Did you know that the word “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts”? That seems like a holy combination. I mean, who doesn’t like desserts? But sometimes desserts don’t like us when it comes to the extra calories and pounds they can produce. Now, there’s nothing wrong with desserts in moderation and proper portions but I want to discuss a more healthy you – and that involves more than limiting the number of banana puddings and DQ Blizzards you eat (notice I said limit not eliminate). I used to respond to stress and worry with food. Sometimes it’s not what you eat but what’s eating you (stress/worry) that can lead to bad health. Getting a healthy plan for life and dealing with stress properly will lead to a longer, fuller, and more focused life in Christ.
What you do with your body is important. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God. He bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory.” That verse has always reminded me my body isn’t made for me and my purposes but for God and His purposes. Now, I’ve always interpreted those verses to mean stay away from drunkenness, sexual sin, abusive drugs, and other obvious body sins, but what about honoring God with what I eat and how much I exercise? Honoring God with my body is really about consecrating or setting apart my body for God’s purposes. Just as I would take my schedule, money, home, or car and allow God to use it for His purposes, I should have the same view when it comes to my body. Keeping my body in the best shape possible is honoring to the Lord but also allows me the energy and ability to do more of His will.
We all need to eat a balanced diet (I’m not perfect at this). A balanced diet is not a donut in each hand. An exercise plan is profitable as well. But some of us are in the Fitness Protection Plan – hiding out from anything strenuous. Setting yourself apart so God can use you (sanctification) means keeping your body as healthy as possible. Even good sleeping habits contribute to an overall good health. God desires us to be spiritually healthy but physically healthy as well. I think they are connected. I try to stay away from soft drinks, eat a lighter lunch, and push back from desserts. For the last few years I’ve enjoyed playing basketball and running. These really reduce my stress level. I’ve slowly increased my run time and distance and am training for my first marathon. Now, I’m not at a marathon pace yet (far from it) but with proper training over the next several weeks and I’ll be there. But isn’t that how anything else is developed? Small, consistent, wise steps lead to the changes you want. That’s the heart of discipleship – daily growth in Christ.
Why do all of this? It does make me feel better and have more energy but the main reason I do it is to honor God with my body so I can use it to accomplish more of His will for my life. “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12) is a good healthy-life verse. Nothing will be my master but Christ. If God created my body (v. 12-13), Jesus died for my body (v. 15, 20), and the Holy Spirit lives in my body (v. 19), maybe I should take my body a little more seriously. It’s not just about looking and feeling good but honoring God and doing all I can for Him.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.