you decide the car is yours, and you can do as you wish with it. You throw the manual away. You don't put in the right kind of gas. You drive like a mad man. You forget about changing the oil and checking the tires and battery. Of course you know that eventually you will have to pay for this neglect in increased repair bills, because that is the penalty you pay for not following the manual.
Too many of us continually neglect our bodies and minds even more than we do our cars. For some reason we think we can abuse our bodies, and they will somehow bounce right back to perfect health. We also think we can fill our minds with almost anything and not suffer the consequences. But eventually abuse will mean collapse, and our bodies and minds will weaken and break down.
The apostle Paul gave us the best principle to follow in living healthfully. He said, "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?" (1 Corinthians 6:19) Paul tells us that we cannot live unto ourselves. We must not neglect our bodies and minds, for God through the Holy Spirit lives in us. We are God's temple, his church. This is true, because "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:20)
The best broad principle of health you can follow is to live for God's glory because God loves you so much that he has saved you from the power of sin and eternal death. You as a Christian have become God's dwelling place. With God's spirit within you, you can live a life of continual growth and righteousness. Again, this is how the apostle Paul stated it: "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." (Romans 12:1)
Jesus knows that complete healing of body and mind can happen only one way--you must give yourself completely to him. You must not cling to a single habit that would destroy your mindor body. You must not hold back any part of your life from him. You must give up things like intemperance in eating, body-destroying habits like smoking and drinking, and mind destroying habits like gossiping, degrading reading, and questionable entertainment.
Jesus wants you to be whole, and he will help you start toward wholeness. You can come to him right now, no matter where you are, no matter what your habits are. Ask for his help to overcome the things that destroy you and are tearing down the temple he wants to build in your life. Only through his power within you can you effectively overcome the sins and habits that bind you and weaken your mind and body.
Christianity is more than just a new philosophy, a way of thinking, or a set of beliefs. Christianity is the most practical, reasonable religion in all the world. The whole person is changed: his way of thinking and living, his actions and thoughts. Because you are important, and because you love God and want to follow him, you naturally want to take the best care of your body and mind. But where do you find the power to change? Where can you find the transforming power to be your best?
The answer at first might seem too simple. The answer is found in the power of love. Love for your Savior will produce in you a deep commitment to do what he asks of you. You will want to pay him honor in all that you do. As the Bible says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) As you place your life in God's hands, you will find power to become the person he wants you to be--the kind of person you were meant to be.
Complete surrender to God will bring you joy and fulfillment you never dreamed possible. As you walk with God everyday, you will have an ever-growing rich experience in life. With joy and enthusiasm you will say as the apostle Paul said: "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me!" (Galatians 2:20 TEV) Jesus is the grandest victor of all time. He conquered sin. He conquered disease. He conquered death. Through his life in you, you will conquer all these, too.
You have been given new life through God's supreme gift--his Son. "I have redeemed thee," God tells you. "I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." (Isaiah 43:1) This verse tells us that we do not belong to ourselves. We belong to the one who has redeemed us. First, we are the property of God because he created us. Second, we are his again by redemption. Man lives today because of what God has done--because of his love.
As one Christian writer put it: "All things come of God. We have nothing that we have not received; and, more than this, we have nothing that has not been purchased for us by the blood of Christ. Everything we possess comes to us stamped with the cross, bought with the blood that isprecious above all estimate, because it is the life of God." (Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p. 66)
Think of it, friend! We have life today because Christ gave his life on the cross. "And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy-- the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?" (Romans 12:1 LB)
To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of his broken body. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. The water we drink is bought with his spilled blood. The cross of Calvary is reflected in every water spring. As we think about these things, we begin to see more clearly how good health fits into our Christian faith.
God wants us to live according to the best laws for physical and spiritual health for several reasons. First, because we love God, we will want to obey him. As Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) Second, obedience to his laws will bring us better health and a fuller life. The apostle John stated God's wish for us when he wrote, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)
The third reason is one of service. Jesus showed us how much God loves us, but in doing so he also showed us how to love others. He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you." (John 13:34) In order to love others and to help them we should try to be in the best physical and mental health possible. Loving and helping others is hard when we ourselves are weak or prone to get easily irritated and discouraged.
Friend will you determine now to walk on the road to health and wisdom? Will you let God fully into your life so he can heal your mind and body? Then look upon Jesus and have your sins taken away. The Bible says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
As you look at Jesus and think about what he has done for you, you will find a growing desire and power to follow him. As you look at Jesus and more fully comprehend that his death on the cross made your life possible, your love for him will grow. How important you are to God the Father and Jesus his Son! How utterly beyond price! No wonder God wants you to be in the best of physical and mental health! He wants to have the deepest, most meaningful relationship possible with you--a relationship based on love, respect, and trust.
Won't you pray with me just now? Father, I want to have a deep and lasting relationship with you and your Son. I want to live a better, more fulfilling life by following your laws for health. Please give me the power to do just that, in the wonderful name of Jesus, Amen.
FURTHER STUDY: Leviticus 11:1-47 Isaiah 66:15-17