Have you ever set out to start healthy eating or exercise more only to give up a few days later? If you have, you are not alone. While people set out to make resolutions or goals for these important changes, it can be hard to accomplish these things on our own.
Fortunately, as believers, we don’t need to do anything in our own strength. We have the help of God in everything we do.
Let’s talk about goals.
Goals can be good and helpful in your life. They can keep you focused and give you a sense of accomplishment. Every year, millions of people set goals. Some do this during the year while others wait for the new year to make resolutions. These can be about all sorts of things, but health-related goals and resolutions are among the most common.
Exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight are the top 3 New Year’s resolutions overall. 48% want to exercise more, making it the most popular New Year’s resolution. Health-related resolutions cover the top 3, and a Swiss study found that 70% of all resolutions relate to physical health. – InsideOut Mastery
Other statistics report higher numbers or lower numbers, but they all agree: health-related goals are the number one new year resolution people make. If that’s true, how is it that so many of us are still struggling with our physical health goals?
Regardless of your goal, you will find more success pursuing it with God’s help than you will in your own strength. This is true for everything we do in life. Let’s use that truth to help us with the important goal of our physical health.
Does my physical health matter to God?
Physical health can seem like a vain pursuit, and for some of us, it is. It is challenging to disentangle our ideas of beauty and ideal size from the purest idea of health. If we are stuck thinking that health is about achieving a certain size or looking a certain way, we are focused on things that don’t matter to God.
Instead, let’s consider what does matter to God regarding physical health.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV
As one of the most quoted verses in the Bible about the body, it can be easy to skim over this. It is, however, important to consider what it says carefully.
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Temples were one of the most sacred places people would meet with God. In this verse, we see that our physical body is a sacred space for the Holy Spirit to dwell. If body = temple and temple = sacred, body = sacred. That tells us that it is of value and should be cared for as such.
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
As much as we get to make decisions and do what we want with our bodies, this verse in Corinthians reminds us that our bodies are not solely ours. We use them but they do not completely belong to us. They belong to God. Why? Because Jesus purchased them from death when He died on the cross.
Honor God with your body.
Because these things are true, we are to honor God with our bodies. This is true today, with the bodies we have right now. What does that look like? Taking care of them well. Doing all we can to ensure they can do what the Holy Spirit within us guides us to do.
As we recognize that the care of our bodies matters to God, we are more intentional about treating our bodies well. This does not mean that God outlines a specific diet or exercise routine in the Bible. Instead, He encourages us to care for our bodies well, even with what we eat.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV
The Word is not outlining what to eat. Instead, it tells us that all that we do, even the things we eat, should be done to bring the glory of God. These verses are freeing believers from the laws that had previously been in place in biblical times. They are an illustration that what we eat is important, but the most important thing is that we are doing it to honor God.
Honoring God with your health.
If the goal of a healthy body is not a certain size or weight but instead honoring God, how do we do that? What does that look like?
This is where it may be different for each person. We can agree that eating things that nourish us well and moving our bodies to maintain function is key for everyone. How we do this, and the purposes for such, can vary according to what God has for each one of us. We are all unique, requiring different things and pursuing our unique callings.
How can you honor God with your health?
The best way to know how to honor God with your health is to ask Him. Remember, your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. That means the Spirit lives within you to guide and help you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. – John 14:16, NIV
We often think of the Holy Spirit as a helper only for the spiritual things in our lives. But the Holy Spirit dwells within to help in every area. The Holy Spirit will teach what we need and guide us faithfully.
That means you can ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can honor God with your health. Ask how to eat and move your body. Ask what you should do and when. Ask how to use your body to bring honor and glory to God. If your motive is to do this, God promises to answer.
Help for honoring God with your health.
While these ideas sound easy, putting them into practice can feel very different. For example, you may recognize the need to be less sedentary and move your body more, but it can be challenging to get up and move. It can even be challenging to know how to do that.
Whether you are struggling to get exercise, be active, stop snacking, eat less sugar, get more veggies, or anything else related to your health, God offers help. Here are some verses and prayers that can help you on your health journey.
- “God, I am struggling to feel like I can do this. Help me draw near to the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that you will give mercy and I will find grace to help in my time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
- “Lord, I am filled with anxiety about what to eat as I struggle to make a good choice. I bring this before you, laying it all down, thankful that you hear me. I trust you will bring your peace and guard my heart and mind now.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
- “Oh Lord, I am tempted to give up. I know you called me to this healthy choice, but I don’t want to do it. Come now and show me the way out for your promise that You will provide an escape from every temptation.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Discover more help.
As work on your physical health goals, you don’t have to do it in isolation. The Christian counselors in our office are trained to support you in your journey with biblical help that can bring you the freedom you seek. Connect with us today.
“Healthy Meal”, Courtesy of Brooke Lark, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Yoga”, Courtesy of Natalia Blauth, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License; “Yoga on the Beach”, Courtesy of Kaylee Garrett, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reading”, Courtesy of Toa Heftiba, Unsplash.com, CC0 License