“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.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
Health was not always on my list of top priorities. I cared more about how I looked than how healthy my body was. For years I felt that sleep was over-rated. Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed exercise. I just find it challenging to consistently fit into my perpetually full schedule. Is it just me, or do others find when one commitment comes to an end, something else quickly finds its way into those freed-up spaces on the calendar?
Health falls to the bottom of the priority list for far too many of us—that is, until we face a health crisis. It’s too easy to disregard our need for rest when work demands long hours. Food choices can often fall to whatever is most convenient without regard for adequate nutrition or healthy ingredients. If we do wind up with pain or fatigue, there’s always medication to get us through the day, right?
Staying healthy is now extremely important to me. When my body, mind and heart are in great shape, I think more clearly, I’m much more productive, I gain more fulfillment from my work, and I enjoy life more.
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul admonishes us to remember that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Instead of traveling to a temple to be in God’s presence and worship, the temple is our bodies. We carry the presence of God with us because our lives were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus. As a result, we can no longer claim that we belong to ourselves and choose to do whatever we please. We belong to God.
What does this mean for our health?
It means we have a responsibility to take our health and well-being seriously—to do everything in our power to care for these bodies we’ve been given. You don’t have to completely transform your habits overnight. The best results come from small mindset and habit changes over time.
Replace soft drinks with water. I once loved Diet Coke until it started giving me the shakes. I also learned that consuming diet soft drinks actually can contribute to weight gain. It was an adjustment to drink more water, but now I prefer it.
Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Your body is designed to get rest. In fact, there are essential maintenance functions the body performs during sleep that keep your brain in good working order. I’ve developed a habit of winding down at 8:30 PM. There are exceptions now and then, but getting a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep is a priority for me.
Move your body. Moderate physical activity can improve brain health, resistance to disease, overall strength and ability to maintain a healthy weight. Be sure to choose physical activity you enjoy. If you don’t like running, don’t run! Go for walks, swim, dance, do yoga—find an activity want to do so you’re more likely to stick with it. Then put it on your calendar.
All things in moderation. Weight Watchers taught me to be aware of my portions. I don’t have to deny myself the foods I love altogether. One woman shared: "Nothing tastes as good as it feels to be thin." Since people have different body types, my translation of that is: "Nothing tastes as good as it feels to be healthy." Small habit and mindset shifts can increase your desire to make healthy choices.
Each of us has one body to carry us through this life. Jesus “came that we might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), but we have a part to play in making healthy choices for our body, mind and spirit. It has taken me years to form new habits, but I am in a much healthier place today. Make small changes over time and you can experience greater enjoyment of this life you’ve been given, too!