Moved by Compassion: A Heart for World Missions
As more and more people become health conscious, they are looking for ways to become more physically fit. At our office, we recently started a wellness committee to provide guidance and assistance for the physical wellbeing of our employees. This is the first in a series of articles about health and wellness.
He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease
by John Brummitt
If our bodies are the temples of God, and we fail to keep them in shape, what does that tell others about God? Obviously, the quote from John 3:30 in the title of this article doesn’t refer to obesity...or does it? If Christians are supposed to die to selfish desires and put God’s will first, that includes all areas of our lives.
Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” More than 200 years later, we still don’t grasp the concept. Today, two out of three Americans are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity has tripled in the past two decades. As Christians we should set the example of good health and fitness, not blend into the crowd. Sadly, most congregations look no different than the rest of the American population.
Overindulgence—including overeating—is a sin. Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us about the effects of overindulgence. So does the U.S. Surgeon General who reports that obesity is responsible for 300,000+ deaths every year.
Many people describe themselves as “emotional eaters.” When depressed or stressed, they find comfort in a bag of Oreos. Should Christians turn to anything but God? According to the surgeon general, “3.8 million Americans carry over 300 pounds, and the average adult woman weighs a staggering 163 pounds.” When we turn to a bag of cookies rather than opening our Bibles, how can we say God has first place in our lives?
Guarding the Temple
Obesity destroys the temple of God. Deaths due to obesity are second only to tobacco-related deaths in the United States. One of every eight deaths in America is due to an illness directly related to being overweight or obese.
With all the health information and warnings available at our fingertips, many of us continue to destroy the temple God has given us by overeating, getting insufficient sleep, and limiting physical activity. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul? “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Just look at all the health problems directly related to being overweight: Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, asthma, joint issues, back pain, high blood pressure, and emotional and mental health problems.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Obesity is poor stewardship of the body. As Christians, we must care for our bodies in such a way that we are physically able to do whatever God asks.
Obesity also creates poor stewardship of financial resources. The estimated annual cost of obesity in the U.S. is just under $123 billion. Imagine what could be done with healthy bodies and extra funds if we took better care of what God has given us.
Overeating indicates walking in the flesh rather than the Spirit. Without control over our physical bodies, how can we say we have control in any other area? First Corinthians 6:12 reminds us that just because something is lawful, doesn’t make it profitable. We often refer to Acts 10:10-15 as a blanket that covers eating whatever we want, but we disregard passages that talk about the importance of moderation.
Lay Aside the Weight
In Daniel 1, we find Daniel and his friends making nutritional choices that led to healthier bodies and sharper minds. God honored their commitment. When we care for our bodies, we enhance our service for God, and we set a better example for others to follow.
Although we are servants of the Living God, we are still sinful humans. We struggle with temptation like everyone else, but we have a “secret weapon” unbelievers don’t have.
According to 1 John 5:14-15, we can ask God anything, and He hears us. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
If you need help getting your health on track, turn to God first, and be willing to do whatever it takes to get your temple into a shape that pleases God.
About the Writer: A 2004 graduate of Free Will Baptist Bible College, John Brummitt is business manager for the FWB Board of Retirement. He began working for the Board of Retirement in spring 2006. An avid runner and founder of a middle-Tennessee running club, he chairs the wellness committee for the Free Will Baptist National Offices.