Although we have more information about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness than ever before, and add to that the many opportunities to pursue healthy practices (life groups, videos, gyms, classes, athletics…) the U.S. ranks #35 in the world when it comes to physical health. 69% of Americans are overweight or obese; the number of overweight adolescents has tripled in the past 15 years; heart disease and diabetes have become pandemic, primarily due to obesity. 30 million Americans struggle with anorexia and/or bulimia. On average, children ages 8-18 spend 7½ hours per day viewing a screen (video game, TV, phone, computer). 1 of 3 children is considered physically inactive. 23 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Even with all the information and options available, too many people turn a blind eye to the facts regarding their body’s health and well-being. Every body ends up somewhere, but few bodies end up somewhere on purpose. Every area of life has an impact on all the other areas. When we are not good stewards of our bodies, it can affect our finances, relationships and vocation. It can even hinder us from doing what God created us to do. We only get one shot with our one and only body.
Scriptures – Pr 29:18; Ec 4:9-10; Mk 2:17,14:38; Ro 7:19, 24-25, 8:1; 1 Co 6:12, 19-20; Eph 5:29-30; 1 Th 5:23; 1 Ti 4:8
Verses – Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Pr 29:18) I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway… (Ro 7:19) Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Co 6:19-20)
Why do we so often try but fail to get our bodies in line with what we know if good, healthy and beneficial? As Paul shares his struggles in Romans 7, we see the truth—in and of ourselves we do not have the power to conquer the desires of our body. We need help. That help is available when the Holy Spirit lives within us. When we accept Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit is given to us. He can and will provide the strength to overcome our body’s desire for the wrong things. In cooperation with the Spirit, we must determine to care for our bodies by utilizing what is available to us. Get a regular check up. Seek medical help when you need to. Exercise regularly; this is a discipline that yields great benefits. Find something you enjoy doing that accomplishes your exercise goals. Be honest about your present state. If you have an addiction to alcohol, drugs or any other thing that is keeping you for the fullness of life God desires, get professional help. There are help groups, counselors, psychologists, and many tools to assist you in your journey. Remember the Holy Spirit is on your side. He dwells within Christ-followers. You were bought at a price. Show your thankfulness for that purchase by honoring your body. Ask a Christian friend to stand beside you for prayer, encouragement and accountability. Plan now so that your body ends up somewhere on purpose in God-honoring condition.
Are there things you could do to improve your health? What are your greatest struggles? (diet, exercise, sleep deprivation, stress) Discuss Ro 7:19. How do you identify with Paul’s struggle? Where is the happy, and God-honoring middle ground between being a health fanatic and being unconcerned about your body? Reflect on 1 Co 6:19-20. How many things can you think of that involve honoring God with your body? In what areas are you doing well? In what areas do you need a plan for improvement? What do you visualize when you think of your body being the temple of the Holy Spirit?
Response – List the ways you should honor God with your body. Rate yourself if each area. Choose an area that needs improvement. Determine the steps you will take to improve in that area. Ask a friend to hold you accountable. Monitor your progress weekly. Keep moving forward with God’s help area by area.
Prayer – Lord God, help me to care for and honor the amazing body you have given me. Help me to keep this temple of the Holy Spirit clean and healthy for use in your divine plan. Strengthen me so that I hold true to what I know to be good and right. Don’t allow temptation and the struggles of the flesh to drag me down and keep me from the fullness of life you want for me. In Jesus Holy Name I pray, Amen.