By Stephani Spangler, Director of Health & Wellness
What is it?
Bodily stewardship fosters the idea that our health is a gift from the Lord. As a gift, it’s our job to nurture and protect it.
Have you ever heard someone make statements like: “We should enjoy good health” or “rejoice in your good health.” It begs the question: what is good health? Health is not just the absence of disease. Rather, it is felt, it is purposeful, and it can be achieved.
While God does not guarantee immunity from disease, Scripture does teach that good health is often a function of choices. There are, for example, references in the book of Proverbs that link living wisely and physical/emotional health to longevity.
“...let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”(Prov. 3:1b-2—NKJV)
“Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones.” (Prov. 3:7b-8--NKJV)
“Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.”(Prov. 4:10—NKJV)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you.” (Prov. 9:10-11—NKJV)
It is no surprise that current scientific research indicates that choices do have a greater impact than genes in determining our health, level of function, quality of life, and longevity. God calls us to be good stewards of all He has placed in our care, including our own minds and bodies.
Is health something you want to begin to nurture in a more purposeful way? As with any goal the first step is to begin. Look for sustainable behavior change that you can take small steps toward bigger goals.
Does it matter?
Taking care of the body honors God. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
“Our bodies belong to the LORD,” (1Cor. 6:15z, 19 20)
“And God said, Let Us make man in Our image.” (Gen 1:26-27)
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31)
Healthy body management, including key functions like regular exercise, sensible nutrition, and sufficient sleep/rest is not an end in itself. Rather, it puts us in a better place to serve God―to fulfill His calling―across the entire spectrum of life areas.
What kind of better place? If you can achieve these keys you will have more energy, better concentration, increased ability to handle stress, and life balance which allows you to better help others.
Identify things you value most (calling, relationships, vocation), then trust in the Lord's will for your life through relying on the Holy Spirit, and soon you can transform goals into action.
Taking care of the body promotes better health and fitness, enabling us to apply financial resources for building up the family, church, and community rather than for the treatment and management of preventable, lifestyle-related disease and injury.
Imagine the possibilities. Adopting a healthy life-style allows you to reap the benefits in terms of longer, healthy lives. The ability to give back to your family, church, community, and organizations that share your passion. The ability for churches and organizations to commit to leading others, providing the necessary resources and knowledgeable team members to become vibrant centers for promoting the health, fitness, function, quality of life, and longevity of their members or customers. It starts with us!
As you adopt for yourself, then influence others, the advantages can expand to:
1) Reducing risk for major disease
2) Reversing known disease
3) Achieving optimal function and performance, being fully expressive across the entire spectrum of major life areas
How do I implement it into my everyday life?
Roadblocks are real. No one longs to be unhealthy and no one wants to fail! We all want better health and some may hope that disease won’t strike, while they “make more time.” The challenge can be connecting the desire for better health to long-term changes.
Consider the following:
Many juggle for better life balance (i.e., work, family schedules, time management, an inability to say no to others, etc.).
We live in a time of information overload (more information/conflicting about health than ever), keeping us from creating a plan we can stick with and see results.
Hurdles can derail the best laid plans,in turn creating negative feelings toward achieving the goals.
Finally, and the hardest to deal with, is failure.
Many or all of these components can lead to believing that it is impossible to reach a healthy lifestyle, whether external or internal circumstances.
To begin, create the environment that supports your goals. A Biblical worldview that uses: prayer, values the process, and recognize your God-given potential.
Your most valuable tool is prayer. Ask God for strength as you work through your choices, schedule, and resources, and seek wisdom in how to approach challenging situations as they arise. Scripture can be an encouragement to seek the Lord in the area of health and be a great reminder that you don’t have to do this on your own.
Value the process
It’s about progress not perfection, so value the process. Give yourself credit for the work being done toward better health. Remember every situation is a learning opportunity. Learning and growth come from experience. Day by day you can become stronger, and equipped to find the answers. Find your own successes and build confidence.
Recognize your potential
Many make healthy choices, often focused on our areas of strength. If you generally have good nutrition and that is an easier place to put your effort, then try branching out to sleep. When you push through in an area that is challenging, often you reap big rewards. You may feel an increase in energy that translates into significant improvement in your day-to-day functions.
Many are exercising below their actual abilities and settling for just a walk, when they are physically strong or have endurance. Recognize the potential and begin to push for realizing that potential. You may be amazed at your own ability, strength, endurance, or energy. This builds confidence and helps you try other new things related to your health goals.
“Do everything for the Glory of God” 1 Cor 10:31
The way we choose to take care of God’s greatest creation is a way we can honor and glorify Him!
If you are a Medi-Share Member there is even more to consider. As a community of believers, we can all strive toward a healthy lifestyle and end the fight against preventable disease! If you are not yet a member, Medi-Share is a healthcare sharing ministry made up of like-minded individuals just like you from around the country. Each month, the Members of Medi-Share contribute toward the Eligible Medical Bills of other Medi-Share Members, and are notified as to which Members their share dollars are helping. Eligible medical bills are paid with the funds of Members who faithfully share.
Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer-and Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs, 28(5): w822-831, 2009. www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w822.
Arterburn DE, Maciejewski ML, Tsevat J. Impact of morbid obesity on medical expenditures in adults. Int J Obes, 29(3): 334-339, 2005. www.nature.com/articles/0802896.pdf.