All right. Here goes.
And I’m going to start with where I finished last time. There are absolutely two things you need to keep in mind when it comes to talking about living a healthy lifestyle as a Christian.
1. God is sovereign, over everything.
2. We live under the grace of the Gospel. God chose to love us from before the Creation of the world. No lifestyle choice of ours has, can, or will ever affect that love.
Why I want you to remember these things is because (a) the sovereignty of God is the underlying premise that allows for logical, practical applications in the area of health, and (b) I don’t want any part of what I say to become about works, or legalism, or gaining God’s approval. So please, if you remember nothing else, remember your Creator-God and His Gospel.
Manifesto for Healthy Living in Christ, Principal I
Our existence in this world entirely takes place in a physical body, majestically and wonderfully designed by a Creator. This design – entirely INTENTIONAL and ON PURPOSE – implicates that the body works in specific ways (i.e., how it’s designed to work), and this design brings glory to the Creator.
Here’s the breakdown: God is sovereign, right? Which means that all things happen according to his plan and purpose. Which means that when God created the world, he created the world to look, smell, feel, taste, sound, and act like he wanted it to -according to his good purpose. And I love the imagery in Genesis that describes how God originally designed Adam’s body: he formed it out of the dust of the ground. Kind of like a potter moulding clay. Or Michelangelo chipping away at marble. Or a carpenter sanding wood into just the right shape.
I get this idea of God, with his sleeves rolled up his arms, and his hands all covered in dust creating this absolutely breathtaking piece of art.
Doubt me? We’ve all heard Psalm 139: knitted together in the womb. Carefully constructed. Hand crafted. Totally miraculous, one of a kind.
I mean, have you checked out the human body lately? Its beauty has inspired art work for thousands and thousands of years. It fights off countless diseases every day. It wars against the ravages of entropy and time. You have a beating heart and a brain that all the brightest in the world have only begun to comprehend. You have fingers that can knit, mould, form, type, caress, feel. Your body was designed to run, jump, duck, twist, dance, sleep, have sex.
And not one bit of it is an accident.
Every last element of what makes your body a human body is totally and completely BY DESIGN.
So, let’s talk about design, shall we?
I am sitting at a computer that was, in part, imagined by another brilliant human mind: Steve Jobs. And when Steve Jobs dreamt of the Mac, he dreamt of it working in a certain way. When the programers who created the software that runs this computer were writing all their software codes, they meant it to work in a specific way.
When God dreamt of your body, when his mind created and formed it out of dust, he dreamt of it working a specific way. And because he’s God, and he’s sovereign (see why this is so important?), it does. According to his good purpose.
So when you hear on television that blueberries are high in antioxidants, are good for brain health, etc., etc., don’t think science and chemical reactions and lab equipment and media propaganda. Think, design. When you are tired and need to sleep, don’t think can’t waste another hour. Think, design. When you hear that your body functions better when it has proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and movement, don’t think I absolutely don’t have the time or interest for this. Think, design.
Because, do you know what? It’s how God intended it.
And you know what happens when things work the way they are designed, beautifully and wonderfully? The creator gets all the glory. Who is famous for the Model T? For the Mac computer? For the lightbulb? The creators and inventors of these things.
They receive the glory as their designs work the way they were meant to.
So when you follow God’s design for your body, you aren’t being selfish, or wasting time, or being caught up with earthly things. You are bringing him glory as your body works as he designed it to.
Now, do we live in a fallen world? Absolutely. Are the perfect designs of God tainted by our sin? Yep. That’s why we fall sick and get cancer and break bones. That’s why our bodies aren’t guaranteed to work well forever. That’s why they do, eventually, die.
But none of these are reasons to ignore God’s design when it comes to how our bodies optimally function. Because when we submit to God’s design for our bodies, and allow him to be the sovereign Lord, he is the creator who gets the glory.
So, when you hear about the body working more optimally (i.e., brain health, heart health, higher energy, stronger immune system, better digestion, etc.), let it speak to you of the Lord’s intentional design for your physical body.
Because, guess what? He didn’t create you to simply be able to pray and read the Word and pray and read the Word and fellowship and pray and read the Word. If a human being did ONLY those three things, his or her body would whither and die quickly.
If God intended for our existence to be solely spiritual, he would have created us without bodies.
But that’s not how he did it.
And he’s sovereign, remember? So that’s how he wanted it. And how God wants is the ultimate, absolute best.
He created you with a body. He created you to need to eat, to need to drink, to need to sleep. And then, out of his great, miraculous love, he created foods that would help our bodies work optimally. He created blueberries, and carrots, and leafy greens. He created the omega 3s in fish and flax seeds. He created our skin to react to the sunlight in a way that produces a life-giving, life-sustaining chemical (vitamin D). He created it this way, on purpose.
So, when you hear that our bodies work optimally eating veggies, and drinking good water, and getting sleep, and exercising, don’t think that these are merely worldly obligations that will take you away from the Lord.
Because, actually, when you submit to God’s design, you glorify and worship him in all your eating and drinking, whatever you do. And isn’t his glory our ultimate calling and purpose, the motivation behind everything we do?