Built To Last
Intentionally living a health-conscious life.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1: 2
The Bible is a foodie’s dream book. A land flowing with milk and honey. Jars of oil and flour that never run dry. The promise to be fishers of men. Breakfast on the beach with Jesus. When I read the Bible, one thing is certain – God is for food!
Our guidebook for life gives us so many ideas on eating healthy and enjoying life.
In season one, episode four, I used the Garden of Eden as inspiration to make great dishes. These recipes are healthy and delicious. I also visited my friend, Kristie Sexton, at Dream City Church, in northern Phoenix, Arizona. She invited me to her free boot camp where she provides group classes to help people in her church. Together, they achieve their health and fitness goals.
Here are five spiritual principles I’ve learned about God through healthy living:
1) God cares about your body.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalms 139:13-14
We go to great lengths talking about God’s care for our Spirit. God does care about your Spirit. But God also cares about your body. He made you a physical being for a reason. He gave you a tangible, physical body with eardrums, taste buds, muscles, and nerves. Your health matters to Him.
My friend Paul Bernitt with Trivita Wellness Center once told me:
“You wouldn’t put trash on the altar of God, so why would you put it in your body?”
Being physically active can be as spiritual as praying every day. Both build and restore God’s house. Both create a healthy space for Him to dwell. Both are important.
2) God’s motives and standards are always good.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
God, by nature, is good. Good finds its origin in God. And since good is defined by God, everything God does is good.
So when God gave Adam and Eve their diet, it was a good diet. That was the optimal food for their bodies to thrive. He knew what would give them the most energy, mental clarity, and fulfillment.
God also gave Adam and Eve limits. They lived in a perfect world, but still had restrictions. God told them not to eat the fruit of one tree. Boundaries existed before the fall, which means boundaries are healthy and good.
Just like God was for Adam and Eve, God is for you. He wants to see you healthy and successful. He sets you up for success by giving you guideposts. These guide posts ensure you experience the optimal quality of life.
God created you to last. And so that you can last, you may have to say “no” to some things so you can say “yes” to health and freedom. You may need to change the things you eat and drink. You might have to increase your physical activity. You may need to change your sleeping habits. These are all good things that yield great results.
God also created pleasure. It wouldn’t make sense for Him to stifle the very thing He created and called good without a good reason. So we know that when God gives us a boundary, it is for our good. He does not put unreasonable restrictions on us.
And on that note, my boundaries may be different than yours. I know my body, and my body has limits. I know that when I eat refined sugar, I’m going to have neck tension that will lead to headaches. So I limit my sugar intake. That’s my boundary. It might not be yours, and that’s okay.
You will know your boundaries like I know mine. We have to listen to our body’s intuition. These are inward checks and balances that God created for our good.
Think of it like the check engine light that comes on in your car. The car manufacturer put that there so you knew it was time to pay attention and adjust something. God built us the same. When we have aches and pains that we can’t explain, it’s His check engine light in us.
God says in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still and know that I am God.”
This verse also applies to our body. It would be beneficial to pause, reflect, be quiet, and listen to His still small voice. He will guide you so you will know where you need to adjust, so your body can run the way He created it.
If God is asking you to do something, it’s for a good reason. It will only benefit you to do what He says.
3) God already set things right when He took the curse on the cross.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’ Galatians 3:13
The world may feel fallen but the cross sets things right.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23
This verse tells me that the groaning stopped when God adopted us as sons and daughters. That happened at the cross. Which means, we have access to everything that Jesus paid for here and now. God has already redeemed your body.
Why do you live like you’re a casualty of the fall when you have been set right? You have two options. You can live your life blaming a curse that no longer exists, or you can receive the blessing Jesus died to give you.
Either the cross was enough, or it wasn’t. Either Jesus paid for it, or he didn’t. And if you think you’re still fallen, then you live like the cross wasn’t enough for you. You can complain about the curse or choose the blessing.
With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it right out loud: “God has set everything right between Him and me!” Romans 10:10 (MSG)
In Heaven, we will have a new body. It will be free of all sickness and pain. But you can also live that way today. Why wait to enter the kingdom, when it already exists here?
Paul says in Romans 10:10 that you embrace God setting things right with your whole being. That includes your physical being. Part of embracing God setting things right is living that best version of yourself now. You can experience wholeness in your body now. You can live a vibrant and healthy life.
This is why Jesus prayed, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
God has asked you to carry His message to the earth. When you live the Kingdom today, you are better equipped to fulfill that Great Commission. You are His demonstration to the world that God has already set things right. Let your body be a reflection of that truth.
4) God gives you the grace to make the right choice.
I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days. Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Jesus paid for everything so you could live an optimal life. But you make the choice whether you will experience it.
Our daily choices reflect our beliefs. If we believe that we have something missing, we will look to meet that need with something else. That’s where most poor choices originate. But those choices will always leave us wanting more.
Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst. But the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:13
When we recognize that nothing is missing, we can enjoy healthy choices. We won’t feel restricted by saying “no” because we already have everything we need.
Tell yourself today: “I am righteous. I have everything I need in Jesus. The love of God completes me. I am capable of making the right choice because I am already whole.”
In John 10:10, Jesus said that He came so we can have an abundant life. But you choose your capacity to receive His abundance.
Sometimes, we over-spiritualize the results of our poor choices. We eat junk and then think the devil zapped our energy. There is a spiritual world, but some of our problems may be more physical than ethereal.
Have you tried clean eating? Are you drinking enough water? Did you sleep last night? If the answer is no, then for the love of God, please take a nap. You might feel better. And the people around you will thank you, too.
The key to abundant life is intentional living. Am I intentional about the choices I make? Have I done everything I know to do? Am I relying on God’s grace to fill the gap between what I can and can’t do? God’s strength will always cover my weakness. So if that thing is not covered, then it might not be a weakness. Maybe God has equipped me to make the right choice.
God gives me the grace I need to make the right choice.
5) God redeems and restores.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. Joel 2:25
If there’s anything I’ve learned about optimal living and health, it’s that God is a restorer. He can end, in a moment, the consequences of years of our unhealthy choices. He can instantly and supernaturally restore our bodies. He will make right, the things that we did wrong.
There is no mistake beyond the realm of God’s healing and grace. Not one.
People will tell you that you will reap what you sow. They will say you should expect to endure the consequences of your choices. But Jesus said in John 4:37-38 that you will reap where you did not sow. There will be areas of your life where you did the wrong things, but God will give you the right things. You will experience a harvest in a place you did not build.
Because of His grace.
God is big enough to redeem and restore the places in your life that feel broken or beyond repair. He can reverse the damage. Nothing is too far gone.
So don’t carry the guilt or shame of your past. Bring it to Jesus. Set it at the cross, and walk away free.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I want to hear from you! Share your #JesusMoments in the comments, below!
How do you plan to experience optimal living this year?