God’s Prescription for Health: What God Says About My Body
This week I want us to look at your physical health. We’re going to look at God’s prescription for physical health.
The truth is we already know what to do. This is not rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. To get healthy we’ve got to eat healthy and we’ve got to eat less. We’ve got to get moving (We’ve got to move it, move it!) We’ve got to get proper sleep and We’ve got to lower the stress and get more rest in your life. This is not rocket science. We know this. There’s nothing I can teach you on that today.
But what I want to do today is to focus on the motivation. The why. Why do you not stick, and why do I not stick with get-in-shape programs, get-healthy programs, diets, exercise and whatever. How many times have you set a resolution to get in shape and a month later it’s out the window? The reason why is, if you don’t have the right motivation, you will not stick with it. You’ve got to have the reason. When you figure out the why in your life, God will always show you how.
I want us to look at what God says about the importance of your body.
Then I want to share with you a couple of areas for health that you may have never thought of and you won’t find in a nutrition book and some things like that.
First, let’s look at what God says about the importance of your physical health.
The Bible says this. 1 Corinthians 6 is the classic passage on the body. “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – [in other words I’ve got the freedom to do anything] but I will not be mastered by anything. [What is God saying here? He’s saying some things in life are not necessarily wrong, they’re just not necessary. Does that make sense? You’re free to do whatever you want. But not everything is beneficial. And I’m not going to be mastered by anything – I’m not going to let it dominate me. I’m not going to be addicted to anything.]
Food for the stomach and the stomach for food – but God will destroy both. [In other words, they’re not going to last forever. That’s not the real reason you’re here.]
The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. [He’s going to physically raise up your body.] Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Flee [the Bible says] from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. [It’s a different class.]
Do you not know that your body is a temple [This is where that phrase comes from. 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. [Jesus paid for you.] Therefore honor God with your body.”
This passage teaches us six radical counter cultural things about your body. This is the exact opposite of what culture teaches you today, what the media teaches you today about your body.
1. The first thing is God expects me to manage my body.
I’m not the owner; I’m the manager. God is the owner of my body. But I am the manager. The Bible word is the word “steward.” “Stewardship” is the old English word for “management.” We’re talking about the stewardship of health today. In other words, I cannot blame other people for how I use or misuse or abuse my body. I can’t blame anybody else. I’m the manager. My body is a gift from God, on loan. God owns it and then he loans it to me; and one day I’m going to give an account. One day I’m going to stand before God and he’s going to say, What did you do with what I gave you? We’ve talked about this many times: life is a journey. It is preparation for eternity. And God is seeing what he can trust you with. What did you do with the health I gave you? What did you do with the mind I gave you? What did you do with the opportunities, the abilities, the freedom, the wealth, what did you do with what I gave you?
One of the things he’s going to say is what did you do with the body I gave you? And God is watching to see what you do. I’m the caretaker of my body. God expects me to manage it.
2. The second thing the Bible teaches is my body is God’s property.
That’s fighting words here in America. Because all of us were taught growing up, my body is my own body. It’s my body and I’ll do what I want to with it. And God says no, you won’t. It’s not your body, it’s my body. I just loaned it to you. It’s not yours because you didn’t create it.
Everything that you see was created by God and the Creator owns it all. You don’t own anything. It’s loaned to you, just like we talked about your money last week. You don’t own your money; its loaned to you for about eighty years. It was somebody else’s before you were born. It’s going to be somebody else’s after you die. You just use it while you’re here. He owns it and he loans it.
My body is God’s property. “The body [the Bible says] is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, [Why? Because it’s his.] and the Lord for the body.” In other words I don’t have the right to just share my body with anybody, and neither do you. That’s a radical concept.
What Americans do today is they make the common mistakes that the Greeks did, which is called dualism. Back in the days of Aristotle and Socrates and Plato, the Greeks believed in dualism which was, we separate the mind and the body. They said really what matters is just that your spirit or your mind, your spirit is right with God and if your spirit is right with God it doesn’t really matter what you do with your body. They devalued the body. In fact, they taught the body is evil. So it really doesn’t matter if you mess up your body because it’s just evil. What really only matters is your spirit.
The Bible says that’s absolutely false. Your body is not evil. Your body is holy because God made it. And everything God makes he makes for a purpose. God has never made anything without a purpose. So don’t compartmentalize and say all that really matters is my spirit, not my body. They both matter. That’s a myth.
But the fact is God owns your bod. He’s the boss of your body. You may not like it but it’s the truth. God owns it and expects you to manage it well.
3. The third thing this passage teaches is that my body will be resurrected after I die.
My body will be resurrected after I die. God never wastes anything. He never wastes a hurt, if you’ll give it to him. He’ll take even the hurtful things in your life and turn them around and use them for good. He doesn’t waste anything. God recycles. God says, you think that body I gave you, you think that’s just it? No, we’re going to recycle it.
Right now you’re living in version 1.0 – in heaven you’re going to get version 2.0. But you will have a body. Some people think that when you get to heaven you’re just going to be this amorphous spirit, just kind of floating around like “May the force be with you!” Other people think they’re going to be angels. You’re not going to be an angel. Angels are angels, people are people.
A lot of times people, their idea of heaven is white robe, wings, playing a harp, sitting on a cloud. Friends, to me that would be hell! I can’t think of anything more boring than that. Why is heaven all white? Who do you think created color? God did. Who do you think created taste buds? God did? Who do you think created all the sights and sounds and gave us music? God did. Who do you think created all the beauty and gave us eyes to see it? God did. If the world is broken and it’s this beautiful, what do you think heaven is going to be like? Multicolor, extravaganza like you can’t believe! Not some white-cloud thing.
The Bible says this in 1 Corinthians 6:14 “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.” See how important your body is? God says I’m not through with this. I’m going to resurrect your body. You say, isn’t it going to get all decayed in the ground? Well yeah, or you might be cremated. But God says I’m still going to resurrect it. I’m going to put it together in version 2.0. And he can do anything if he created the universe.
What’s my resurrected body going to be like? We don’t really know. We do know that after Jesus was resurrected and he walked around Jerusalem for forty days and one time was seen by five hundred people and talked to them and different people, that his body actually had some kind of capability to dematerialize because he could appear in a room without walking through the door. That’d be kind of cool! Kind of like Star Trek. Dematerialize. But everybody recognized him. So that gives us a clue that when you get to heaven you’re going to have a different kind of body than you’ve got right now, but everybody’s going to know who you are. You’re still going to be you. You’re just going to be you, version 2.0, with no blemishes. Perfect in every form. You’re going to be you in perfect format.
I want you to circle in this verse the phrase, “by his power.” “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead…” This is one of the three reasons why we don’t stick with diets, one of the three reasons why we don’t stick with our get-healthy programs.
Here are the mistakes we make:
The first reason is we rely on willpower instead of God power.
Willpower, friends, works for about three weeks. Then you get tired and you go off the diet, and you start smoking again. Because willpower is not enough to change. Willpower is fantastic in the short term. But the entire time you’re doing something by willpower that you’re forcing yourself to do, that your natural brain does not want to do. Then pretty soon you’re going to get tired and you’re going to let go of the steering wheel and the autopilot of the boat is going to take you back the other direction. That’s why resolutions by themselves don’t last. You need more than willpower, you need God power. Because willpower alone is exhausting. You get tired.
Whatever your weakness is, you’re going to probably struggle with it the rest of your life. So you’re going to need more than simply your own energy. You’ve got to plug into God’s power. That’s the first reason we don’t stick with it.
The second reason is that we have the wrong motivation.
When the goal is simply all about me, that’s not enough to keep most people going. You need something bigger than yourself to draw you out of yourself so you can be greater than yourself to get you out of bed in the morning. When the goal is all about me, I can’t tell you how many diets I started on simply because I wanted to look good (kind of hard to be any better looking than this but…) feel good, and live longer. There’s nothing wrong with those. In fact, those are good goals. Those are legitimate good goals. But what we’re talking about today is far deeper than this. There’s far more spiritual significance to being in shape than simply looking good and feeling good. There are other reasons for it. We’re looking at those six reasons right now. Appearance is not a big enough reason. I discovered that once I got to the size I wanted, I stopped caring. I stopped trying. I stopped doing willpower. Then I’d go right back to my old habits, and old ways. And pretty soon I’m just yo-yoing back and forth. Anybody identifying with this? You know what I’m talking about.
So when I’ve got the wrong motivation, when I’m just using willpower instead of God’s power…
The third reason why we don’t stick with it, is when I try to change on my own.
It isn’t going to happen. You were made for community. You were created for community. You’ve got to have group support. You’ve got to have a partner or a coach or a support. You’ve got to have accountability. That’s why we insist, the thirty thousand people in this church are in small groups every week – five thousand small groups. Why? Because we know you’re not going to make it on your own. You say, one of these days I’m going to change. If you could, you would; but you can’t, so you won’t. You need help. We’re better together.
When I try to change on my own it doesn’t work. You’ve got to have group support. That’s why we insist on everybody in this church being in a small group or some type of ministry…mens, womens, youth, … It is vital to our growth.
God says I created your body, I expect you to manage your body, one day I’m going to resurrect your body in version 2.0.
4. The Bible teaches my body is connected to the body of Christ.
You probably never heard this before. But the Bible says my body is connected to the body of Christ. Verse 15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Flee sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” That’s why it’s in a special class, because you’re actually sinning against yourself, not just God.
5. The fifth reason is the Holy Spirit lives in my body.
God puts his Spirit in my body. Verse 19 “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” That means God takes up residence inside you. He puts his Spirit in your spirit. So you are the temple of God today. God puts his Spirit in you.
You study history and God, on earth, has always had a dwelling place.
First, he dwelt in the tabernacle that was designed according to the specifications he gave to Moses. The tabernacle was the dwelling place of God.
Then later God gave to David the specifications for the temple in Jerusalem. God dwelt in the temple, that building.
Today he dwells in you. You are the temple.
If you were out walking down the street one day and you saw a gang vandalizing a house of worship and they were breaking the windows of a synagogue or a church and they were writing graffiti on a temple, or a house of worship, you would say that’s not right. You should not be vandalizing a temple. You would either try to stop them or you would call the police.
But you vandalize a temple all the time – you, your body, by what you put in it, by your sleep schedule, by not taking care of your body. You are vandalizing the temple of God when you don’t take care of your body. The Holy Spirit lives in it.
6. Jesus bought my body on the cross.
That’s one of the things he came to do. Verse 20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Jesus bought your real estate.
Do you know how much you’re worth? If you want to know how much you’re worth, look at the cross. With arms outstretched and nail-pierced hands Jesus said, this is how much I love the world. Everybody. I don’t care if you’re Buddhist, Baptist, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, atheist, whatever. He said, this is how much I love you. I love you this much. I love you so much it hurts. I love you so much I’d rather die than live without you. I came all the way from heaven to do this for you. That’s how valuable you are. Your body is priceless.
Question: If you owned a million-dollar race horse would you feed that race horse junk food? You’d be crazy to do it. But we put that stuff in us all the time, and we are priceless. We are worth more than a million-dollar race horse. You are the temple of God.
“I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices…” It doesn’t say offer your soul. It says offer your body – your physical body. You can’t serve God except in your body. People say, I’ll be there in spirit. I’m not going to be physically present but I’ll be there in spirit. You know what that means? Nothing. Because you can’t be somewhere where you aren’t. You can only be where you are physically, in your body.
It says “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Did you know that taking care of your health is an act of worship? That taking care of your body is an act of worship.
Let me summarize this. I want to get my body in better health. And as your pastor who loves you, I want to get your bodies in better health. Not just so you can look good. Not just so you can feel good. Not just so you can live longer. Yeah, I’m glad for all that. Those are legitimate motives. But because of these six things: God created my body, Jesus died for my body, God’s Spirit lives in my body, I’m connected to Christ’s body, one day God’s going to resurrect my body, I’m expected to take care of my body and one day I’ll give an account for it. Those are the spiritual reasons.
Let me say them again: God created your body, Jesus died for your body, the Spirit lives in your body, your body is connected to the body of Christ, your body is going to be resurrected in version 2.0 someday, and you’re expected to care for it in the meantime.
Based on these six facts, can you see how caring for your body is more than just, I’d like to look better. It is a spiritual discipline. This is why we are working together on the Daniel Plan. We can learn to care for our bodies.
The healthier you are the more God can bless you, the more God can use you.
You’ve heard people say, when in doubt consult the owner’s manual. This is the owner’s manual. Nobody knows more about your body than God does. And if you’ll do what he says, you’re going to be in better health. There are all kinds of health promises, health principles, and health programs in the Word of God.
Psalm 119:73 says this “You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.” A lot of people are always praying for a miracle. Why would God give you a miracle and heal you if next week you’re going to keep on doing the same thing that got you in the mess you’re in right now? He’s not. Why would God give you a miracle financially if you’re going to keep on overspending and getting in debt within another month? He’s not.
The Bible says “You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.”
The Bible says in Deuteronomy 32 “These instructions [that God gives us] are not mere words – they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land…” If I stood up here today and said “I have discovered a new pill that will give you a long life. This pill is guaranteed to extend your life.” You’d pay big bucks for it. And if I threw in the Ginsu knives… And said, “But wait! Only three payments of $19.95…. Operators are standing by right now!” You’d pay big bucks for any pill that would extend your life.
You don’t have to pay me a thing. It’s all right here. There is promise after promise. You can do a Bible study of all the verses and there are many that say, “If you do this, I will extend your life… If you do this, you will have a long life… If you do this, you will have a long life…” It’s all through the Scriptures.
By the way, ninety-eight thousand Americans now are over one hundred years of age. So the likelihood is you’re going to probably live longer than your parents. The question is what kind of quality of life are you going to have? Are you going to be sitting in a wheelchair drooling? Or are you going to actually live your life like Moses did where it says he was sharp and he was in full health the day he died.
By the way, the healthiest place to live, the longest longevity in life in America is to live in Hawaii. You will live longest if you live in Hawaii. You figure they hang loose, no stress. The second highest longevity is Minnesota. Minnesota! The worst place for longevity – the fifty-first place, all fifty states and the District of Columbia is Washington D.C. You do not want to live in Washington, D.C. Worst health rate in the country.
As I said, we already know about nutrition, exercise, sleep, rest. This is not rocket science. Let me point out to you maybe some unknown health factors that you’re not going to read in any nutritional book.
Proverbs 3 gives us a few of them. Verses 1-10 says this, “Keep my commands in your heart, [says God] for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity… [Then he gives some of those commands…] Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, [What’s he saying there? He’s saying trust in me instead of worrying. Don’t get stressed out. Live a tranquil life. Don’t try to figure it all out.] and he will make your paths straight. [That’s integrity – living a straight life of integrity.] Do not be wise in your own eyes; [That’s humility.] Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. [Why the bones? Why is that important? Because the marrow is created in the bones.] Honor the Lord with the first part of your wealth, [That’s generosity] the firstfruits of all the crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing.” Notice in this passage he mentions tranquility – trust in God; integrity – paths straight; humility – don’t be wise in your own eyes; and generosity – give the first part of your wealth away.
If you live a life of tranquility, integrity, humility and generosity you are going to be in better health. There is a direct connection between your spiritual health and your physical health. So let me just wrap this up. I could give you a hundred of these from the Word of God. Let me just give you four things that you need to do that will help you be healthier.
1. Trusting God is good for your health.
Why? Because you don’t worry. You’re either going to worship or worry in life. You’re going to pray or you’re going to panic. If you pray you won’t panic. And if you worship you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. Trust God. The Bible says in Psalms 116:7 “I said to myself, ‘Relax, because the Lord takes care of you.” Just relax. The Lord will take care of you. That’s trusting God.
Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Friends, it’s not just what you eat that matters. It’s what eats you. You can have the best microbiotic plan all around and eat fresh, healthy, organic, in proper portions. But if you’re resentful against your dad and envious against your friend, and bitter against your mom and guilty against something you did yesterday, it’s what’s eating you. You say, “She’s a pain in the …” That’s why you’ve got a pain in the …
When you take resentment and bitterness into you it’s like a poison. It’s like a fire. It’ll burn you up on the inside. It’s not just what you eat. It’s what eats you
There is an issue there that says trusting God and then getting rid of stuff and that leads to number two…
2. Confessing my sin is good for your health.
You could talk to any psychologist who would confirm that one. You can’t repress it, you can’t suppress it. You need to express it to God. You confess it to God. When I swallow my anger, my stomach keeps score. If you don’t talk it out to God, you’re going to take it out on your body. So the Bible says this, David says in Psalm 32 “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, [It is impossible to feel guilty and happy at the same time.] and I groaned all day long… My strength evaporated… [That’s why you’re weak all the time. You’re carrying around a garbage bag of guilt.] Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them… and you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”
One of the healthiest things you can do is receive the forgiveness of God in your life. Just throw away that garbage sack. Don’t carry into the next decade all the garbage of this decade. Don’t carry all the resentment, fear, worry, guilt, legalism, jealousy and envy and all those other emotions. Don’t carry them into the new decade. Trusting God is good for your health. Confessing my sins is good for my health.
3. Giving generously is good for your health.
It’s good for your heart. Every time I give, my heart grows bigger. Every time I give, I break the grip of materialism in my life. People say “I’m not materialistic.” Let me see your checkbook. Tell me how you spend your money and you spend your time; I’ll tell you what your priority is. Is it all spent on you? Or are you giving it away?
There are more promises in the Bible about giving and generosity than any other subject. Because God says I want you to learn to be like me. And God is a giving God. He’s generous. Everything you have is a gift from God. You wouldn’t take your next breath if God didn’t give it to you. Everything you have, the next beat of your heart, is a gift from God. Everything you have. God says, Like Father, like son. I want my kids to be like me. I want you to learn to be generous. Every time you give generously, you give away instead of keeping and hording, you are healthier.
It is not a mistake that the word “miser” and “miserable” come from the same word. Misers are miserable. There are only two kinds of people in life – takers and givers. Takers are always sad, always mad. Givers are glad. They’re the people who give away. The Bible says in Proverbs 11:25 “A generous man will prosper.” You want to prosper. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
Finally number four, and I wish I had a lot of time to go into this one:
4. Having fun is good for your health.
Having fun, the Bible teaches, is good for your health. I wish I could take you through all of these verses. The Bible teaches that life is meant to be enjoyed not merely endured. The Bible tells us that God created everything for our enjoyment. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart [that’s a positive attitude, a happy, fun loving, laughter, humorous, cheerful heart] is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” He who laughs lasts.
Let me tell you from personal experience, if you learn to laugh at yourself you’ll never run out of material. You’ll always have lots of good stuff. It’ll just keep coming. You’ll never run out of stuff to laugh. You need to put some fun in your life. Put play in every day. People say the family that prays together stays together. That’s true. But also, the family that plays together stays together. We need to have some fun. We need to enjoy life.
Turn in your bible to the book of Daniel…the Persian Empire had taken over the world at this point. The guy who was king was a guy named Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar took over the nation of Israel when Jehoiakim was king. He took the entire Jewish race and moved them to Babylon. They were in captivity for seventy years. Just like what happened in the four hundred years in Egypt. While the Jewish nation is held captive in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar says I want you to take the top guys, go cheery pick the top young men in this Jewish nation and bring them to me because we’re going to put them through a mentoring intern program and many of them are going to become my advisors, royal advisors in the future. So they go and they pick these different guys. This is the story of four of the guys who got picked. One of them was named Daniel. The others were Hananiah and Mishael and I don’t remember the fourth guy’s name. They changed them to Babylonian names – Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
They said these guys are going to go through this plan. One of the perks of being in the king’s mentoring program was you got to eat at the king’s table. You got to eat all of his fine delicacies and all his rich food and all his wine and things like that.
So we pick up the story in Daniel 1:5. It says this “ a daily ration of the best and rich foods and wines from his own kitchen. They were to be trained for a three year period. Then some of them would be made advisors of the royal court. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were four men chosen from the tribe of Judah. But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the king’s rich food and wine, so he asked for permission to eat other things instead. [He wanted to eat a healthier diet.] The chief official was alarmed by Daniel’s suggestion. He said, ‘The king’s ordered you to eat his food and his wine. If he sees you looking worse than the other men, he’ll execute me for neglecting my duties.’ [So Daniel comes up with a plan. Daniel says let’s do this test. Let’s do this challenge and see.] Let us eat a healthy diet of vegetables and water. Then at the end of ten days see how healthy we four are compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s rich foods. Then you can decide whether or not to let us continue eating our diet.’ The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion. At the end of ten days Daniel and his three friends not only looked healthier but they were better nourished than the young men who had been eating the rich foods. So after that the attendant fed them only vegetables and fresh foods instead of the rich foods and the wines.”
Let me ask you a question, Impacters…In John 5 Jesus is walking down the street and he sees this guy sitting on the side of the road who’s been sick for thirty-eight years. He’s a paraplegic. Jesus walks up to him and he asks one of the most important questions and I want to ask of you this morning. He says, “Do you want to get well?” That is a profound question. This guy’s been sick thirty-eight years. You think, of course he wants to get well. But Jesus says, Do you really want to get well?
That’s my question to you. Where do you want to be a year from now health-wise? Do you want to have the most energy, the sharpest mind, the brightest smile, the strongest body that you’ve ever had? Do you really want to get well?
Let’s do the Daniel plan together…let’s tell Jesus we want to get well!
Father, you created our bodies. You sent Jesus to pay for our bodies. Then you sent your Spirit to live in our bodies. Help us to never forget that our bodies belong to you, not us. And that they’re connected to the body of Christ. And one day they will be resurrected in version 2.0. Forgive us for all the times we’ve misused our bodies and abused our health. We commit together to join in a journey of health, to follow God’s health plan for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.