A Biblical Perspective of Wellness
I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)
Your body is a gift from God and you are personally responsible for it. Honouring your body is a spiritual practice and an act of worship to One who created you.
There is something quite wonderful about the human body; we are, after all, carrying the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Christian spirituality is flesh and blood spirituality, our bodies are places where the presence of God can be experienced. We don’t just have bodies, we are bodies; we are created body, mind and soul together. Not caring for your body can therefore have a drain on your spiritual life.
Your body as a living sacrifice
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1 (NLT)
When we hear and respond to the gospel, the first response that God requires of us it to present our bodies; our body is a vessel for our spirit and soul so without including our body, we have made an incomplete surrender to God. When you present your body, God renews you in your mind and with a renewed mind you will begin to discover God’s will for your life. Once you have surrendered your body to God as a living sacrifice, you no longer own it; you are a steward of your body and will be answerable to God for the way in which you have treated it.
In prayer and worship there is something in our spirit that connects more with physical manifestation, not just mental focus. People may for example sway, clap, kneel, cry and/or raise hands to God. Our bodies are an important part of our relationship with God.
Your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit
Don’t you realize that your body is a 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)
Once we have invited the Holy Spirit into our life he dwells in our body, we should therefore treat our bodies in the same way that we would treat any other dwelling place of God – with reverence and respect. Do not worship your body but worship God with your body. Your body may be an idol to you if you spend too much of your time and energy thinking about how to cater to it; how to feed it, clothe it and make it more attractive etc. It is important that you have balance between connecting with your body and not worshipping it.
Be aware of your body, live in your body, thank God for your body and care for your body.
How are you caring for this gift of a body? Are you present in your body and giving it the attention that it needs?
The significance of the resurrected body
[Jesus] took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieves and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (NLT)
When we share in communion we remember the physical sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Our Christian faith is based on the miraculous fact that his physical body was crucified, died and then resurrected three days later. This physical act of sacrifice was required for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus sacrificed his body so that our souls could be redeemed.
Biblical guidance on caring for your body
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Isaiah 55:2 (NLT)
In other words, eat food that is good for you, that will nourish you and that won’t contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. Let your soul delight itself in abundance and care for it in the way that you eat. If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t be eating you will find some practical information here.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)
Is it possible to glorify God by overeating, drinking too much alcohol or being idle with our bodies?
Where to go from here
The practice of honouring our bodies isn’t about glorifying our body, it’s about glorifying God
- Look after your body by eating the right food, exercising regularly and having any medical investigations or procedures that are required.
- Listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain, tension, restriction of movement etc. your body is telling you there is something not right. Pay attention to what is going on and act on it.
- Pray in your body. Use your body to worship God.
- Love your body. Don’t reject your body because it isn’t as perfect as you would like it to be, one day it will be perfect (Philippians 3:21). Your body is beautiful in all of its seasons and transitions; from birth to childhood to adolescence, pregnancy, older age and everything in between.
- Appreciate your body
- When you exercise acknowledge God’s creative power and thank him for blessing you with the ability to move in that way
- When you enjoy good food thank God for his provision
- When you wash yourself appreciate the beauty and vulnerability of the human body
- When you you experience the loving touch of family and friends thank God for those relationships
- Trust your body. Listen to it as it tells you what is energising and life giving and what is draining and harmful, and act accordingly.
Remember that dieting is not a remedy for poor health – the only effective remedy is to live a healthful lifestyle. To support your efforts in adopting a healthier lifestyle you could include in your grace prayer “help me to eat wisely”.
If you are a parent you have a great responsibility to
- Teach your children how to eat well
- Train your children in good eating and exercise habits
- Set good examples of exercise.