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Commit to Yourself . . . Spiritual


An Attitude Check for Your Body

Spend some time with these physical and spiritual reasons for respecting and protecting your body.

The first step in developing physical health is to develop a healthy attitude toward your body. Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he." (NKJV) If you think healthy thoughts, you're going to move toward being a healthy person. But the truth is, most of us fall into unhealthy patterns of thinking about our body. What about you? What is your attitude toward your body?

Do you often look in the mirror and think, "Send it back! It's a mistake! God, you goofed!"? Or do you often make negative comments or jokes about your body? If so, you're probably rejecting your body.

Or you might fall into the opposite extreme of perfecting your body, constantly striving to be a perfect "10." Like the stereotypical body builders and models, you idolize your body.

If you're like many Americans, though, you simply neglect your body, ignoring your health. As a result, you probably find yourself dragging through life tired most of the time.

None of these options - rejecting, perfecting, or neglecting our bodies - leads to health. Instead, we should respect and protect our bodies. This begins with being motivated to change, for both physical and spiritual reasons.

The physical reasons for respecting and protecting our bodies mostly are common sense, yet most of us often ignore them.

First, you'll feel better. If you take care of your body, you'll have more energy and fewer pains. You'll be more alert and less depressed.

You'll look better. A lot of us men get furniture problems: Our chest drops into our drawers. But by taking care of your body, you'll be more attractive, leading to stronger self-confidence.

You'll also live longer. Countless studies show that people who take good care of their bodies have longer lives.

If these physical reasons aren't enough to motivate you, the spiritual reasons are hard to ignore.

God made your body. A passage from Psalm 139 shows a wonderful attitude of respect toward the Creator of our bodies: "You knit me together in my mother's womb. . I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (NIV) Because God made your body, you ought to take care of it.

Jesus paid for your body. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he paid for you - for your soul and for your body. So, in a sense, your body is on loan; therefore, physical fitness is a stewardship issue. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, ". You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (NIV)

The Holy Spirit lives in your body. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, the Bible tells us, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (NIV) If God made my body and Jesus died for my body and the Holy Spirit lives in my body, then I better do the best I can to make it a worthy temple, a place where God - not my body - is worshiped.

If you've had an unhealthy attitude toward your body, spend some time with these physical and spiritual reasons for respecting and protecting your body. Before long, you'll likely see your attitudes changing and you'll begin your own journey toward a fit, energetic, God-honoring life.

- by Rick Warren

Let's Get Physical!

These six principles from God's Word will help you get your body in good shape. Living here in America, sometimes it's hard to know whether or not you're in good shape physically. With super-sized meals on the one hand and super-skinny Hollywood on the other, no wonder we're confused! So how do you know if you're in shape? I ran across these four statements; they're funny, but they actually serve as a good test of health:

You know you're out of shape when you feel like "the morning after" and you didn't go anywhere the night before.

You know your body's in trouble when your knees buckle and your belt won't.

You know you're in trouble when you see your friends running and you hope they twist an ankle.

You know you're in trouble when you breathe harder walking up a set of stairs than you do when you hold your sweetheart's hand.

Do any of these statements sound a little too familiar to you? If so, it's probably time for you to get physical - to start paying attention to your physical health. When you feel bad physically, it affects everything else. Shakespeare said it's hard to be a philosopher with a toothache. I say it's hard to be spiritually alert when you're physically dull, tired, or out of shape.

A lot of people think of the Bible as just a spiritual book, but it actually addresses our emotional health and physical health too. In Proverbs 4:20-22 Solomon says, ". Pay attention to . my words . for they are . health to a man's whole body." (NIV) These six principles from God's Word will help you get your body in good shape.

1. Maintain your ideal weight.

When Yankee Stadium was rebuilt, the new building had 9,000 fewer seats than the original. They had to add three inches to every chair because Americans' posteriors have grown so large. I realize there are many medical reasons for weight problems, but many of us just eat too much. You can't eat everything you want to eat and still maintain your ideal weight. You can find your ideal weight in any number of different books and online calculators. Use one of those calculators and talk to your doctor about how much you should weigh. Then heed the words of 1 Thessalonians 4:4: "Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable." (NIV)

2. Balance your diet.

I used to be on a see-food diet. If I saw it, I ate it. I've known other people on balanced diets - with a hamburger in each hand! But we need real balance. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, Paul says: ". 'Everything is permissible for me' - but I will not be mastered by anything. 'Food is for the stomach and the stomach for food' - but God will destroy them both. ." (NIV) Eating is not an end in itself. We eat to live, but we shouldn't live to eat.

The Bible has plenty of nutritional advice too. Leviticus 3:17 warns people not to eat animal fat. Even though humans didn't know about cholesterol, God did - and he knew eating fatty foods would increase it. Proverbs 25:27 warns of eating too much sugar. The words are thousands of years old, but they sound like pages from today's health books.

3. Commit to a regular exercise program.

I've discovered that, when it comes to exercise, most of us are convinced but not committed. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, "Physical exercise has some value." (NLT) When the Bible was written, people were very active - walking everywhere and earning their living through physical labor. If Paul wrote that today, he'd likely change it to say that exercise has great value. The fact is, your body was designed for activity. Even a daily walk will make a difference. Don't make the mistake of overdoing it at first. Commit to a regular exercise program that you can maintain long-term.

4. Get enough sleep and rest

Psalm 127:2 says, "In vain you rise early and stay up late." (NIV) At the end of that same verse, The Living Bible says, "God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest." Rest is so important that God even put it in the Ten Commandments; he said every seventh day you rest. Jesus, in Mark 6:30-32, insisted that his disciples take a vacation. He said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest." (NLT)

Get the rest you need. Don't rise early and stay up late. I think one of the real enemies of health is late-night television. It leaves you worn out the next day. So make sure you're budgeting your time wisely to get enough rest and sleep.

5. Reduce or avoid drinking alcohol.

A cover article of Newsweek a few years ago declared that America is sobering up as health-conscious consumers decide alcohol is unhealthy or downright dangerous. At the same time, though, the U.S. Department of Health ranked alcoholism as the third-greatest health problem in America, next to heart disease and cancer. American culture today reflects the words of Ephesians 5:18: "Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit." (TEV)

6. Live in harmony with God.

Our emotions have a tremendous effect on our physical health, just like our physical health has a tremendous effect on our emotions. Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body." (NIV) What is peace of mind? It comes from two things: a clear conscience and a purpose for living. When you have those two things, your health is going to improve.

When God saves you, he wants to make you whole - spiritually, but also physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Once you've invited Jesus Christ into your life, ask God's Spirit to help you have self-control. Then determine to take care of your whole self. As the Bible says in Romans 12:1, ". Make a decisive dedication of your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God." (Amplified Bible)

- by Rick Warren

Personal Health: How much attention should we pay to our bodies?

Where does eating right and exercising fit into our spiritual lives?

When it comes to health, Americans are extreme. On one hand, physical fitness is all the rage. On the other hand, a growing number of children face increasing health problems because of obesity. It seems that we either want to drop pounds and flatten our bellies with easy fat-burning secrets that will help us firm up fast, or we're standing in line at the nearest burger joint waiting to be "super-sized."

Physical fitness and spiritual fitness are intended by God to complement one another. We know that regular exercise and a balanced diet are important to good health, improved energy, and mental sharpness that all help us serve the Lord more honorably. But how should we approach healthy living? Where does eating right and exercising fit into our spiritual lives? Here are four principles:

1. Exercise your integrity

When it comes to fitness, we often compare ourselves to the super models that grace the covers of popular magazines, but the Bible should be our standard. Fitness should not be a selfish, ego-driven endeavor. Rather, we should approach health and wellness with godly motives. Why do our motives matter? Does it really matter whether we work out for egocentric reasons? Isn't a healthy body the ultimate goal? Yes and no! God wants more than a healthy body. He wants a spiritually healthy heart. God examines every heart and he sees through every motive (1 Chronicles 28:9). He hates it when we have selfish motives such as the desire to brag, show off our bodies, compete with others, or seek compliments. These kinds of motives set us up to lose more than just a few extra pounds. They set us up to lose our solid footing on God's narrow road that leads to life (Mathew 7:17).

Check your motives. Be willing to examine your heart. Ask yourself: Why am I exercising? If you have impure motives, offer them to God in confession.

2. Pray healthy prayers

One of the most common mistakes that we make as Christians is not praying enough. We often save our prayers for the big-ticket items (i.e., discovering our life purpose or finding the right mate!) But God wants us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of requests (Ephesians 4:16). That includes praying for our physical fitness.

Pray to God about your fitness goals, your food choices, your work-out, and even about those extra pounds you're trying to lose. Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Your prayers will move God's heart and invite him to unleash his power in your life.

3. Develop an appetite for God

Where does God fit into your meal selection? Is God's best choice even on the menu? Seek to honor God with what you eat and drink (1 Corinthians 10:31). "Our bodies and natural appetites were created by God and are not sinful in themselves,"[1] but we need to work at controlling our desire for food. Otherwise, our desire for food will control us.

Have you gained a few extra pounds because you couldn't resist that ice cream in the freezer? Or are you one of those people who can eat whatever he/she wants without gaining a pound? In either case, poor eating habits can lead to health-related problems, like high cholesterol. The Bible is clear: Everything may be permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12).

You don't have to buy fitness magazines to learn how to control your appetite. Just open the Bible. It will tell you how God wants you to move toward your diet. Here are a few Scriptures to get you started:

Ecclesiastes 10:17: Eat your meals at proper times.
Proverbs 23:2: Don't eat too much.
Proverbs 25:16: Eat just enough.
Ecclesiastes 3:13: Enjoy your meals.

4. Be fit for all seasons

Healthy living requires diligence, and diligence takes work. "It takes action. It takes staying with something until it is finished. And it takes diligence, work, action, and staying with something for millions of minutes, thousands of hours, hundreds of days, scores of weeks, months ... ."[2] You get the idea. Health and wellness are lifestyles. They are not seasonal fads.

Laziness often gets in the way of diligence. But the Bible says that hard work brings rewards (Proverbs 14:23). Set yourself up to win. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise and diet program. Start a program that fits who you are. Is walking more your style? Exercise videos? Joining a gym? Getting a personal trainer? Once you start a program, stick to it. Consistency is more important than intensity. Exercising for 15 minutes a day on a regular basis will produce better results than hit and miss one-hour workouts.

A Body Fit for God

Glorify God with your healthy lifestyle. After all, workouts in the gym are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever (1 Timothy 4:8 MSG). When you seek to glorify God with a healthy lifestyle, you will develop into an even more authentic Christian, and your faith in Christ will be apparent in all areas of your life.

by Katie Brazelton, Ph.D. and Ellie Jurado-Nieves, J.D.

Seven Pillars of Good Health:

What you don't know about these seven "pillars" of good health may be derailing God's plans for your life.

Like most physicians, I see people all the time who suffer from headaches, back pain, arthritis, skin problems, digestion problems, and other ailments. Often, they have gone to another doctor, who might have given them medications that merely turned off the symptoms, instead of addressing the underlying problem.

If you had a red warning light blinking on your car's dashboard, informing you to check your engine, would you simply remove the fuse to turn off the warning light? No! You would take your car in for service, knowing that if you don't you will eventually ruin your car's engine.

Most people already know that the No. 1 killer of Americans is heart disease, and the No. 2 killer is cancer. Most people know that nearly two-thirds of cancer deaths in the United States can be linked to tobacco use, diet, obesity, and lack of exercise. Most people know that most diseases are caused by unhealthy lifestyles, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and inadequate sleep.

Most people, however, do not realize that the medications they are taking amount to taking the fuse out of their body's warning light, instead of addressing their body's seven fundamental needs for health and well-being.

In my practice, I talk to patients about seven pillars of good health: water, sleep and rest, living food, exercise, detoxification, supplements, and freedom from stress. What you don't know about these seven pillars of good health may be derailing God's plans for your life.

For example, most people's bodies are starved for clean, natural water. Many people never drink any water. Some don't like the taste of it, or they were never taught the importance of drinking it. Maybe their parents gave them juice, soft drinks, milk - anything but water. As a result, many people spend their day going from one caffeinated or sugar-based drink to another. They jump-start their mornings with coffee. By midmorning they have a soda for another boost, then drink sweetened caffeinated iced tea for lunch. Late afternoon it's another coffee-based or "10 percent juice" drink. Little do they know that all that caffeine and sugar are actually stealing water from their bodies, doing them more harm than good.

Even many people who drink water fail to realize how many harmful substances that water contains. Tap water, even if it comes from wells 200 feet deep, often is contaminated with chemicals used in industry, agriculture, and consumer products. People who turn to bottled water often don't realize that those manufacturers are less strictly regulated and their products less carefully tested than municipal water companies. About one-fourth of bottled water actually is tap water!

Water is the most basic pillar of health, and many people are paying a terrible price for ignoring it. A body that is slightly dehydrated goes into a sort of rationing mode, diverting needed water to vital organs. Inadequate hydration can be a significant factor in back and joint pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, digestion problems, and asthma, among other things.

Paying attention to the other six pillars of health is just as important for your health and well-being:

Sleep and rest - During the precious hours you are shut down for sleep, your body recharges your immune system and restores your organs. Many Americans live on the brink of mental and physical collapse simply for lack of sleep.

Living food - Much of our diet consists of "dead food" that leave us tired and vulnerable to degenerative diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. "Living food," on the other hand, will protect your body from cancer and other diseases and will sharpen your mind, energize you, and enliven you.

Exercise - Over 75 percent of the people who start exercise programs quit; health clubs bank on that. Your body is two-thirds water - what happens to water that sits stagnant? When water moves, life thrives.

Detoxification - Most of my patients who suffer from chronic disease are actually affected by toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes. Fortunately, there are things you can start doing today - as simple as drinking healthy, taking in fiber, and sweating - to rid your body of toxins and help your waste management systems keep them out.

Supplements - Many doctors refuse to recommend multivitamins and nutritional supplements even though a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002 recommended that all adults take a multivitamin supplement to help prevent chronic diseases. Few people, if any, get the nutrients they need from food alone, even if they eat a completely healthy diet.

Stress - Good stress is healthy. It's our bodies natural reaction to a real or perceived threat. But when stress goes on too long, it can leave you feeling depressed and angry, lower your sex drive, and predispose you to all kinds of illness. A prescription as simple as "10 good belly laughs a day" will go a long way toward protecting you from those dangers.

The good news is that you do not have to be a statistic. Wouldn't it be great to meet your great-grandchildren - and keep up with them? Surely you would like someone to tell you that you look 20 years younger than your age. Can you imagine what it would feel like not to experience the stiff joints and headaches that have disrupted your life for several years?

Paying attention to these seven pillars will help you restore your health and reclaim your life. It could set you on the path to being healthy, happy, and whole - just as God intended."

 - by Don Colbert

Physical Shape and Health: A Spiritual Issue:

Spiritual principles that will help you get your body in shape and keep it that way.

You can't get past a checkout stand at the grocery store these days without being deluged with magazine titles proclaiming the ultimate keys to losing weight, getting fit, and eating to health. Yet with all that information available, most of us aren't all that happy with where our bodies are. Is there a key or a balance to the whole area of personal health and fitness?

I think that there is, and it is this: Your physical health is also a spiritual matter, and if we pay attention to both aspects, we will succeed. That is, God made us both spiritual and physical beings: "Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?" (I Corinthians 6:19 NLT) He created our insides and our outsides. People who pay attention to one and not both are out of balance. The flabby individual who is involved with God and church needs help. But so does the ripped six-packer who doesn't have time to surrender to spiritual values.

Now, most of us know the basics of the physical aspect: nutrition, exercise, sleep. The research is out there for the taking, and it is good. But here are a couple of spiritual principles that will help you get your body in shape and keep it that way. Add these to your repertoire:

1. Let go of willpower and ask for help. We all have a tendency to try to do it on our own. How many times have you said, "From this day on, I'll work out four days a week," or "I'll cut down on the chips?" And then, a few weeks later, nothing happens. That's because nothing should happen. Willpower will always fail you: ". for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not." (Romans 7:18) We can't do it all on our own. But what will never fail is the strength and support of God and people on your team. Get the support team together! Let people know your plan. Get their advice. Meet with dieting and workout buddies. Have them call you to check in at your most vulnerable times, like afternoons and evenings when many people snack more than they want to.

2. Get out of the "one-solution" mentality and deal with the complexities. Generally speaking, physical well-being and fitness aren't about just one thing, such as eating habits, workouts, supplements, etc. They are about lots of things, as we are designed in a great, complex manner: "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex." (Psalm 139:14) So deal with it all: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, spiritual devotions, relationships, personal growth, medical issues, and emotional baggage from the past. In other words, look at your physical shape as part of your own stewardship to God for giving him a good person with a good body who can love, work, and carry out his mission on Earth for him.

The physical and the spiritual interact. Keep them both in mind, and watch the results.

God bless.

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