This Bible verse is on my heart today:
“1 The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: 2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth [that is] in you, just as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church.” 3 John 1: 1-6
I know there’s a lot of health and wealth prosperity teaching out there, but this is not going to be that. I don’t believe that we can just say the words and “Poof” we’re healthy, wealthy, and wise. I do believe, however, in wisdom that leads to knowledge and that knowledge leads to walking in a way that fully pleases the Lord. We are called to walk worthy of the Lord. Are we walking in a way that brings about spiritual and physical health, so that we are able to love others effectively?
[Colossians 1:9 NKJV] “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
[Colossians 1:10 NKJV] “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [Him], being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
I know that in this season, even as I write this blog post, this is an area that challenges me daily. I am not walking worthy and using the knowledge the Lord has given me to be fruitful. Every word I write, I’m writing to myself tonight.
Ever since I became a Christian, the overall health of the body of Christ has bothered me. We are, in many cases, too sick to be the hands and feet of Jesus because we’re more focused on getting well, having indulged and made our god our belly, rather than looking to eat what is needed so that we have the energy and health to be able to serve and meet the needs of others.
As a society, we have more food options than ever, between grocery stores on every corner and restaurants in every city. This has made us healthy in one respect, because malnutrition from a lack of healthy foods isn’t an excuse for the general population. But now we’re dealing with a whole new set of health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. Recent research shows evidence that, despite spending more on health care, Americans live shorter lives and have poorer health than other people in high-income nations. Read more here.
What can we do about it? What can I do about it for myself? Several things, each of which would take several blogs to really do the topic justice. But, to just list a few:
- Sleep more
- Get enough exercise
- Drink clean water
- Healthy Digestion
- Eliminate individual exposure to toxins (cleaners, personal care products, food additives, etc.)
- Healthy, whole foods-based diet
- Eliminate stress
I only listed those that we have direct control over. I will be talking more about each of these in upcoming blogs. In the meantime, consider reading up on these topics by getting a book from your local library on the topic.
For example, I really like a book by Rex Russell, MD, called “What the Bible says about Healthy Living” because he really gets into the hows and whys of what to eat, including information about how to eat a healthy, balanced diet with whole grains, healthy fats, and the right meats. It’s an easy read and gives a lot of updated scientific support for the recommendations in the book. When was the last time you heard a physician talk to you about how to eat for your health? They usually just give you a prescription and send you on your way. But Dr. Russell is sitting down with you in this book to explain how diet plays a major role in our health.
One of the major themes in his book is his “Three Principles.” Principle I: Eat the foods God created for you. He delves into the Bible and lists all the things “that Scripture guarantees are designed for health and that may be enjoyed.” We’re not getting into a theological debate about Peter’s vision in Acts chapter 10. Dr. Russell is simply listing what God’s instruction book for living, the Bible, listed as things He recommended for food.
Principle II: Don’t alter God’s design. He created our body, he created the grasses, the trees, the birds, the animals, everything. Does he know what our body, that he created, needs for fuel? Of course, we just need to listen to him. When we think we can “make it better” or improve upon His idea, we often find ourselves actually making it worse. For simplicity sake, as much as possible, eat foods as God’s word designed them, before being changed into something we thinks is better. And yes, cooking certain foods is part of the design.
Principle III: Don’t let any food or drink become your god. In this chapter he discusses the potential for fasting to be an effective means to bring about healing. The practice of fasting is observed in many cultures, both for religious and health purposes and there are many health benefits documented to result from fasting. One of the newest fads in the Christian community is the Daniel Fast. Just about any Bible book store will have several books on this topic. It’s worth a try!
If you have a health problem and don’t know where to start, my naturopath suggests a few easy things. Start with your diet and this book lays out what that should look like. Then make sure you’re getting adequate sleep and exercise. Fourth, consider your gut! I’ll be writing a book review about a book that addresses gut health in an upcoming blog post.
Until then, my prayer for you is that you would prosper in all things and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.