Commit to Yourself . . . Spiritual
An Attitude Check for Your Body
Spend some time with these physical and spiritual reasons for
respecting and protecting your body.
The first step in developing physical health is to develop a healthy
attitude toward your body. Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinks in
his heart, so is he." (NKJV) If you think healthy thoughts, you're
going to move toward being a healthy person. But the truth is, most
of us fall into unhealthy patterns of thinking about our body. What
about you? What is your attitude toward your body?
Do you often look in the mirror and think, "Send it back! It's a
mistake! God, you goofed!"? Or do you often make negative comments
or jokes about your body? If so, you're probably rejecting your
Or you might fall into the opposite extreme of perfecting your body,
constantly striving to be a perfect "10." Like the stereotypical
body builders and models, you idolize your body.
If you're like many Americans, though, you simply neglect your body,
ignoring your health. As a result, you probably find yourself
dragging through life tired most of the time.
None of these options - rejecting, perfecting, or neglecting our
bodies - leads to health. Instead, we should respect and protect our
bodies. This begins with being motivated to change, for both
physical and spiritual reasons.
The physical reasons for respecting and protecting our bodies mostly
are common sense, yet most of us often ignore them.
First, you'll feel better. If you take care of your body, you'll
have more energy and fewer pains. You'll be more alert and less
You'll look better. A lot of us men get furniture problems: Our
chest drops into our drawers. But by taking care of your body,
you'll be more attractive, leading to stronger self-confidence.
You'll also live longer. Countless studies show that people who take
good care of their bodies have longer lives.
If these physical reasons aren't enough to motivate you, the
spiritual reasons are hard to ignore.
God made your body. A passage from Psalm 139 shows a wonderful
attitude of respect toward the Creator of our bodies: "You knit me
together in my mother's womb. . I am fearfully and wonderfully
made." (NIV) Because God made your body, you ought to take care of
Jesus paid for your body. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he
paid for you - for your soul and for your body. So, in a sense, your
body is on loan; therefore, physical fitness is a stewardship issue.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, ". You are not your own; you were bought
at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (NIV)
The Holy Spirit lives in your body. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, the Bible
tells us, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and
that God's Spirit lives in you?" (NIV) If God made my body and Jesus
died for my body and the Holy Spirit lives in my body, then I better
do the best I can to make it a worthy temple, a place where God -
not my body - is worshiped.
If you've had an unhealthy attitude toward your body, spend some
time with these physical and spiritual reasons for respecting and
protecting your body. Before long, you'll likely see your attitudes
changing and you'll begin your own journey toward a fit, energetic,
- by Rick Warren
Let's Get Physical!
These six principles from God's Word will help you get your body in
good shape. Living here in America, sometimes it's hard to know
whether or not you're in good shape physically. With super-sized
meals on the one hand and super-skinny Hollywood on the other, no
wonder we're confused! So how do you know if you're in shape? I ran
across these four statements; they're funny, but they actually serve
as a good test of health:
You know you're out of shape when you feel like "the morning after"
and you didn't go anywhere the night before.
You know your body's in trouble when your knees buckle and your belt
You know you're in trouble when you see your friends running and you
hope they twist an ankle.
You know you're in trouble when you breathe harder walking up a set
of stairs than you do when you hold your sweetheart's hand.
Do any of these statements sound a little too familiar to you? If
so, it's probably time for you to get physical - to start paying
attention to your physical health. When you feel bad physically, it
affects everything else. Shakespeare said it's hard to be a
philosopher with a toothache. I say it's hard to be spiritually
alert when you're physically dull, tired, or out of shape.
A lot of people think of the Bible as just a spiritual book, but it
actually addresses our emotional health and physical health too. In
Proverbs 4:20-22 Solomon says, ". Pay attention to . my words . for
they are . health to a man's whole body." (NIV) These six principles
from God's Word will help you get your body in good shape.
1. Maintain your ideal weight.
When Yankee Stadium was rebuilt, the new building had 9,000 fewer
seats than the original. They had to add three inches to every chair
because Americans' posteriors have grown so large. I realize there
are many medical reasons for weight problems, but many of us just
eat too much. You can't eat everything you want to eat and still
maintain your ideal weight. You can find your ideal weight in any
number of different books and online calculators. Use one of those
calculators and talk to your doctor about how much you should weigh.
Then heed the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:4: "Each of you should
learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable."
2. Balance your diet.
I used to be on a see-food diet. If I saw it, I ate it. I've known
other people on balanced diets - with a hamburger in each hand! But
we need real balance. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, Paul says: ".
'Everything is permissible for me' - but I will not be mastered by
anything. 'Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food' - but
God will destroy them both. ." (NIV) Eating is not an end in itself.
We eat to live, but we shouldn't live to eat.
The Bible has plenty of nutritional advice too. Leviticus 3:17 warns
people not to eat animal fat. Even though humans didn't know about
cholesterol, God did - and he knew eating fatty foods would increase
it. Proverbs 25:27 warns of eating too much sugar. The words are
thousands of years old, but they sound like pages from today's
3. Commit to a regular exercise program.
I've discovered that, when it comes to exercise, most of us are
convinced but not committed. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, "Physical exercise
has some value." (NLT) When the Bible was written, people were very
active - walking everywhere and earning their living through
physical labor. If Paul wrote that today, he'd likely change it to
say that exercise has great value. The fact is, your body was
designed for activity. Even a daily walk will make a difference.
Don't make the mistake of overdoing it at first. Commit to a regular
exercise program that you can maintain long-term.
4. Get enough sleep and rest
Psalm 127:2 says, "In vain you rise early and stay up late." (NIV)
At the end of that same verse, The Living Bible says, "God wants his
loved ones to get their proper rest." Rest is so important that God
even put it in the Ten Commandments; he said every seventh day you
rest. Jesus, in Mark 6:30-32, insisted that his disciples take a
vacation. He said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and
Get the rest you need. Don't rise early and stay up late. I think
one of the real enemies of health is late-night television. It
leaves you worn out the next day. So make sure you're budgeting your
time wisely to get enough rest and sleep.
5. Reduce or avoid drinking alcohol.
A cover article of Newsweek a few years ago declared that America is
sobering up as health-conscious consumers decide alcohol is
unhealthy or downright dangerous. At the same time, though, the U.S.
Department of Health ranked alcoholism as the third-greatest health
problem in America, next to heart disease and cancer. American
culture today reflects the words of Ephesians 5:18: "Do not get
drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with
the Spirit." (TEV)
6. Live in harmony with God.
Our emotions have a tremendous effect on our physical health, just
like our physical health has a tremendous effect on our emotions.
Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body."
(NIV) What is peace of mind? It comes from two things: a clear
conscience and a purpose for living. When you have those two things,
your health is going to improve.
When God saves you, he wants to make you whole - spiritually, but
also physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Once you've
invited Jesus Christ into your life, ask God's Spirit to help you
have self-control. Then determine to take care of your whole self.
As the Bible says in Romans 12:1, ". Make a decisive dedication of
your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God."
- by Rick Warren
Personal Health: How much attention should we pay to our bodies?
Where does eating right and exercising fit into our spiritual lives?
When it comes to health, Americans are extreme. On one hand,
physical fitness is all the rage. On the other hand, a growing
number of children face increasing health problems because of
obesity. It seems that we either want to drop pounds and flatten our
bellies with easy fat-burning secrets that will help us firm up
fast, or we're standing in line at the nearest burger joint waiting
to be "super-sized."
Physical fitness and spiritual fitness are intended by God to
complement one another. We know that regular exercise and a balanced
diet are important to good health, improved energy, and mental
sharpness that all help us serve the Lord more honorably. But how
should we approach healthy living? Where does eating right and
exercising fit into our spiritual lives? Here are four principles:
1. Exercise your integrity
When it comes to fitness, we often compare ourselves to the super
models that grace the covers of popular magazines, but the Bible
should be our standard. Fitness should not be a selfish, ego-driven
endeavor. Rather, we should approach health and wellness with godly
motives. Why do our motives matter? Does it really matter whether we
work out for egocentric reasons? Isn't a healthy body the ultimate
goal? Yes and no! God wants more than a healthy body. He wants a
spiritually healthy heart. God examines every heart and he sees
through every motive (1 Chronicles 28:9). He hates it when we have
selfish motives such as the desire to brag, show off our bodies,
compete with others, or seek compliments. These kinds of motives set
us up to lose more than just a few extra pounds. They set us up to
lose our solid footing on God's narrow road that leads to life
Check your motives. Be willing to examine your heart. Ask yourself:
Why am I exercising? If you have impure motives, offer them to God
2. Pray healthy prayers
One of the most common mistakes that we make as Christians is not
praying enough. We often save our prayers for the big-ticket items
(i.e., discovering our life purpose or finding the right mate!) But
God wants us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of requests
(Ephesians 4:16). That includes praying for our physical fitness.
Pray to God about your fitness goals, your food choices, your
work-out, and even about those extra pounds you're trying to lose.
Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Your prayers will move
God's heart and invite him to unleash his power in your life.
3. Develop an appetite for God
Where does God fit into your meal selection? Is God's best choice
even on the menu? Seek to honor God with what you eat and drink (1
Corinthians 10:31). "Our bodies and natural appetites were created
by God and are not sinful in themselves," but we need to work at
controlling our desire for food. Otherwise, our desire for food will
Have you gained a few extra pounds because you couldn't resist that
ice cream in the freezer? Or are you one of those people who can eat
whatever he/she wants without gaining a pound? In either case, poor
eating habits can lead to health-related problems, like high
cholesterol. The Bible is clear: Everything may be permissible, but
not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12).
You don't have to buy fitness magazines to learn how to control your
appetite. Just open the Bible. It will tell you how God wants you to
move toward your diet. Here are a few Scriptures to get you started:
Ecclesiastes 10:17: Eat your meals at proper times.
Proverbs 23:2: Don't eat too much.
Proverbs 25:16: Eat just enough.
Ecclesiastes 3:13: Enjoy your meals.
4. Be fit for all seasons
Healthy living requires diligence, and diligence takes work. "It
takes action. It takes staying with something until it is finished.
And it takes diligence, work, action, and staying with something for
millions of minutes, thousands of hours, hundreds of days, scores of
weeks, months ... ." You get the idea. Health and wellness are
lifestyles. They are not seasonal fads.
Laziness often gets in the way of diligence. But the Bible says that
hard work brings rewards (Proverbs 14:23). Set yourself up to win.
Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise and diet program.
Start a program that fits who you are. Is walking more your style?
Exercise videos? Joining a gym? Getting a personal trainer? Once you
start a program, stick to it. Consistency is more important than
intensity. Exercising for 15 minutes a day on a regular basis will
produce better results than hit and miss one-hour workouts.
A Body Fit for God
Glorify God with your healthy lifestyle. After all, workouts in the
gym are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making
you fit both today and forever (1 Timothy 4:8 MSG). When you seek to
glorify God with a healthy lifestyle, you will develop into an even
more authentic Christian, and your faith in Christ will be apparent
in all areas of your life.
by Katie Brazelton, Ph.D. and Ellie Jurado-Nieves, J.D.
Seven Pillars of Good Health:
What you don't know about these seven "pillars" of good health may
be derailing God's plans for your life.
Like most physicians, I see people all the time who suffer from
headaches, back pain, arthritis, skin problems, digestion problems,
and other ailments. Often, they have gone to another doctor, who
might have given them medications that merely turned off the
symptoms, instead of addressing the underlying problem.
If you had a red warning light blinking on your car's dashboard,
informing you to check your engine, would you simply remove the fuse
to turn off the warning light? No! You would take your car in for
service, knowing that if you don't you will eventually ruin your
Most people already know that the No. 1 killer of Americans is heart
disease, and the No. 2 killer is cancer. Most people know that
nearly two-thirds of cancer deaths in the United States can be
linked to tobacco use, diet, obesity, and lack of exercise. Most
people know that most diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyles,
poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate sleep.
Most people, however, do not realize that the medications they are
taking amount to taking the fuse out of their body's warning light,
instead of addressing their body's seven fundamental needs for
health and well-being.
In my practice, I talk to patients about seven pillars of good
health: water, sleep and rest, living food, exercise,
detoxification, supplements, and freedom from stress. What you don't
know about these seven pillars of good health may be derailing God's
plans for your life.
For example, most people's bodies are starved for clean, natural
water. Many people never drink any water. Some don't like the taste
of it, or they were never taught the importance of drinking it.
Maybe their parents gave them juice, soft drinks, milk - anything
but water. As a result, many people spend their day going from one
caffeinated or sugar-based drink to another. They jump-start their
mornings with coffee. By midmorning they have a soda for another
boost, then drink sweetened caffeinated iced tea for lunch. Late
afternoon it's another coffee-based or "10 percent juice" drink.
Little do they know that all that caffeine and sugar are actually
stealing water from their bodies, doing them more harm than good.
Even many people who drink water fail to realize how many harmful
substances that water contains. Tap water, even if it comes from
wells 200 feet deep, often is contaminated with chemicals used in
industry, agriculture, and consumer products. People who turn to
bottled water often don't realize that those manufacturers are less
strictly regulated and their products less carefully tested than
municipal water companies. About one-fourth of bottled water
actually is tap water!
Water is the most basic pillar of health, and many people are paying
a terrible price for ignoring it. A body that is slightly dehydrated
goes into a sort of rationing mode, diverting needed water to vital
organs. Inadequate hydration can be a significant factor in back and
joint pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, digestion problems, and
asthma, among other things.
Paying attention to the other six pillars of health is just as
important for your health and well-being:
Sleep and rest - During the precious hours you are shut down for
sleep, your body recharges your immune system and restores your
organs. Many Americans live on the brink of mental and physical
collapse simply for lack of sleep.
Living food - Much of our diet consists of "dead food" that leave us
tired and vulnerable to degenerative diseases like diabetes and
cardiovascular disease. "Living food," on the other hand, will
protect your body from cancer and other diseases and will sharpen
your mind, energize you, and enliven you.
Exercise - Over 75 percent of the people who start exercise programs
quit; health clubs bank on that. Your body is two-thirds water -
what happens to water that sits stagnant? When water moves, life
Detoxification - Most of my patients who suffer from chronic disease
are actually affected by toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and
microbes. Fortunately, there are things you can start doing today -
as simple as drinking healthy, taking in fiber, and sweating - to
rid your body of toxins and help your waste management systems keep
Supplements - Many doctors refuse to recommend multivitamins and
nutritional supplements even though a study published in the Journal
of the American Medical Association in 2002 recommended that all
adults take a multivitamin supplement to help prevent chronic
diseases. Few people, if any, get the nutrients they need from food
alone, even if they eat a completely healthy diet.
Stress - Good stress is healthy. It's our bodies natural reaction to
a real or perceived threat. But when stress goes on too long, it can
leave you feeling depressed and angry, lower your sex drive, and
predispose you to all kinds of illness. A prescription as simple as
"10 good belly laughs a day" will go a long way toward protecting
you from those dangers.
The good news is that you do not have to be a statistic. Wouldn't it
be great to meet your great-grandchildren - and keep up with them?
Surely you would like someone to tell you that you look 20 years
younger than your age. Can you imagine what it would feel like not
to experience the stiff joints and headaches that have disrupted
your life for several years?
Paying attention to these seven pillars will help you restore your
health and reclaim your life. It could set you on the path to being
healthy, happy, and whole - just as God intended."
- by Don Colbert
Physical Shape and Health: A Spiritual Issue:
Spiritual principles that will help you get your body in shape and
keep it that way.
You can't get past a checkout stand at the grocery store these days
without being deluged with magazine titles proclaiming the ultimate
keys to losing weight, getting fit, and eating to health. Yet with
all that information available, most of us aren't all that happy
with where our bodies are. Is there a key or a balance to the whole
area of personal health and fitness?
I think that there is, and it is this: Your physical health is also
a spiritual matter, and if we pay attention to both aspects, we will
succeed. That is, God made us both spiritual and physical beings:
"Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God?" (I Corinthians 6:19
NLT) He created our insides and our outsides. People who pay
attention to one and not both are out of balance. The flabby
individual who is involved with God and church needs help. But so
does the ripped six-packer who doesn't have time to surrender to
Now, most of us know the basics of the physical aspect: nutrition,
exercise, sleep. The research is out there for the taking, and it is
good. But here are a couple of spiritual principles that will help
you get your body in shape and keep it that way. Add these to your
1. Let go of willpower and ask for help. We all have a tendency to
try to do it on our own. How many times have you said, "From this
day on, I'll work out four days a week," or "I'll cut down on the
chips?" And then, a few weeks later, nothing happens. That's because
nothing should happen. Willpower will always fail you: ". for the
wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not." (Romans
7:18) We can't do it all on our own. But what will never fail is the
strength and support of God and people on your team. Get the support
team together! Let people know your plan. Get their advice. Meet
with dieting and workout buddies. Have them call you to check in at
your most vulnerable times, like afternoons and evenings when many
people snack more than they want to.
2. Get out of the "one-solution" mentality and deal with the
complexities. Generally speaking, physical well-being and fitness
aren't about just one thing, such as eating habits, workouts,
supplements, etc. They are about lots of things, as we are designed
in a great, complex manner: "Thank you for making me so wonderfully
complex." (Psalm 139:14) So deal with it all: nutrition, exercise,
sleep, stress, spiritual devotions, relationships, personal growth,
medical issues, and emotional baggage from the past. In other words,
look at your physical shape as part of your own stewardship to God
for giving him a good person with a good body who can love, work,
and carry out his mission on Earth for him.
The physical and the spiritual interact. Keep them both in mind, and
watch the results.