Juggling the balls of life, faith, family, friends, health, and work, is difficult at times because they all desire so much of our attention. But we have learned that if we don’t prioritize faith as the #1 ball, we are assured we will let the other 4 balls drop.
The faith ball plays such an important role in the success of the other 4. Without faith, we fail to know what God desires for the family. Without faith, we fail to see what God desires in friendships. Without faith, we fail to discover what God desires for health.
Faith shows us that family, when done God’s way, will result in a family that has success and finds peace. And God’s way is having wives who respect and submit to their husbands, husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and children who obey their parents.
Yet the success of the family relies heavily upon the husband because he should be displaying the greatest love ever shown. Removing the influence of Satan in a relationship, you give me a husband who loves his wife in the same way that Christ loved the church, and you will see wives that willing submit unto the husband’s leadership and children who will obey.
Faith also shows us that friendships, Godly friendships, are critical to our encouragement, our strength, and our resolve to persevere in our faith. Satan will always try and stop Godly friendships from connecting. He does this to keep us alone and vulnerable – to keep us weak and open for attack. And so faith reminds us that if we want to stop from becoming the Devil’s prey, we must seek friendships that will remind us of our relationship with God.
But today, we’re going to look at how faith shows us what God desires for our health. And though the scripture doesn’t lay out a specific diet or an exercise regiment for all to follow, it does share with us some very important principles regarding what we do with our bodies, which ultimately effects our health.
Though the jest of what Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20 is about sexual immorality, there are 3 verses that I want us to focus on in regard to our bodies, our health.
Verse 12….. “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.”
Paul was making it very clear to the Church by saying, “You have freedom of choice. So you’re free to drink, to smoke, to get high, to lust, to fornicate, to commit adultery, to overindulge, to beautify your body with what culture says is beautiful – to do whatever you feel like doing whenever you feel like doing it – but not everything you are free to do is beneficial for you and can actually come to control you. In fact, that’s why God said not to do them in the first place – to protect you from your own selfish desires.”
A couple chapters later, in discussing food that has been sacrificed to idols, he gives us a godly principle that covers over all areas of life: “Be careful, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak in faith. For if what you do in your freedom causes someone to fall into sin and wounds his/her faith, then you have sinned against Christ. Therefore, if what I am free to do causes someone else to sin, then I will deny myself these freedoms so that I will not cause him/her to fall.”
In other words, he was saying this Godly principle, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”
But freedom in Christ isn’t really free when you consider the costs of what God is asking you to sacrifice. Freedom in Christ comes with self-denial, yet alleviates me from becoming a slave to the things I so desire to do. Freedom in Christ improves my health, both mentally and physically.
It all makes sense:
- If I never drink, I never have to worry about becoming an alcoholic.
- If I never smoke or take a stimulating drug, I never have to worry about being addicted to a substance.
- If I deny myself from lusting over sexual desires, my chances of fornicating or committing adultery are reduced drastically.
- If I never beautify my body with the means that are out there, then I never become consumed with the idea of wanting more and more.
- If I deny myself my freedoms, I never have to worry about causing someone else to fall into sin.
But after Paul addresses freedom, he then reminds the Church in verses 19 & 20 the reason why self-denial is a must: “Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.”
What makes these verses so hard for us to grasp is that we all know the pain and struggles our bodies face; some of it due to the choices we have made and some of it due to the curse of sin handed down from generation to generation. I know we want to be healthy. I know we want “6-pack abs” and “buns of steel”. I know we want our diseases to go away. I know we want to feel good again. But, we cannot lose sight that because God gave His best to us in His Son, we are to give our best to Him in honoring Him with our bodies.
We were bought at a price – the price of Jesus Christ crucified. And because Jesus did this while we were still part of this fallen, cursed world, he paid the ransom to save you and me from our execution day.
Paul was saying, “Everything is permissible, but you who claim Christ, you who have been given the Holy Spirit, no longer are free to do what you want to do. Jesus paid for your soul; therefore He is your master. And Jesus wants you to do only those things that will keep you healthy, your family healthy, and your friends healthy. Honor God with your body by obeying His commandments.”
And because Jesus paid the price for us we should want to give him our best – our best in everything we do; from what and how we eat, to how we exercise and train, to what we take in and do to our bodies.
You see; our body is not really our body anymore once we accept the ransom paid on our behalf. We no longer belong to our desires and ourselves. We now belong to Christ and His desires, which means we pursue the best for our health and body so we can live out our faith to its fullest.