With the start of another year, I face the opportunity to make healthier choices than I made in previous years. From what I am feeling—and seeing on my bathroom scale—I know I have to. If you’re like me, the delicious snacks and extra helpings this holiday season did not work in our favor.
So I face the reality that God gave me only one body. It is my responsibility to keep it in the best shape possible to fulfill the mission and purpose God has for me. Yes, an occasional illness or a serious disease may ambush me. But my accountability as a steward of God’s resources encourages me to nourish and cherish my body, just as the Lord does the church (Ephesians 5:29).
Older, Maybe – More Mature, Hopefully
I’m also growing more aware of the unforgiving effects of the pressures of life, ever-increasing age, and pull of gravity. The graying or receding hairline. Wrinkles and varicose veins. Muscles losing their youthful shape and tone. Declining stamina. Chronic or potentially terminal illnesses that require every ounce of resolve to overcome.
But, hallelujah, I have God’s glorious promise that I will one day exchange my weakening physical body for a glorified, renewed, and transformed body in heaven. Until such time, my charge is to take care of this earthly vessel.
I’ve come to realize my body is the temporary physical address where my spirit, mind, and soul reside. I use it to worship God, serve God, and interact with other people. My tangible, temporal body enables my intangible, eternal spirit, mind, and soul to express themselves and experience earthly life. Though my physical body may be “wasting away,” yet inwardly I am renewed every day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
See, our bodies belong to God and He wants us to use them to honor Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Over the years, I’ve heard some people say they can act as they wish since they own their bodies. (e.g., unhealthy choices, assisted suicide, abortion, drug use, etc.). But the reality is, we don’t own our bodies—they’re more like lifetime rentals. My earthly body is the temporary, earthly vehicle I use as the hands and feet of Jesus. What I own is the personal accountability for how I use it.
Now comes the hard part of balancing the abundant life Jesus came to give while also battling my earthly desires and my aggressive enemy.
Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10), not just eternally, but also presently. Of course, that abundance doesn’t imply the accumulation of everything our hearts desire. It is a satisfied, overflowing, and blessed life that requires balanced attention, development, and commitment—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. My responsibility is to avoid anything that restricts or harms my well-being while also maintaining healthy habits—yes, even when I don’t feel like it.
In addition, we have an enemy who wants to defeat us. God warns us that the devil actively and aggressively looks for someone to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Satan doesn’t limit his assault to just our spiritual aspect. He also attacks our minds, emotions, and bodies. If he can derail us from our life purposes through clouded minds, unstable emotions, or poor physical health, he will try.
What Can We Do?
Commit to physical health and well-being. Take care of the body God gave you. Maintain a healthy diet. Join a gym or a cycling team. Take an aerobics class. Plan a mountain hiking/biking vacation. Partner with your medical professional. Stay active, eat healthy, get periodic medical exams, and maintain overall physical wellness.
Commit to spiritual health and well-being. Take care of the spirit God gave you. Grow in grace and in His knowledge. Spend time daily in His Word, separating yourself from all distractions while listening quietly for His whisper. Join, serve, and worship at a local church. Put on the whole armor of God and align your lifestyle with His moral standard.
Commit to mental health and well-being. Take care of the mind God gave you. Along with daily Scripture reading, read something new every day. Learn a new hobby, skill, or language. Join a debate club. Find out what you believe and why you believe it.
Commit to emotional health and well-being. Take care of the soul God gave you. Find your affirmation in who God says you are. Accept His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Engage those who inspire, encourage, and mentor while avoiding the gossips, discouragers, and truth-stretchers.
Here’s to an awesome year, a healthy lifetime, and a lasting legacy!
Some concepts excerpted from my book, Matched 4 Life.