How Are You Shaping Up?

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So you must honour God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NLT).

Your physical well-being is important to God. How are you treating your body? The way you look after yourself is as much a spiritual matter as anything else.

When God looks at you, He doesn’t just see your spirit, He sees your body as well. How are you shaping up? When God created the first man and woman He looked at His creation and said, “… that it was excellent in every way” Genesis 1:31 (NLT). I wonder what God would say today, given the poor shape some people are in?

Experts say that about one-third of children and youth and about two-thirds of adults in North America are overweight. Fast food restaurants, remote controls, and desk bound jobs are taking a toll on our lives. The result? Poor diet and physical inactivity is now the leading cause of death in North America.

Did you know your body belongs to God? “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT).

How do you honour God with your body? There are three things you must do:

  1. Eat right. Isaiah 55:2 says, “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good ” (NIV). What’s going into your stomach? In order to eat right, you’ve got to know what you’re eating. Once you’ve worked out what you’re eating, you’ll probably need to make some dietary changes. When Daniel arrived in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace he took an inventory of what was being served, didn’t like what he saw, and asked the chief eunuch if he could have something else to eat (cf. Daniel 1:8). On the new diet of vegetables, after just ten days, he looked noticeably healthier than the other young men at the kings court (cf. Daniel 1:12-16). You may need to do what Daniel did. You may need to change your diet.

If you want fullness of life, you need to get the “F” foods organized. Here’s my simple three point strategy: Cut back on saturated fats found in fast and fried foods. Add more fruit, fish, and fiber. Drink lots of fresh water. And some common sense: A healthy diet doesn’t start in the kitchen, it starts in the supermarket. If you buy unhealthy food, that’s what you bring into your home. So exercise discipline in the supermarket. Buy fewer processed foods. Spend more time in the fruit and vegetable aisle and try to avoid the pop and snack-food aisle. And, serve and eat smaller portions.

  1. Exercise often. Could you benefit from some exercise? Exercise is essential if you’re going to honour God with your body. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “Physical exercise has some value” (NLT). Scientists tell us that exercise increases metabolism, raises energy levels, reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, maintains good circulation, and improves one’s sex life!

Do you find yourself running out of steam by mid afternoon? Exercise. Get those endorphins working for you. Is your neck or back knotted with daily hassles? Exercise. Loosen those muscles. Do you have problems with poor circulation, heart disease, or high blood pressure? Exercise. Get the blood pumping. Do you collapse into bed and say, “Not tonight honey – I’m pooped!” Exercise. Surprise your husband or wife. Get those hormones back up to speed.

Now I know. You may be one of those people who hears the word “exercise” and you inwardly groan. But it’s not horrible or expensive to stay healthy. Here are five things that work: Do the things you like doing, vary your activities, build exercise into your daily activities, exercise with friends, and listen to music while you’re exercising. Whatever you do, you should try to do it at least three times a week, for at least twenty minutes each time, in an activity that significantly increases your heart rate.

  1. Reduce stress. My doctor tells me that in his estimation 80 percent of his patients have illnesses directly related to stress. Are you feeling stressed? Are you balancing busy times with rest and recovery times? Here are three practical things that work for me: Get a good eight hours of sleep and get to bed earlier rather than later. Take a full day off work once a week. You need an uninterrupted twenty-four hour period to recharge your batteries. Laugh lots. Someone once said, “He who laughs, lasts.” True words. I find the more I laugh, the more I forget about the things that could weigh me down.

And here’s one spiritual thing that works for me: Take your stress to God. He doesn’t want you carrying it. He’s waiting to take the load off. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” (NLT). That’s the bottom line. I give my worries and cares to God. And guess what? When I give Him my worries and cares He looks after me – He keeps my body healthy.

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