This is a guest post from Amy Duggins, author of Created to Thrive: A Biblical Guide to Becoming the Woman Designed You to Be
As believers in Jesus Christ, God's very spirit dwells within us. Most of us know this in a theological sense, but have we ever really contemplated the magnanimity of this fact? The Spirit of God. The God who set every star into place and gave breath to each individual creature that roams this Earth. The Spirit of God. The Spirit that gave life to our Savior Jesus Christ and then raised Him from the dead.
Lives in us.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
What an amazing truth this is! Yet with this, comes an incredible responsibility. The responsibility to care for our bodies and honor them as the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit.
Many of us have a tendency to disconnect our physical self from our spiritual life. We don’t view caring for our bodies as a spiritual practice. We worship God with our spirits, but we don’t consider how we can also honor Him with our bodies.
Yet, Scripture is very clear that not only should caring for our bodies be considered an act of worship, it is something we are all commanded to do.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1Corinthians 6:19
The word bought in the Greek is the word agorazo which means to redeem, to ransom, to purchase and gain possession of something. When Christ died for us on the cross, He made the ultimate transaction: His life for ours. He gave all of Himself for us. And we give all of ourselves to Him. Every bit of ourselves. Mind, body, and soul.
The latest statistics reveal that 160 million Americans are overweight. 70% are on at least one medication, and 20% are on five meds or more. More than 40% suffer from chronic illness. Now, I’m no math whiz but since 65% of Americans identify as Christians, it is safe to assume that many in the body of Christ are suffering as a direct result of not honoring God with their bodies.
In fact, Scripture warns us that this very thing will happen.
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:17
This is a tough Scripture to swallow. I have spent much time reflecting and praying upon it, and I have come away with two things.
The first is that God is holy. This is the same God who told Moses to take off his sandals, as a sign of respect for His holiness (Exodus 3:5). The same God who caused the prophet Isaiah to declare: “Woe is me, for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 5:26).
When people disrespected God’s temple in the Old Testament, they were literally killed on the spot (2 Samuel 6:7). We sometimes forget that we serve the same God. Although God is our Abba (Daddy) Father, full of love and grace, we must also remember that He is holy, to be revered at all times. His temple must be respected.
The second is that, because we are under a new covenant of grace, one act of disrespect will not get us killed as it did in the Old Testament. (I’m certainly grateful for this because I would have been toast long ago.) Yet, this does not mean that we are free from the consequences of our sin.
When we sin against our bodies repeatedly, the natural progression of that sin leads to sickness and disease. God allows these consequences as a direct result of our choice not to honor our bodies as His temple. In essence, we reap what we sow.
Now to the practical stuff.
Healthy living is a lifestyle. It takes dedication, commitment, and time. It is not a crash diet or an instant fix. Honoring God with our bodies means we make conscious decisions about what we allow into them. It involves researching where our food comes from, preparing wholesome meals, and eliminating environmental toxins.
80% of the diseases prevalent today can be remedied through proper diet and nutrition. In fact, the best health care will always be preventative health care. When we eat right and avoid toxins, we will reap the health benefits. God has given us everything we need in nature to survive and thrive.
We serve such an amazing God! He has designed our bodies in such a way that they will heal themselves and run at optimal health when they are treated properly. So how do we treat our bodies properly?
1. Drink water. Dehydration is the root cause of many health issues. Drink half your weight in ounces per day to avoid dehydration. Avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks that dehydrate the body.
2. Limit packaged, processed goods and fast food. Focus on real foods: fruits, veggies, meat, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and whole grains.
3. Replace non-stick pans with stainless steel or cast iron. Toxins in non-stick pans are a known carcinogen and health disruptor.
4. Always choose organic produce when dealing with the dirty dozen: Berries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes. These are the most highly sprayed with pesticides. I also add wheat and corn products to my organic-only list.
5. Limit screen time. Negative EMF's from our devices disrupt the frequencies in our bodies leading to anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, and in some cases more serious health issues.
6. Avoid artificial fragrances. Artificial fragrance wreaks havoc on the respiratory system and is also a hormone disruptor. Choose products that are fragrance-free or naturally scented.
7. Before choosing conventional medicine get to the root cause of your health problems. Medicine does not treat the cause, it only manages the symptoms. Many times disease is a result of vitamin and mineral deficiency or toxic overload. Consult a functional medicine or holistic doctor for whole-body wellness and healing before turning to conventional medicine.
8. Avoid refined sugar. Choose raw honey or pure maple syrup as a sweetener and drastically limit intake of products that contain refined sugar. Sugar feeds cancer cells and impairs the immune system.
9. Become a label reader. Be knowledgeable about everything that enters your body. Avoid preservatives, artificial flavors, food dyes, MSG, and trans-fats in your food. Avoid phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and aluminum in your personal care products.
10. Purchase meat and dairy from ethical farms. The animals should be pastured, given plenty of space to roam, and fed the way their Creator intended them to be fed. The animals should not be given growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, or any other type of medicine. Avoid factory-farmed meat and dairy at all costs.
When we follow these guidelines, our bodies will be kept clean and pure and they will function as they were created to do. We will experience the health and vitality that our Creator intended for us to experience. And, most importantly, we will glorify God with our bodies, as we were ultimately designed to do.
Amy Duggins is just a regular gal with a radically transformed life, on a mission to help others live healthy lives: mind, body, and soul. She is passionate about Jesus, wellness, and food. In that order. She loves educating, inspiring, and challenging others to live the lives they were created to live. Once upon a not-so-distant time ago, she was a party-lovin wild child. She was far from God, which reflected in every choice she made. But then...God stepped in! What the enemy tried to destroy in her, God has redeemed and restored! He replaced her love for partying with a fiery passion to help others experience Jesus, and the blessings that come with living in obedience to the Bible, in the same way she has. Follow along with her at Honor God Mind Body to learn more about how to honor God: mind, body, and soul.