Sunday was a wonderful day, as we elected four new Elders; got ready to launch our Walk to Jerusalem, and dedicated our Prayer Walk given to us by Jamie Roinick for his Eagle Scout Project!
And this Sunday will even more extraordinarily wonderful, as we give our Fifth Sunday Offering – building a solid foundation for the future of our Family; and begin our Walk to Jerusalem – building a Ministry of Wellness of Mind, Body, and Spirit for our families and our Family!
Honoring Our Body
On Sunday, we continued our Series on Wellness, hearing God’s Word revealing to us that our bodies belong to Him; our bodies are His Temple; and we honor Him with our bodies by being good stewards, by what we put into our bodies, and by being active with our bodies, receiving His blessings of Wellness when we do. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- God wants to transform our lives by our honoring our bodies. Too often we assume that God is not interested in our bodies. But this is a myth. The Bible (from Genesis through Paul’s letters) is filled with prescriptions and urgings of how to treat and use our bodies.
- Unfortunately, many Americans are not honoring their bodies: 70% of Americans are obese or overweight; we spend $36 billion on diet products and services (most of which have no lasting value); our overweight and underactive lifestyles result in high rates of diseases, leading to over 340,000 deaths last year; we are leaders in the world with drug and alcohol abuse – and when our bodies suffer, our jobs, relationships, energy, life-styles, lives, suffer…. This is not what God wants. And it is time for the church to speak out and offer a path to the wellness He wants for our bodies.
- Paul’s letter offers that path from this self-imposed suffering to wellness, by answering three questions. The First Question is this: Who owns your body? The Answer: God! Paul says: “Your body is not your own. You were bought at a price.” As Christians, we affirm that God created us, and when we severed our relationship with Him through sin, He bought us back at a price, the suffering and death of Jesus; we belong to God through him – not just in some spiritual way, but in all ways. As The Message puts it: “God owns the whole works!”
- And our bodies belong to God in a special way – Our bodies are “the Temple of God!” The word that Paul uses for Temple means the inner sanctuary, where the Israelites believed that God lives; where only the High Priest could go, after he had cleansed Himself of anything not acceptable to God; then kneeled and worshipped God and sacrificed to Him. When we look at our bodies, we are looking at a sacred place, where God is to be worshipped and sacrifices made. If we will remember this truth every time that we make a decision about how to treat our bodies, He will guide our decisions – to His healthier decisions….
- Which leads us to the Second Question: What does God want us to do with our bodies? The Answer: “Honor God with your bodies!” This means that we are stewards of our bodies – God owns them; God loans them to us. We have experienced this relationship when we borrow a car from someone. We treat it with respect and deference to the desires of the owner. It is the same way with God, even more – For He has given us a “brand new car,” one-of-a-kind, costing a high price, that He loves. God cares with all of His heart how we use it. His heart is filled with joy when we honor Him with our use of it; His heart breaks when we don’t.
- There are many ways to honor God with our bodies. We focused on two key ways. The first is this: Put only what is healthy and in healthy amounts in your body. Paul says in other verses in Corinthians: “What you eat and drink must be to the glory of God; There is no excuse for stuffing your body with food.”
- I am not an expert on healthy diets, but I do know this: (a) our bodies feel different depending on what and how much we put in our bodies; (b) there are those who fill their bodies with drugs, alcohol, and pain killers, and their lives and relationships are being destroyed; (c) some of our members have made decisions to honor God with their bodies by eating only healthy foods in healthy amounts, as one of our members reported, “I have lost weight, my blood pressure has gone from dangerously high to healthy low, I am a different person!” Do you want your body to be well, to be healthier, then honor God with what you put into your body!
- And honor God by “moving” – walking, running, being active in whatever way you can! We know that this is good for us, because we feel better when we get moving; because 86% of us responded to our Wellness Survey that “We want to be more active.”
- If we set aside time to be active, we know that we honor God with our bodies, because He has put into our bodies a powerful, health-giving drug, called “endorphins” that are created when we are active (from just 30 minutes of walking). They give us amazing health-giving blessings: increase energy; reduce stress and pain; prevent disease; relieve depression; improve memory and thinking; control craving for addictive substances; make us happier.
- I am living testimony to the power of this God-given health gift. I leave Sunday depleted, go for a run, and am totally re-charged. And, from a different life perspective, one of our members shared their story with me: They are suffering from a serious illness; their doctor got them involved in an exercise program; two weeks later they reported that they felt so much better; and six weeks later reported – “I have so much more energy, I am so much more positive, so much more hopeful…”
- Do you want your body to be well, healthier, then honor God with your body by getting active – and let God do the rest.
- If that is what you want, then, Third Question: How do we start, or begin from where we are now? The answer: Just start! And the good news is that our Family is offering us the opportunity to take that first step, to honor God with our bodies, as we begin the Walk to Jerusalem. Do not underestimate the importance and impact of that first step. Myrtle’s story is too long to repeat here (listen on our website), but she was transformed from an overweight, low self-esteem, trouble-maker, by taking a first step with Girls on the Run. Her transformation reached a peak when she stopped and helped another runner, causing her to finish last in “The Big Run” – and she was ecstatic, exclaiming to her mother: “I am so happy; I get what our coaches have been telling us, by honoring our bodies, everything about us changes; I am healthy now in every way….”
- Do you want this for yourself, someone you love? Then honor God with your one-of-a-kind body that He has given you – get moving, and let Him do the rest!
Connection for the Week: Take a first step this Sunday by joining our Family on our Walk to Jerusalem; honor God along the way by what you put into your body and by keeping moving; and experience His blessings of Wellness and greater health as you do.