What Does the Bible Say About Our Physical Bodies?
I want to live a God-centered life.
I have been realizing over the past few months just how much I need God to be involved in every aspect of my life. Growing up I went to church regularly. I would always make a resolution to read my Bible everyday, pray more, etc. but never make it past a few days of consistency. (This is exactly the conflict Lysa Terkeurst discusses in her book Becoming More).
Although I still strive to be in the Word on a regular basis I don’t treat it like a chore or an obligation. Over the years I have really learned more about the value of God in my life personally. College, marriage and now parenting have taught me more about how much I need God daily. And it is not that we only need Him in times of trouble either. I’m guilty of just coming to Him when I am having a problem. Now, I try to actively come to Him in prayer in the good times as well. I come to His word and journal and just thank Him at times.
Bible-based Physical Wellness Perspective
When I think of how much I have learned and all that is still left to learn I am excited about being on a journey with Him. He has truly brought me this blogging opportunity and I am taking each step knowing it is leading somewhere. God has been leading me to use my current background experience to integrate wellness topics as part of this blog. This is the first post in that thread of new topics.
For this introduction to a God-centered wellness approach I want to first look at what the Bible says about physical health. I want to look at some key verses and help us think more about our physical bodies.
Our Bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit
From the 6 Attributes of God study we looked at 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 when discussing that God dwells within His believers.
… know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:19-20
As Christians we may have heard the phrase that our bodies’ are a temple. I have heard this before and figured that meant to treat it well but never really understood why or what made it a temple exactly.
A temple, in our current definition, is an edifice or place dedicated to the service or worship of a deity
You could spend all day talking about temples of the Bible, and history of temples, and their purposes; but, for this study the main point is that temples are important places. Temples are a dedicated place for service and worship.
We, as believers, accepted Christ into our hearts at some time or another. When that occurred, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us. Therefore, we should consider our bodies as dedicated to serving and worshiping God. God calls us to be disciples and use our testimony to reach lost people. If we are lost in bad habits, addictions, and are experiencing chronic conditions that were preventable, does that make us in the best “shape” to serve Him?
No, we don’t “need” 6-pack abs, or a certain pant size to be in shape, unlike what media would have us believe. But, we do need to be listening to God, and ready to take on our personal mission. I have worked with many people who have let an inactive lifestyle and other habits consume their daily lives. They have so much to do to take care of themselves they are unable to look around for ways to take care of others. On the opposite side of the spectrum we can become way too preoccupied with being in physical shape. Spending too much time working out that it starts negatively affecting other aspects of our lives, including family, and service is still not right either.
We need a healthy balance. We need to look at our current circumstance and focus and talk to God about where He wants us. God uses people in different ways and so we need to be aware of opportunities and also be asking Him for guidance. I know I need His guidance and His viewpoint when I get down on myself comparing myself to a worldly view of a woman and mother. I want to know what God thinks of me.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
As I was saying above, comparing ourselves to a worldly viewpoint will never satisfy us. In this verse from Romans, God tells us to not conform to this world. I love that this verse talks about our physical bodies but also our minds. Our minds play a huge role in who/what we are serving with our thoughts, time, and effort. God tells us that we are called to discipleship. That takes mental effort along with the physical. Our minds need to help keep us on track and we need to feed them His Word and His goodness for renewal and focus.
From a worldly perspective, I find this verse to be difficult in some ways. It may seem like God is asking a lot of us. But truly, with all He sacrificed for us it brings it into perspective. When I was looking at NKJV and CSB for this verse I liked how NKJV emphasized ‘which is your reasonable service’. I think this clarifies that this isn’t much to ask of us. Even though in this world it is tough to be different and going against the grain in a lot of situations-that’s what we need to do.
I know I struggle with pleasing people at times rather than God and this is a huge area where I could improve. I like this verse and the hope it has for renewal and for us to be aligned with His perfect will.
Going along with the discussion of balance and worldliness above, is some perspective on where physical training belongs in our lives.
For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of a life that now is, and of that which is to come. I Timothy 4:8
Well, this is certainly not exactly what I tell patients in the clinic. Usually, I am giving a big emphasis on physical exercise. Merely because it does treat and help so many things and can relieve pain, improve chronic conditions, etc. (that lecture can wait another day…). However, in all seriousness, I think this is another verse that truly provides some healthy perspective. Again, through studying the attributes of God it became a little more clear just what kind of scale God works on. He is perfection of all traits He has and knows every detail about us. So when we consider that scale, obviously physical exercise has a role for our worldly bodies and can help us be in a place to serve Him better with our abilities; but, it is not the most important thing.
If we only focus on the outcome of strength, endurance, or attractiveness we miss the point entirely. These earthly bodies will fade away but our relationship with God is most important. A strong relationship with God is the foundation in all our other relationships and endeavors. We can set goals of course, but we need God to be our focus. Praying, worshiping Him, living out His characteristics as much as possible is what gives our lives true purpose. Our physical health is important, but above all is Him. If we want to serve Him better we need to know Him better.
Lord, I lift up my fellow Christians who are joining me today. I pray for them to let these words of yours to just resonate with them. We can easily struggle in this world of sin and misplaced values and ideas of importance. I pray that we can be physically and mentally healthy in your name. That you would give us Your hope for a renewal of ourselves. I pray that we would seek the right choices and glorify You with our physical health. Thank you Lord for Your teachings and Your presence with us.
What I’ve Learned and Some Questions for You!
God uses all of us in different ways and even when we fall (as we all do) He is able to use those experiences for good.What I am writing now is easy to say and harder to live, I know that. I know that in the past I have struggled to meet weight loss goals, unrealistic expectations of beauty, etc. because I wasn’t focused on the right thing. It’s a struggle to deal with a mindset that if a, b, and c occur I will have more friends, be better-looking, have self-confidence, be happier, have it all together….blah blah blah.
I have had to learn to live in the moment better and bring my mindset to a higher cause. God has used me in places I didn’t expect to be in and I honestly never thought I would be writing online and sharing my story this intimately. But, here I am.
I hope this has given you some food for thought. I’ve included a few more verses to think about as well and a few questions.
Thanks for joining me today!
Don’t you know that runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 CSB
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you… Jeremiah 1:5
Have you been thinking of what it means to live a God-centered life?
What have you been doing lately to bring Him into your everyday?
What are the ways you take care of yourself?
Would love to hear from you in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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