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Where does health fit into the walk with Jesus? After all, if Jesus is the great healer, then why do we have to worry about our health? Eat and drink and wear anything we want and God will take care of us. He will keep us healthy! So eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!
However, the Bible is more nuanced. God’s wisdom is so deep, so broad, so high no human can even begin to mine the depth of His knowledge and wisdom. Yet, in His great love for us, He has given us, in His Word, truths that need to be understood in all their fullness.
Jesus is our example in every detail of life. Jesus and Jesus only. Our bodies are to be living sacrifices for the good of the world. Never are we to think about “what I want”. Our obligation is, “What does God require?” “What is my obligation to God?” “What is my duty?” That was the life and example of Jesus. He came to restore mankind to the image, health and character of God. We must follow His example.
Let’s start with a very plain statement by Jesus. He is very emphatic and wants you to understand a very basic principle in the Christian life. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:24
The “church” of Christ’s time was very concerned about what you ate, drank and wore. In order to be a good, upstanding member of their religious “clique”, you had to “measure up” to their organization’s requirements. “Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?’” Matthew 15:1
Jesus came to break the yoke of “church” power over you. You are not to answer to any church or man-made organization. You are to answer to Jesus and Jesus only. Your salvation is only in Jesus. No one else is to judge you by what you eat, drink and wear since your salvation is in Jesus only.
However, Jesus created the human body and your health and physical well being is very important to Jesus and should be very important to you. We are not to worry about what we eat, drink and wear for man’s benefit, but we should be aware of our duty to Jesus.
“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.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
We are to honor God with our bodies since they belong to Him. He created them. He died for them and soon He will come back to redeem them. Therefore, we are to honor God with them. But we are never to surrender our bodies or our minds to the will of fanatics or church bodies for the sake of “trying to be like others” or for our salvation. Food and clothing will never save you. We are never to “worry” about what others think. We are never to worry about what others eat, drink or wear. Each is responsible to God and God alone for his/her salvation. Food will not get you eternal life.
But since God created us, there are important concepts we must be willing to acknowledge. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
Sacrifice as Jesus did. That is the principle of all of life. If we are spending money, time and energy in trying to be like the world: eating what the world or church says you should eat, wearing what the world or the church says you should wear and drinking what the world or the church says you should drink, than you are not listening to Jesus and following His example. Moderation in all things.
“Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’” John 5:14
This is a very important lesson. We are not to worry about what the world says, but we must be very careful to be obedient to what God says. Sin brings disease, pain and death. So God has given us health principles to lessen the impact of sin in our lives.
If we are eating for self-gratification, we are not following the example of Jesus of sacrifice in our lives and therefore we are sinning. Sinful eating will result in sinful consequences. If we are wearing clothes for self-gratification, we are not following the example of Jesus of sacrifice in our lives and therefore we are sinning. Sinful wearing of clothes will result in sinful consequences. If we are drinking for self-gratification, we are not following the example of Jesus of sacrifice in our lives and therefore we are sinning. Sinful drinking will result in sinful consequences.
However, if we are eating, drinking and wearing clothes as Jesus did, simply to fulfill the necessities of life, sacrificing for the good of others, then we are living as Jesus did and our characters are then being trained for Heaven. That is how Jesus trained Himself for Heaven. We are to follow His example. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him . . .”. Hebrews 5:7-9
What we eat, drink and wear is very important to our health. Since these bodies belong to Jesus, we must live in every aspect of our lives to bring glory to Jesus and not ourselves. We don’t worry about these things for our salvation, but we do live as Jesus lived: sacrificially.
However, on a broader level, we need to go back to the basics that Jesus gave us in the Garden of Eden. By reading Genesis you will find the original foods God gave to mankind to keep him healthy and happy: nuts, fruits, grains and vegetables.
What we eat affects our minds. What affects our characters. Our character is the only thing going to Heaven. The whole purpose of our life on this planet is to prepare our characters for Heaven. Anything that interferes with that purpose will destroy us. When Jesus comes, He will not change our characters. He will set them beyond all change. Therefore, it is the Christians highest duty to eat, drink and wear only that which will develop a character of self-sacrifice, purity, holiness, kindness, love, respect, duty, self-control and peace.
If what you are eating, drinking and wearing is developing within you pride, arrogance, selfishness, rudeness, disrespect for others and no self-control - you are dishonoring Christ and will not be joining Him in Heaven.
Your wealth does not belong to you. Your talents, skills and mental acuteness do not belong to you. Anything and everything you posses is because of the sacrifice in life and death of Jesus. You owe Him everything. If this world and what it promotes: eating, drinking and wearing - is more important to you than your duty and responsibility to Jesus in developing a perfect, righteous, sinless and holy life, be prepared to hear from Jesus: depart from me you wicked servant.
The health principles that God has laid down for us: how to eat, how to drink, how to wear clothes and how you exercise are all principles given for the development of our characters. If you eat, drink, wear clothes and exercise for any other reason you will not make it to Heaven. Our peace, joy and happiness in this life and in the next to come are influenced by our health habits.
The teachings of Jesus and Jesus only are to be our guide of living. Jesus taught us to be perfect in everything we do. He commands us to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to keep our eternal life. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31