Christian Living, Culture, Food, Marriage

Does Healthy Living Honor God?

Now when I say “healthy,” I say so loosely! Believe me, I’m no physical trainer or dietitian. This post isn’t about crash diets, extreme exercise, or paleo-vegan recipes. However, I am about God’s Word and opportunities for growth. I’m a strong proponent of balanced, holistic habits, ones that show respect for the precious life God has given us, as well as the heart-filled service we are called to as believers.

So often what’s labeled “healthy” becomes a deceptive and wearisome path toward self-idolatry. We’re told to meet workout quotas, shoot for toned abs, and avoid every pleasurable food like poison. This not only sucks out many sources of joy in our homes (you know, like baking cookies!), but also keeps our minds focused on the temporary rather than the eternal.

What this post IS about:

  • Marriage and Love
  • Others-Focused Thinking
  • Self-Discipline
  • Godly Obedience
  • Practical Tips

A New Approach

How are these topics connected to health? Well, let’s ask another question. What if – instead of exercise regimens and calories counts – we think about how to bless others through our physical choices, in the spirit of Philippians 2:3-11? What if our sinful tendencies – i.e. selfishness, sluggishness – are at the root of our inability to change for the better?

One example comes from a conversation I had with my own husband. We were discussing the concept of spouses saying to each other, “I’ll love you no matter what.” 

Now in general, that statement is crucial for marital faithfulness. When two enter into a marriage covenant, they become one and should be completely devoted to each other. What the statement does NOT mean, however, is being okay with your spouse sinning or falling below his or her godly potential.

A truly loving spouse desires for the other to be walking rightly before the Lord, and also makes good decisions in order to love the other person completely.

[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10

Our marital love is unconditional, but because it is so, then it should motivate us to do all we can to please God and our husband… including doing away with unhealthy living. 

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Loving others incorporates our health and body. Although it is somewhat sweet to know our husband would still love us if we were 300lbs, let’s be real, does our husband want us to be 300lbs? Probably not! And if he were unnecessarily 300lbs, would we be fine letting him remain in that unhealthy state? I hope not!

This is an extreme scenario for a general point – we must be mindful of how our bodies affect the level of intimacy and energy we have with our spouses.

Our measure of well-being should not be the scale. It should be our ability to joyfully perform the works God has prepared for us – to please the man we love most and to fully serve our families, churches, and communities.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Cue Self-Discipline

The major barrier to living healthy is not really the lack of resources or information (YouTube is packed with Zumba videos!), it’s our lack of will. And if we lack even the will to choose vegetables over fries (most of the time), or go outside with the kids rather than binge-walk Netflix (most weekends), do we have the will to pray and read Scripture daily? Convicting, I know.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 

We can’t become so obsessed with vegetarianism or the gym at the cost of time with the Lord. Godliness should be our first priority, even before our physique. Yet, as born-again disciples, we shouldn’t be satisfied with being couch potatoes but should seek to be active citizens sharing the Gospel.

Good habits are contagious. In disciplining ourselves in health matters we are exercising godly traits, such as self-control and love, and we are working against behavior of the flesh, such as stubbornness, pride, envy, and lust for things we don’t need (Galatians 5:16-26). The mental and physical perks we then feel help us to better absorb and teach the Word to our families.

Let’s Get to Reality

The purpose of this commentary is not to instill guilt, but to inspire! My hope is not sending you training for a marathon (though that’s cool!), but helping you recognize the sanctifying power of your health choices.

So what does this look like? I feel basic healthy living is intuitive. Simple choices such as water instead of soda, nature walks instead of movie watching, variety of meals instead of carb-heavy favorites lead to lighter consciences and loving relationships. Focus on nutrition instead of calories. Choose exercise you enjoy rather than the latest but painful craze.

To close, let’s not feel trapped by the world’s expectations of health. Leave room for delicious dishes and desserts when showing hospitality and during holidays, but make everyday smart decisions to demonstrate love for God, your husband and your home!

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:10-11

Comment Question: What are some simple healthy choices you make in your home?

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