For the next 4-5 weeks, Luminaries Retreat is going to be featuring guest blog writers on a wide variety of topics pertaining to health and wellness, fitness, weight-loss stories, and personal stories of amazing athletic endurance events - to provide a spark toward wellness for you! We hope to challenge your thinking in one or several areas and you may or may not agree with all the various opinions expressed, which is fine, just keep an open mind!
First up is Pastor Mark Barlow from Grace Church in Osceola, WI providing a thought-provoking view on what the Bible has to say about our physical bodies and our health.
Throughout the Bible God displays his concern for what we eat. His desire for our eating habits never take precedence over his care for our spiritual well-being, but they are often linked in the Bible.
Since creation, God has shown care for what his people consume. After creating Adam and Eve, God provided good food for them. Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Nothing was processed or packaged, just whole foods from the Earth, and God called them good.
In Leviticus 11, God speaks to Moses to relay his laws to his people about what foods are good for them to eat and which foods they are to avoid. The Lord cares in great detail about the foods his people consume, making sure that his laws provided his people with the healthiest options and keeping them from eating foods that did not suit their physical needs.
In 1 Timothy 4:8, the apostle Paul tells Timothy, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds the promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” As Paul compares our physical condition to the condition of our souls, he is telling us that training in spiritual matters holds two values. One, it holds a promise for our current life on this earth. Two, it holds a promise for our future life to come, our eternal life.
Paul’s comparison reveals that the condition of your body holds most value here on this earth, during this lifetime. But does that mean that how we treat our bodies doesn’t have an impact on our spiritual life or eternal life? I don’t think so. As we treat our bodies with care and with excellence through healthy eating and physical exercise, we are practicing self-control and good stewardship or management of the body that God gave us.
There is more to healthy eating and exercise than simply looking good and feeling good. There is a spiritual aspect in which our outward care for our bodies reflects the inward care we have for spiritual matter and our desire to serve God with our bodies. God’s concern is not that you eat healthy so that you would like what you see in the mirror (although he does want you to be satisfied with your created body that he made specifically for you to use in his honor). God’s primary concern for how you treat your body is that you would use it in a way that best reflects his glory and his image.
Therefore, God cares about what you put in your body. God cares about what you do with your body. God cares that you treat your body as a temple, the temple in which Christ dwells (Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God cares most deeply for your spiritual well-being, but too often we separate our spiritual well-being from our physical well-being.
Our physical well-being is a reflection of some of our internal spiritual conditions. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Though Jesus is referring to the intentions of the heart being revealed in speech, the principle
applies to our actions as well, not just our speech. What is going on internally and spiritually will be reflected outwardly through your body and actions.
So I encourage you this one very important aspect to your spiritual life. Take care of your body by eating healthy foods and exercising. Healthy living is not a fad, it is a reflection of a stronger spiritual activity going on inside you. So bolster up your spiritual walk with God through time in his word and prayer to build up the strength to reflect God in your body through healthy life choices concerning food. If you do this, you will be better prepared to serve God, his creation and his people.
copyright 2016 Luminaries Retreat, courtesy Pastor Mark Barlow