The following is from a talk I gave at my church for our ladies’ Spring Brunch with the above title – I addressed the physical aspect and two other ladies addressed the emotional and spiritual aspects of being Wholly Christ’s:
How we care for our physical bodies is tied to our spiritual and emotional well-being.
For example, if we haven’t been eating well or getting exercise, we will be sluggish and not as mentally sharp which may keep us from hearing God’s voice and doing His will.
If we haven’t had enough sleep, we are more likely to be crabby and mean.
In Romans we read: “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”
In 1 Corinthians we read: “I have the right to do anything,” —but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. and Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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. Therefore honor God with your bodies”.
When Elijah was burned out after his confrontation with the prophets of Baal – the first things the Lord had him do were sleep and eat.
When you are stressed, angry, depressed, bored or anxious, don’t self-medicate with food or alcohol. Highly processed carbohydrates, like breads, chips, cookies, and crackers, alter brain activity in ways that make us crave them even more – in fact, they have been found to be about as addictive as drugs like cocaine and you can become out of control with eating them.
Find something new as your “go-to medication” like prayer, calling a friend, or going out for a walk. Also, ask yourself why you are stressed, anxious, or feeling badly. Consider things you can do to alleviate the root cause of these emotions (i.e. forgiving someone, asking forgiveness from someone, going to counseling).
Eating is part of living in community and we need accountability with our eating habits. Don’t use others’ poor eating behaviors to allow yourself to eat poorly too. Instead, set a good example for others so that they will also be inspired to honor God with their bodies.
Both quality AND quantity of food are important – putting highly processed, high carb foods into your body is like putting very poor quality gas into your car and then expecting it to run well or for a long time.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water (the best option) or unsweetened beverages. It is ok to drink tea or coffee sweetened with stevia, just don’t overdo the caffeine. Do NOT drink sweet tea, regular soda, or sugary electrolyte/energy drinks.
A planned small “splurge” a couple times a week (such as a piece of dark chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, or a glass wine) is ok if you can keep it under control. If you can’t keep it small, then you may have to consider abstaining from that particular treat.
For the record, women should not drink more than 7 servings of alcohol a week – any more will be harmful to your liver and your metabolism (Men should limit it to under 15 servings).
When eating out, remember that you are the customer – don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions (i.e. double veggie sides, sandwiches served on a big lettuce leaf instead of with bread).
Staying active is also important. If you currently are not doing anything for exercise, start by walking 10 minutes a day for a week or two and gradually increase the time and the speed so that eventually you are doing the equivalent of 2 hours of exercise a week at a minimum. For those of you already doing this, I suggest adding in cardio exercises and light weights at least twice a week. This will help build muscle which increases metabolism, helps to protect the joints in your back and legs, and decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia.
Make sure you are getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep deprivation slows down metabolism, increases stress and puts you at increased risk for multiple health problems.
Think of healthy eating, regular exercise, and other healthy habits as a new lifestyle that you adhere to for the rest of your life. It is a journey toward becoming well and staying well. God has entrusted us with these bodies and we are to handle these treasures well and carefully by being good stewards and bringing Him glory with the choices we make.
It’s a guaranteed certainty that you will fail along the way. Every healthy person has failed at some point. Just get back on track and continue moving forward. Learn to forgive setbacks and refuse to beat yourself up.
In Hebrews we read: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.