Every year there seems to be some kind of health craze or new diet fad. Some people are absolutely crazy about their health and eating habits. On some level, Americans could stand to lose a few pounds, myself included.
There has to be a balance between extreme health nuts and people who don’t care about their health. I think most people care, but they don’t know what to do about it. And you’re probably thinking, “Why are we even talking about health on a blog about holiness?”
The Bible addresses issues of health when he calls our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit. This means God cares even about our health, how we treat our bodies as far as health issues are concerned. So I will address issues of bodily holiness and health such as fitness, eating habits, and the daily choices we make about our health.
A Matter of Holiness
We don’t think of health issues as matters of holiness, but the Bible considers them in its holistic approach to holy living. God cares if we are destroying our bodies with our choices. Just because things are possible, like foods that slowly kill us with their unhealthy ingredients, doesn’t mean we should choose them.
I have been paralyzed for seven and a half years. Without the ability to move or exercise, I’ve realized health is more important than ever. Unhealthy choices for me can result in dangerous circumstances I may not be able to reverse.
Beyond our choices affecting our health, God gave us one body. He doesn’t ignore the way we treat our bodies. After all, instead of just speaking them into existence, he formed them from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7).
We can get sick if we don’t treat our bodies well. Even though they are temporary tents, we can hasten the end of our lives with bad choices. We don’t have to go crazy about our health, but we can’t ignore the disastrous results of bad choices.
The Bible talks about wisdom that guides us so we make successful decisions that bring God glory. This happens in every aspect of our lives. Our Western minds want to categorize and compartmentalize every aspect of our lives. But God didn’t create us in parts. He created us as a whole..
In most circumstances, a little bit of exercise won’t kill you. Like anything in life, you can go to an extreme that may kill you. Balance in life brings the ability to get results without killing yourself to do it.
The way we feel about ourselves, and the way we think people see us, matter to us a great deal. I think the first thing we need to realize is that our feelings about ourselves and our image in front of other people matter more to us.
God cares about the way we look if we have abused these vessels he gave us. God made everybody unique and individual. So not everyone is supposed to look the same. We all have different shapes and different body types, and God made us that way.
Some people are more active than others. Some people like to exercise more than others. Exercise is good for the body. It’s like having a regular tune-up of the body that keeps it in shape. The Bible doesn’t prescribe workout routines or tell us how much exercise we need.
But in the Bible without the modern conveniences we have like cars and other forms of travel, most people walked and maintained a good figure because of the routine exercise their bodies regularly received. How much you exercise is between you and God. But the goal is to be healthy more than it is to please other people with how you look.
Aside from exercise, one of the biggest health issues most Americans face today is eating habits. We could blame fast food restaurants, snacks and candy, and a host of other reasons for obesity. But that ignores personal responsibility and choice.
The Bible generally comes down on the side of choices and responsibility. So in every area of our life we must be concerned with the wisdom to make godly choices and take personal responsibility for our decisions.
The Bible doesn’t specifically address eating habits. It talks about what some of the people in the Bible eight, especially those maintained strange diets. John the Baptist ate strange food according to most people (Matthew 3:4). I don’t think I’ve ever entertained the idea of eating wild locusts. I don’t mind honey, but the locusts aren’t on my bucket list of things to try.
The Bible also mentions unusual circumstances, like a king who is so fat that a sword goes the entire way through his body and is swallowed up by his belly (Judges 3:20-22). Kings had the advantage of being able to eat whatever and how much they wanted.
Of the common person survived on a more steady diet, usually consisting of bread, wine, some kind of meat, and fruits and vegetables. They didn’t have fried foods, but I’m sure they had some kind of sweets.
The Bible does address one eating habit, gluttony. Gluttony is a sin in the Bible because it is excessive use of food. Any kind of excessive use borders on the sin if it is not called sin in the Bible.
Debauchery is drinking too much. So the Bible frowns on excessive eating and drinking habits. In the case of debauchery and drunkenness, the substance of alcohol matters as well because it is a mind altering substance.
We could chalk up food choices to what they had around them. We have many more choices today for foods without nutrition, but the choices are the key. They could make bad choices just like we can.
As we talk about eating and diet in the Bible, I will make the same point I did earlier about exercise. We must make the food choices that keep our body in a healthy condition. God is not out to make us look like supermodels. He is concerned that her bodies he created for us are healthy in their function.
When it comes to dieting, some people try the “Daniel fast.” The king of Babylon wanted Daniel and his friends to eat his choice needs and wine. Instead, Daniel countered with having fruits and vegetables and water. This is not a true fast.
A biblical fast is defined as abstaining from food or food and drink. So eating what Daniel ate may be healthy and you may lose weight, but it is not a true fast. It may be more of a dieting measure.
Daniel didn’t do it to lose weight, although it was healthy in its end result. I believe God was with Daniel as he made a choice to not eat the King’s food because it may have been sacrificed to idols. He may have also wanted to prove to the king that trusting in God was more effective than listening to the culture around him.
Whatever his reason for choosing this diet, Daniel had incredibly healthy results from his choice. God can help you become healthy with your eating choices and diet. Habits are also important. The times we eat also affect our bodies in different ways.
The Bible is not concerned with eating habits as much as with God’s plan for salvation throughout human history. So whatever it mentions can be helpful, but is not everything God has to say about our healthy choices.
What you eat is between you and God, but if it is causing you to be unhealthy or even sick, holiness requires we honor God with our bodies by making healthy choices.
Although the Bible doesn’t give us clear-cut answers on how much exercise and what kind of exercise to do or what foods and eating habits to have, it is clear that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we must steward how we treat our bodies.
The important thing is that we do our best to live a healthy lifestyle before the Lord. Most people don’t consider this a big issue, but God cares about our whole lifestyle. It’s not just about sinning against him.
You should address these issues with the Holy Spirit. He will direct you in God’s desires for your bodily health. Everything in our lives matters to God. So it should matter to us. Leave a comment and describe how these matters relate to our walk with God.