The second half of life can be such an exciting time. Many of us have more freedom, time and finances to focus on the things that really matter. Some have discovered our Ephesians 2:10 Calling (the good works God prepared in advance for us to do) and we are doing work that brings meaning and excitement to our everyday lives. For others, we are able to focus on the relationships that matter most to us—kids, spouse, grandkids, friends. We want to finish well and we know that means making time for the things that matter to God.
But what if tomorrow you have a heart attack? Or you hear the dreaded words “you have cancer”? What if your energy levels drop so low that you find it difficult to walk up a flight of stairs, much less serve in a foreign country?
Discovering your calling and moving from success to significance is awesome, but poor health could jeopardize the best of plans. Though some health crises are beyond our control, moving away from unhealthy habits can strengthen and energize us to fulfill our calling. What’s keeping you from cultivating healthier habits? Surely good health is something you want in the years to come, so what’s holding you back from changing now?
Many Christians have rationalized their lack of exercise, excessive eating, and other unhealthy habits by saying our earthly bodies don’t matter because we will be given new ones in heaven. There is quite a bit of scripture that counters this view point:
1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
1 Timothy 4:8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
(Paul doesn’t say it’s a waste of time to care for your body, he recognizes its importance but reminds us that spiritual training is much more important.)
I believe these scriptures show God wants us to care for our bodies.
God’s Word might also reveal the real reason so many struggle to make healthy changes. In Exodus 20:3, we are given the first of the Ten Commandments: “You should have no other gods before me.” Perhaps the reason many of us suffer from poor health is because we have actually put other “gods” before God.
In the book Gods at War, Kyle Idleman writes, “According to the American Center for Disease
Control, 68 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, It would be hard to argue that the god of food is less than a central power in this country… It’s not idolatry to enjoy a great meal. The problem comes when we start to look for food to do for us what the Lord God alone should do. Instead of turning to God, how often do we treat a troubled soul as if it were a growling stomach?”
Do you perhaps worship the god of pleasure? People often say to me, “but I don’t like to exercise” or “but I like dessert”.Doing the right thing isn’t always what is most pleasurable, and if we over-emphasize the importance of pleasure, it’s hard to choose the right thing. People have shared with me that once they were able to “kick” the god of pleasure out of their life, they became more disciplined in how they cared for their body and moved toward better health.
Food or pleasurable activities are not sinful in themselves. God wants us to live life to the fullest. He wants us to enjoy the food He created, but like most gifts God gives us, if we abuse them they can actually pull us away from Him.
Some of this might be hard to hear, but please know I write it because I want you to break free from anything that is holding you back from being your best for His glory. I challenge you to go to God and pray these moving verses from Psalm 139: 23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
I pray you will go to God and ask Him to help you on your journey to better health. After all, is there any greater pleasure than to fulfill the calling He has on our life?
About the Author: When Michelle’s husband Jeff joined the Halftime Institute in 2006, she saw a huge change in him. She wanted the joy, purpose and peace that he now had. She went on a journey to discover her Ephesians 2:10 calling . . . it helped that she lived with her Halftime coach! In 2008, she made the move from corporate event planner to Faithful Workouts. Her passion is to inspire people to get physically and spiritually fit. www.faithfulworkouts.com