Should Christians Be Healthy?
I still remember a business trip with my wife Precious in Yogyakarta. We were invited to provide training to our Indonesian business partners. Since our business is the distribution of cellular nutrition, promoting good health is a big part of what we do. After the session, a lady asked us whether Christians need to do anything to be healthy – after all, God is the one in control. This question motivated me to turn to the scriptures and consider the issue.
What does the Bible say about the food we eat? Should Christians aspire to be healthy? Here are some of the reasons I found that Christians need to be healthy.
1. To glorify God in our body
First of all, you have probably read the text “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV). Although the context here is more on fleeing from fornication, it may be applicable to our physical health too.
I have some Christian friends who always pray for good health, but when I look at their diet, they consume junk food regularly. I am not trying to say that we should not eat or enjoy delicious unhealthy food occasionally, but the point here is simple: how can we expect God to give us a healthy body when our diet and lifestyle is unhealthy in the first place?
Even in the Old Testament, there is a warning about consuming too much sugar: “Honey is good, but don’t eat too much of it, or you will be sick” (Proverbs 25:16 ERV). God did not command us to stop enjoying delicious food, but it is clear that we should eat some of our favourite foods in moderation to keep us healthy.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV)
2. To achieve optimal mental state
Health is not just about our weight or our diet. In the past 2 years, mental health is becoming a more popular issue. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people are suffering through loss of loved ones, loss of income, isolation, and many uncertainties – all of which gives rise to mental health issues. Why is it important to achieve an optimal mental state? This is because we were commanded to stay sober and vigilant: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV). There are many articles which show that people tend to make wrong decisions because of poor mental health. Thus, as Christians, it is important for us to strive to be mentally healthy so as to make the right decisions.
3. To serve God to the fullest
Yes, we can still serve God even if we are not in the best of our health. However, we know our body cannot function at its best when our lifestyle is unhealthy in the first place. For instance, when I have little sleep the night before Sunday worship, I find it very challenging to focus on listening to the entire sermon, as my eyes are struggling to look straight! On the other hand, it is easier to learn, participate and help with church-related activities when we are healthy. Good physical health is truly a blessing to our spiritual life!
4. To be healthy spiritually
At the end of the day, we need to ask: what is our main motivation to stay healthy? Some people just want to look good in front of their friends. Others want to accomplish some kind of worldly pleasure. But for Christians, the main motivation for being healthy is so that it would help improve our spiritual health. “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" (1 Timothy 4:8 NKJV). Nothing is more important than our spiritual health!
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2 NKJV)