This article is by Nelson Searcy and published by AACC
How do you feel today? Do you feel healthy? Strong and energetic? How are you doing spiritually? Are you walking in a deep relationship with God? How are you emotionally and mentally? Are you living the full life God has in store for you, or is that life being sidetracked by poor health in a specific area?
Health issues have become a common stumbling block to living the abundant life God intends. Too many of the people filling American churches every weekend are not able to experience life to the fullest because they are struggling with their physical bodies, minds and emotions, and daily relationships with God. They are low on energy, short on time, dealing with chronic health issues, and relationally strained. Can you relate?
Scripture teaches that when you committed yourself to Jesus, you became a new creation fully and completely (2 Corinthians 5:17). That newness applies not only spiritually, but also to every area of your health and well-being. God cares immensely about your physical, emotional, and mental health, as well. And He has a plan for helping you walk fully in the newness He offers.
When you cooperate with God to create physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health in your life, you are set free to live the life in which you were created. To get started on this path, choose to embrace the following three, key commitments of biblical wellness:
- Surrender your health to God.
- Stop making excuses.
- Start taking small steps toward change.
Surrender Your Health to God
Your body was not created for your own gratification; it was designed for God’s glory. However, if you are like most people, you treat your body as if it is yours to do with as you please. I know I am guilty… but the reality is our bodies were made both by God and for God.
According to Paul, “[Our bodies] were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:13, NLT). If God cares for your body, doesn’t that mean you should care for your body, as well? Too often, we use God as an excuse for letting our health slide. We run our bodies down, fill them with disease-causing foods, let them atrophy from lack of movement, and then blame it on God’s will when we get sick. We fill our minds with toxic thoughts, neglect healthy relationships with others, fail to engage regularly with God, and then get angry with Him when we wind up lonely and anxious.
Pursuing health is a way to honor God. His sovereignty is not an excuse to live any old way we want because He is going to work it out in the end; instead, He is the beacon calling us to live in a way that shines His excellence. Doing our part to keep ourselves in good health is truly an act of stewardship.
No matter what kind of health you are in at this very moment, it is not too late to surrender your body and every area of your well-being to God. Only then, working from the foundational understanding that your body is not your own but His, can you forge ahead into the complete health He wants you to enjoy. Here’s a prayer to help you get started:
Dear God, I know you made me. You created my body, my mind, and my spirit. You created me for your glory. I am sorry for the ways I have mistreated myself in the past. I’m sorry for my poor health choices. I give my path to health and wholeness to you. Please walk it with me. Keep me focused on your truth. Thank you for creating me to live an abundant life, to do good work, and to love others well all my days. I surrender every aspect of my health to you now. Amen.
Stop Making Excuses
“I don’t have time to work out.” “Since God is in control, He will take care of my body.” “I have an issue that makes losing weight impossible.” “I don’t like the taste of healthy foods.” The excuses that fill our minds make us believe we are at the mercy of things beyond our control. But usually, we aren’t. No matter how much we try to outrun it, we cannot get away from the truth so clearly levied in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
Sowing good seeds looks a lot like taking responsibility for your life. It resembles taking a hard look at where you are and where you want to be, and then deciding to bridge the gap. It is intentionally refusing to make excuses and choosing instead to make choices that lead to the life you want to be living.
Excuses are simply a byproduct of a wrong focus. They come from focusing on obstacles to a healthy lifestyle rather than the benefits of good health. Instead of dwelling on how hard it will be to get fit, shift your attention to all the ways being healthy will transform your life for the better. Make a list. Here are three of the best benefits to help get you started.
- Good health will help you make the most of your life. God went to such great lengths to design the details of your body, mind, and soul. Don’t you want to take full advantage of what He can do through them while you are alive?
- Good health will help you feel better and be more productive each day. When your health is on track, you will have more energy. You will have fewer aches and pains. Your mind will be clearer. You will be less stressed. In short, you will be better positioned to live the life in which you were created.
- Good health will give you a new opportunity to worship God. Since your body is the walking, breathing temple of God, taking care of yourself well is a form of worship. Intentional good health brings God glory.
What is the biggest excuse you make for why you are not where you want to be at this point in your life? Be honest with yourself. When you know what it is, re- fuse to make that excuse anymore. If you find it creeping into your mind, stop the thought and replace it with the following: God is able to do a great work in me!
Start Taking Small Steps Toward Change
Small steps are the key to transitioning from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one. Do not think you have to undergo an instant extreme makeover. Just focus on small improvements every day, every week, and every month. Over time, you will be amazed at the cumulative effect of your small efforts.
To get started, tell someone you trust that you have decided to change your health for the better. Ask that person to hold you accountable, and then decide to implement one small step in each of the following four health categories over the next week. The following week, add something else. For example:
Physical. Start your day with 16 ounces of room temperature water before you pick up that first cup of coffee.
Spiritual. Set an hourly reminder on your phone to re-center your thoughts on Jesus and spend a few minutes in prayer.
Emotional. Before falling asleep, make a mental list of the things that went well in your life today.
Mental. Commit to memorizing a new Scripture verse. Write it down and tape it to your bathroom mirror. I suggest starting with Philippians 4:8.
What if you could take small steps that would improve your health by just 10% over the next six months? What if you could improve it by 10% more the following six? You would be 20% healthier this time next year than you are right now. If you could do that again the following year, you would be 40% healthier two years from now. Small changes to your everyday lifestyle can get you there. Are you ready to be who you have always wanted? More importantly, to be who God wants you to be? Choose to nurture the strength, vitality, and opportunity God has provided. Choose to be intentional about living a healthier life for His glory. Choose to walk fully as the new creation God made you when you gave yourself to Him. As you do, He will be able to do more in you and through you than you have ever imagined.