Making healthy choices on a consistent basis is a significant challenge for most of us. The world offers many temptations in the form of food (comfort), entertainment (distractions) and substances (escape) that can degrade our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Unfortunately, many Christians struggle with these issues just as much as those without Christ. We will never achieve sustainable victory over these temptations if we battle them in the strength of our flesh.
The real issue here is a spiritual one! We seek comfort and satisfaction in ‘things’ that will never fulfill our deepest need: intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Faithful Fitness is a Christ centered approach to making healthy choices. The primary focus of this approach is to honor God by taking care of the body He made for each of us (Psalm 119:17).
Three Biblical principles form the basis of this approach to healthier choices:
Tending the Temple
- Our bodies are a gift from God. As Christians, God indwells our bodies and He expects us to take care of them.
- How would you feel if someone came into your church and painted graffiti on the walls? As sacred and wonderful as our church buildings are, they are just that, buildings.
- Our bodies are the temple of God. Each time you defile your body, you are defiling the living temple of God. There are serious consequences for mistreating our bodies.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
- Tending the Temple means remembering that our bodies are not ours. They belong to God and He has warned us of the penalty for not taking care of ourselves.
- When we commit to doing something that will honor God, He expects us to do it.
- The wrong approach to honoring God is to rely on our own will power, determination, strength, etc. We are to submit to God and achieve victory by His grace and power (2 Corinthians 12:9).
- We must be disciplined in our pursuit of God and our commitments to Him. God will reward your faithfulness (Hebrews 11:6). Be disciplined in obeying God to avoid Him disciplining you.
- James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
- Demonstrated Discipline means doing what you commit to do: no excuses.
- God created us with the capacity to experience great pleasure. Yet, some things are strictly forbidden by God, while partaking of other things in excess is not allowed. Satisfy your cravings in Christ.
- The problem is, once we experience a small ‘taste’ of pleasure, we do not keep a God honoring view of what is reasonable and what is excessive.
- It is OK for most people to enjoy occasional, moderate treats (special desert or snack, extra portion of a food you love, etc.). The key is not going overboard and/or getting off track. Each person, based on their relationship with God, must determine their limits (Romans 14).
- Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
- Reasonable Restraint means prayerfully setting God honoring boundaries for any permissible indulgences: and then staying within those limits.
Keys to Success
- Rely on God for success, not yourself.
- God is sovereign: but you are still responsible.
- Pray, read your Bible, be held accountable by another Christian: then repeat and repeat …
- God does not compromise. Don’t you!
- Set reasonable goals and boundaries.
Dangers to Avoid
- Vanity. The healthier you get, the better you look. The better you look, the more you will focus on yourself rather than God.
- Taking breaks from your commitments.
- Getting discouraged when you fall short.
- Letting stumbles become an excuse to quit.