Living well – BODY, mind & soul

Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  Mark 12 v 30

This means that our love for God and our worship of Him is a whole life pursuit and activity.  Worship involves body, mind and spirit.

Therefore, at the start of another year, it seems appropriate to consider what it means for us, as Christians, to live well in body, mind and spirit.

Let’s start with the body, and our physical health, which is probably a good place to start having just come through a season of festivities and feasting over the Christmas holidays.

I want to offer 3Biblical motivations that lay a foundation for our physical health and then 3 Practical considerationsthat will help us live well physically.

3 Biblical motivations:

1. Your body is a gift – so be thankful.

Think about this:  Psalm 139 v 13-14(The Message) ‘Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvellously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation!’ 

Your body is not the result of some chance cosmic accident, but it is the gift of a loving and good creator.  If we recognise that our body is a gift then we will look after it and express our gratitude by treating God’s gift in an appropriate way that demonstrates the value that we place on the gift we have been given.

2. Your body is a temple – so be honourable with it.

‘Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 honour God with your body.’  1 Cor 6 v 19-20 

Is what we are doing and how we are living helping the Holy Spirit feel at home within us?   This obviously applies to our holiness, but does it not also apply to our health, and the way we look after ourselves physically?

Sometimes what we need first is physical care and attention and not spiritual input.  Sometimes the answer is not to pray more, but to get some sleep.  Sometimes the answer is not deliverance but a change of routine and diet?  Your body is a temple so be honourable with it.

3. Your body is the Lords – so be mindful of how He wants to use it.

‘For none of us lives to himself alone, and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.’  Romans 14 v 7-8

We don’t just get to do what we want with our lives, which includes our bodies, but all that we do needs to be inline with what Christ desires, which can be summed up as loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbour as ourselves.

Therefore your health matters, it matters to God, it matters to me, it matters to others.  We are not our own.  Can you honestly say, before God, that you are being mindful of the way you’re looking after you’re body so that it can be of best use in His continued service.  That’s a question we should all regularly ask.

So, 3 Biblical principles to undergird our approach to our bodies and our physical health; It’s a gift, be thankful, its a temple, be honourable, it belongs to the Lord, so be mindful.

Now let’s consider;

3 Practical considerations for being good stewards of our bodies.

What we need is not temporary resolve or a quick fix solution or a burst of effort and energy, but rather we need to develop healthy rhythm’s in life that honour the body in sustainable ways.  What practical things do we need to consider in establishing good rhythm for the sake of our physical health?

1. Eating

‘So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10 v 31)

Eating and drinking in a way that pays no attention to our physical health is not eating and drinking to the glory of God.  We shouldn’t be indifferent to the harmful effects that food and drink, especially too much of the wrong food or drink, can have on our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit.  What we put in our bodies does matter, and we should seek a healthy and balanced diet, because that honours the body that God has given to us.

We should think regularly about what we’re eating and drinking and make it part of our worship.

2. Exercising

Paul said to Timothy; ‘Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’(1 Timothy 4 v 8)

What this verse tells us is, that physical training, although it may not be the most important thing, it certainly has some value and therefore we can’t just ignore it.

We need to understand the link between our physical health and our mental, emotional and spiritual health.  Physical exercise releases happy chemicals (endorphins) that although may not feel that happy during the activity itself, are actually being released and contribute to a lift in your energy and well being levels.  It sounds strange but you get more energised by regularly exerting more physical energy.  So the goal is simply to get moving more.  Little and often.  Start from where you are and find ways of doing more physical activity.  It might be that you simply just need to walk more.

3. Escaping 

That’s just another way of saying retreat and rest.  Using the letter ‘E’ to help you remember; Eat, Exercise, Escape.  

Escape the rat race, escape the pressures of work, escape the constant demand to be available, escape the continual distractions of technology, escape the feeling that you are somehow indispensable and that if you stop the world will collapse?  It won’t, but until you escape it, you’ll keep believing that you cant afford to stop and rest and retreat.

We need to rest and retreat well.  That means paying attention to our sleep and also to the sabbath.  Not in a legalistic way, but in a way that acknowledges God’s good design for the creatures He has made.  He knows what we need and what is good for us.  And that includes a sensible pattern of daily sleep and a healthy pattern of weekly rest.  Both of these things, sleep and sabbath are Gods idea not mans, and when we align with God’s design we reap God’s blessing.

All this is from God and all this is for God, that our lives and our bodies may be used to bring Him glory, and that we may live well in 2017 and beyond.

Post by: Martin Coleman