Some Christians have been criticized for not caring enough about their health in the here-and-now. You know, being “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” Many Christian groups have lower rates of tobacco and alcohol use than non-Christians, and that is good. But other studies indicate that those who attend church regularly are more likely to be obese. And mental health challenges are common among Christians as well. Those are just a few items, but it seems Christians on the whole do not have a very good track record for being healthy.
Could it be that:
- Christians think their faith will keep them healthy even though they may not live a healthy lifestyle?
- Christians are less interested in being healthy here since they believe this life is temporary anyway, and heaven awaits?
- Christians hope or expect God to heal them if they develop a health problem?
Let’s put one question behind us. Your eternal destiny is not dependent on your body mass index, whether your fingers are nicotine-stained, what medications you take, or what disease(s) you have or don’t have when you die. Where you spend eternity is decided based on your relationship with God through His Son Jesus. We’re not talking heaven or hell when we talk about health here: we’re very much talking about earth.
You’ve surely heard or read the Scripture passages people often refer to when talking about health: your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, etc. (1 Cor. 6:19,20, and others) But the way such passages are usually used is very narrow. There are some very large reasons Christians should care about their health.
Living healthy involves much more than diet and exercise. It involves your thinking and attitudes, the quality of your relationships, and a growing spiritual vitality. Doing all you can to maximize your health leads to these results:
- You are more effective. God can and does use anyone who will allow Him to do so. But whatever God has given you to do, you can do so more efficiently and effectively with a clear mind, healthy body, and strong personal relationships.
- You are a positive advertisement for God’s Kingdom. Who are you more likely to want to be like; someone who is angry, sick, tired, miserable, and lonely, or someone who is positive, energetic, kind, healthy, and friendly? Remember that you are the only gospel some will ever read.
- You hear God’s voice better. Having a mind that is clear, healthy, alert, and not clogged with toxins puts you in a much better position to understand God’s Word and hear His voice directly.
- You experience God’s restoration now. Sin broke everything about us – our physical health, our emotions and thinking, our relationships with people, and our connection with God. Working together with God to maximize every part of your health allows much of His restoring power to work in your life here and now.
- You worship God in doing so. God created you in His image, and re-created you again in saving you. He deserves and asks for your worship in return. Presenting your whole being to Him in worship involves caring for every aspect of your body, mind, and soul. (See Rom 12:1,2)
Yes, Christians must care about their health. The implications are truly out of this world!
Your turn: What connection do you believe physical, mental/emotional, and relationship health have with your spiritual life? Are there other reasons Christians should care about their health? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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