“The spiritual benefits of a healthy lifestyle.”
I am resolved with all that I have to encourage my friends, to look after their health. I want to support those who are acquainted with me to eat healthy foods, to hydrate, to rest and exercise. If you attend my meetings and need help, I am committed to helping you in your pursuit to serve God in a healthy and balanced way. Though I believe in Divine healing and miracles, it is better to walk in health rather than to be in of need healing. Many diseases that people are facing are the direct result of poor eating habits and lack of regular exercise.
3 John 1:2 (NKJV)
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
You may ask me why I am so committed to addressing this topic rather than giving attention to discuss a more spiritual subject. My motivation to tackle the subject of healthy living is simple, too many Christians are sick, or physically weak due to being overweight. I want every Christian to passionately pursue their ministry and make their days count for something bigger than themselves. More importantly, looking after your body is a spiritual matter, because your body is the only vehicle that you will have for your whole life. This is it! There is no second chance…you are not living in a dressed rehearsal. When the curtain comes down, there is no second chance, and therefore it is imperative to make your life count.
My Personal Vow
I am not young (in age), and as I write this Blog, I feel like I have the strength and energy of a 25-35-year-old. I exercise regularly, and I eat healthy, nutritious and balanced meals, which is not easy eating in restaurants for over 40 weeks a year. My weight is at the ideal level for my height and age, and my body fat percentage is way below average for my age group. I don’t want to sound like I am bragging, but my body fat level is in the 30-year-old category. As a young preacher, I would listen to my mentors preaching against nicotine and alcohol use, but many of them would be way, and I mean, way overweight. I couldn’t help but notice that their shirts would be too tight over their bulging bellies, and their jackets couldn’t even be buttoned. As they preached, I would listen (I admit that I probably had a critical spirit) to them and think, that they should address food addictions and obesity with the same passion that they discussed using nicotine. These men were great preachers, and their ministries were powerful, but their health was neglected.
Have you ever gone on a long hike where you carried about 20-30 pounds in your backpack? If yes, then you may recall how light you felt when you removed your backpack after carrying it for a few miles. Do you remember when you took a break and removed the backpack, how easily you moved around without the weight? Many people are carrying 20 or more pounds of fat…this excess weight is putting pressure on their heart, lungs, digestive system and skeleton.
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, after seeing these leaders being overweight, I made a commitment to stay fit, and not put on excessive weight. Now over 40 years later, by the grace of God, I have stuck to my vow.
Recently I was in South Africa, and one of the young men who grew up under my ministry called me to meet so that we could catch up on old times. His opening line was he had been following me on social media and was impressed that I had kept my promise and had not put on excessive weight. He remembered my promise, and because of my example he too has remained in shape.
I would like to add a thought that I think is essential, as a public figure, I want to live an exemplary life. This is not my only motive to staying fit, I also recognize that the demands of world travel are taxing on my body. To move around carrying heavy suitcases and all the rigors of flying, I need to be strong (physically) and to remain healthy to maintain my busy schedule. Mostly, I realize that this body is the only one that I will have, and by looking after it I can fulfill my purpose on earth.
Your Body is the Carrier of the Glory of God
It is not my intention to “body shame” anyone!
Please note, it is not my intention to “body shame” anyone. I know that addressing the overweight issue can be embarrassing and even hurtful. My only objective is to help people stay in health. This article is not about having a GQ (male) body or a Cosmopolitan (female) body, but this is about you being in good health. To me, your health is a spiritual issue. I have seen too many people struggle to handle the rigors of ministry because of poor health.
I would like to inject a thought here, this is based on observation and discussion with pastors and leaders who are obese (If a person’s body weight is at least 20% higher than it should be, they are considered obese) Most pastors or leaders that are overweight struggle privately with insecurity; they lack confidence and actually don’t like how they look and feel. When people take photos, they try and stand behind someone else, or take a deep breath and suck in their gut. I know that I have said this earlier, but it is worth repeating…you only have “one life to live” (sounds like a soap opera) and one body; this is it! Therefore, you have to be good stewards of your body. We are also stewarding our time, gifts, anointing, and finances.
Here are two Scriptures to consider:
Romans 12:1 (AMP)
I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Present your body as a living sacrifice to God. With the body that you have, you will serve God and fulfill your ministry. Therefore, look after it as a vehicle that carries your soul and spirit. Take care of what you eat and drink. Make sure that you have enough rest and exercise. You should want your body to function well and be healthy to carry out the will of God.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NKJV)
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Your body is the temple of God. Individually your body is the temple of God and collectively we as followers of Jesus, make up the temple of God. He dwells in us (individually and collectively as the Church). We must look after our bodies because we are the carriers of the glory of God and the possessors of the presence of God.
Bodily Exercise Has Some Profit
I like the way the Message addresses these two verses:
1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NKJV)
But reject profane and old wives’; fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 (MSG)
Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.
Two things stand out from these verses:
1. Exercising in godliness is more important than physical training. The reason for this statement is, your spirit man will live forever, and what you do with your life will affect your eternity. Your body will at some point die; therefore, it is better to be prepared for eternity by the exercising unto godliness.
2. Physical exercise has some value…not eternal value, but it definitely has some value. A fit and healthy body has usefulness in that you can have the energy to fulfill God’s call upon your life. When you have sickness and pain, you can still do the work of ministry, but it will exhaust you and your capacity to handle the load of responsibility is reduced. I know this from personal experience! When I lost the use of my hips, I still did the work, but my ability to be effective was significantly reduced. Now that I am well and healthy, I have the stamina to do all that I am called to accomplish. As a direct benefit to being healthy, I am able to be more attentive to the people that I serve.
I try to work out at least five days of the week, and though I could excuse myself due to my busyness, I keep at my health disciplines because I know that it has some profit.
Guidelines to a Healthy Eating Lifestyle
We use the term, “I am going on a diet!”
I don’t encourage people to go on a diet, but rather to change their way of living. I prefer a healthy lifestyle versus going on restrictive diets. A diet is considered to be a unique course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. We may say, “I’m going on a diet.” For some people to create a healthy plan to food choices and portion control (calorie intake) they may choose to engage in a program that is medically approved and is ensuring all the vital minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins.
We also need to recognize that some people eat excessive amounts of food because of stress, boredom, and unresolved pain. To adjust their way of eating will also demand that they deal with the root causes of overeating. Others simply have a “food addiction,” and that addiction will have to be resolved in order to lose weight and more importantly to keep the weight off. To be steadfast people with unhealthy habits, addictions and self- rejection must deal with the root causes and then they will have a healthy attitude towards food.
Some essentials to consider when developing a healthy way of living. That’s correct, we want healthy living not fad-diets. We should not live to eat and have an obsession about our three meals a day. In fact, we should rather say, “I eat to live!” On this point, I don’t eat three meals a day, but prefer eating 5-6 times a day. Make sure that your eating plan consists of protein, complex carbs, vegetables and healthy fats.
Once you have lost your weight, you can introduce slightly more significant portions, but you have to watch that you don’t slip back into old habits. You must remember that if you eat too many calories, you will regain your weight. You don’t want to lose weight and put it back on again and then repeat and repeat!!! You want to lose weight and keep it off.
I have struggled with hydration. I believe that God gave us water, so we could brew coffee. (Just kidding!!!) However, I do like my coffee and drink 2 or 3 cups a day. It is essential to drink water, and most people who specialize in health suggest 8 bottles of 8 fluid ounces a day. This sounds good to me, but I am happy if I drink about 4 to 6 bottles per day. Again, this is not my thing…it’s just I care about staying healthy, and so I force myself to drink. If it were proven that coffee was as good as water, this would be NO problem. Lol!!!!
“Weight loss is not achieved by chance but by choice!”
I recently was hosted by some dear friends, and I had to laugh at a sign on the kitchen door. It said, “Life is full of decisions! If you choose to wear your shoes in the house, you will scrub the floors.” Life is made up of decisions, and especially when it comes to eating and drinking. One of my favorite Scriptures that I use (though slightly out of context) is Matthew 5:37, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
Say “No!” to all junk food!
Say “Yes!” to healthy clean food!
Decide whenever you are offered food, to eat the healthiest option, and also make sure that you practice portion control. When you buy food, walk right past the pizzas, pasta, ice cream, cakes, and cookies. Go to the vegetable section and spend your hard-earned cash on food that will feed and satisfy you.
Now, what I am about to say is important so listen up! Remember we are talking about decisions…
Once you start eating healthy clean food, the craving for sugar and junk food will go. Even if you eventually take a free day to eat whatever you want, you will choose a healthy option. If you have struggled with a food addiction you may think that this is impossible, but just taste and see, you will soon start to crave healthy food. The desire for sugar will go, and when you look at junk food and a few healthy options, you will say, “I will rather eat later than spend my money on this food.” Comfort food will not make you happy the new comfort food will build your muscles and strengthen your bones. When you stand on the scale, you will be rejoicing rather than ‘binding and loosing!’ and rebuking calories.
Decisions and discipline go hand-in-hand! When you make a decision, this will give you direction to the salad bar, and then discipline will help you walk past the deep-fried chicken, the French fries, and desserts. Fortunately, the discipline will hardly be needed once your body is cleaned out of the sugars and unhealthy carbs. Once established in forming healthy eating habits you will instinctively be drawn to the salad bar rather than the chips, dips and deep-fried foods.
Avoid – Candies, pies, desserts, cakes, chips, sodas, fruit drinks, white rice, white flour, white sugar. Use healthy alternatives – like raw sugar, honey, coconut flour and so forth. Do not drink diet sodas!!!!
Enroll with a Health Coach
- Do you want to transform your health and fitness levels strategically?
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want a lifestyle change?
- Do you want to serve God in your skin and have energy and stamina?
- Do you want a long-term sustainable plan that will not only get you to lose weight but keep it off?
If you answered yes, then listen up…. One of my regrets in life was my short-lived golf non-career. I am relatively competitive; actually, that’s not the truth, I am highly competitive. I was once playing golf and was one stroke behind, and my friend hit a long shot that landed in the short rough. I saw where his ball landed and while he was looking for the lost ball, I drove the golf cart wheel over the ball and buried it. I let my friend drop the ball take his shot and then I told him what I did.
My stay in hospital was short, and I am fully recovered. I discovered that my friend Joe was even more competitive than me. Ok! That’s a joke…but I am very competitive.
The point that I wanted to make before I got distracted by my overly stimulated imagination is…
I taught myself to play golf…that decision I regret. Concerning my golf swing I did some things that were fundamentally wrong, and as a consequence hindered my consistency and accuracy. Instead of buying good clubs and a fancy bag, I should have acquired less expensive clubs and spent my money on a golf coach. Who knows, I could have actually become a reasonably competent amateur! I realized that the golf swing is highly complexed, and you need someone to train you. In the same way, losing weight and sustaining your weight loss is not as simple as it sounds.
My advice is to get a health coach, spend a few bucks up front and learn how to eat the best foods that will burn fat and keep your muscle mass. Learn to eat the best combination at the best times lose your weight and then keep the weight off.
To have a health coach and a balanced eating plan may cost you up front, but your decision will be worth it when you learn a better way of living and not resorting to different fad-diet!
A health coach will help you discover the way to eat to live rather than live to eat. They will give advice concerning allergies, diseases and other weight- related health issues. They are good at what they do and are possibly even more passionate about your health journey than you are. These trained professionals will know how to guide you along the route of losing your weight and keeping it off.
You should consult with your Health Care Specialist before starting to lose weight and exercise. If you have heart disease, diabetes, or any severe ailments, please FIRST get the support of your Physician or Health Care Professionals.
The information that I am sharing is from my own experience, and I am a Missionary, not a Medical Professional. However, if I can pray for you and guide you in this process, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.