Why (I Believe) “Church Folk” Should Be Among the Healthiest

I believe that those who comprise The Church should be among the healthiest people there are.  This statement may sound naive, bold, or even silly, but I hope to have accurately conveyed what I mean by the end of this article, as well as to have convinced us of some of our often overlooked Christian responsibilities.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT

These scriptures are often mentioned when discussing why we should take care of our bodies.  The Holy Spirit takes residence inside of us upon our receiving Christ, and to add, our bodies were bought by God, making him the owner rather than ourselves.  So because of that, we have a responsibility to take care of His property.  My mind goes back to the Old Testament where we read about how God had very special requirements for His temple.  The building itself was built from the very best of materials, as were the various pieces and ornaments inside.  Everything was to be done a specific way, and to be kept clean, because this was where God would meet with His people.  Our bodies are now those temples, so shouldn’t they be regarded in the same way?  Modern day church buildings are often large, beautiful and immaculate, which is not necessarily a problem, but it is a problem when the real temples, our bodies, are sick and out of shape from our own doing.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2, NLT

This world, and especially western culture, is filled with unhealthy temptations.  Fast foods and other quick meals taste very good but are often very bad for your body.  Drugs and other substances that allow people to forget their troubles or otherwise feel some sort of good feeling bring cancers and heart diseases, among other problems.  The many electronic conveniences we have realized in this technological age, while not necessarily bad, have caused us to become increasingly sedentary and to stay indoors.  The result is weakened hearts, vitamin D deficiency, and cardiovascular disease to name a few.  But to take what Paul said and make it relevant to us now, we are not to behave and do things as the world does.  The way we carry ourselves should be different.  We are to let God transform us by changing how we think, so that we can show the world what God’s intention is.  Regarding taking care of our bodies, we are not to take care of them the way the world does, but rather, we are to allow God to change us by changing our thinking patterns so that WE, the church, can show the world what God’s will is in regards to how we are to maintain ourselves.  We also show God’s will regarding what a healthy lifestyle should look like.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. – 2 Peter 1:3-7

According to this passage, through God’s divine power, He has given us what we need to “escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires”.  And in light of what He’s given us, we are to “make every effort” to respond to what He’s given us by developing within ourselves several great qualities, including knowledge and self-control.  So again, regarding how we take care of ourselves, not only do we have what we need to escape those things that lead us down a path of disease and unhealthiness, but we are encouraged to make the best effort we can, in response to what He’s given us, to let those godly qualities, like knowledge and self-control, develop inside of us.  We should make every effort to not only know what we need to do to take care of our bodies, but to also develop that self-control that helps us carry out that knowledge.  The very power of God resides within us, enabling us to do what’s necessary to be healthy.  We have to strive to let that happen.

In conclusion, this article is not meant to condemn, but rather, to hopefully help us think deeper about why The Church should perhaps contain some of the healthiest people on the planet.  Now am I saying that because of this, it should be easy to take care of ourselves.  No way!  I like fitness and healthy eating, and it is still very hard for me…especially the eating part.  It can get easier after practice, but as long as there are so many temptations for unhealthy foods, or to have sedentary lifestyles, or whatever, it is going to be hard.  Our bodies are the temples of God’s Spirit, we are not to do like the world, and we should make every effort to develop what God has already put inside of us to escape worldly corruptions.

What do you think?  Should Church Folk be among the healthiest?  If so, how do you think the Church is doing?  If not, why not?


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