From the series, “Christian Leader Care — Learning to Love Your Body ‘n Soul!”
Synopsis: When we align with God’s design for our well-being we experience more optimal health and joy. This is a foundational building block for being a holistically healthy leader.
I’m so glad to have you here as we talk about holistic health — especially as Christian leaders. And my heart really goes out to all you Christian leaders, because I know you need to learn to love both your body and soul.
Today we are going to talk about four specific ways to do that and I’ll start with a very key thought for us: holistic health is to align with God’s design.
As believers in Jesus we all recognize that God created us. But it’s rare for a Christian to live out the implications of that truth — to become a steward of the body that He gave, and even glorify God in one’s own body.
So, yes, our bodies were created. But what do we see in that creation specifically? Because if we can truly understand God’s design then health is our pursuit to align with His design.
That is so liberating. Health or fitness is not some external thing we do to measure up to a goal on paper, it is a mindset of worship that says, “if God has made me in this way, then I want to live in a way that honors His design.”
And that is the true meaning of health — especially from the perspective of someone who wants to honor God.
Of course, just like our spiritual lives we are all far from where we would like to be. And physically I’m sure we’d all like to improve in some areas. So there is no shame in simply seeing where we are at and deciding to move forward. That is what we are talking about. We live in the graciousness of our Creator through Jesus Christ who calls us forward.
But here is something peculiar about believers today — so many tend to separate their physical lives from their spiritual worship of God. Worship means to give worth to the creator and to express that in a total life response of bowing down to the Lord.
It is good and right to present our spiritual offerings of thanks to God but it is also good and right to present our bodies as living sacrifices as part of that worship. In that phrase from Romans 12, the term ‘bodies’ was used to represent our entire beings as God’s children.
And it is clear that the misuse of our bodies, and the sinful acts of the bodies equal an offense against the Holy Spirit. But the proper use of our bodies brings glory to God.
So when it comes to personal health it helps if you go a bit further than just saying, “God created my body.” Let’s think about how he created it.
All that science is doing today is merely discovering God’s amazing creation and they have found 11 systems that work simultaneously in the body, and many of them continue to work day and night without you ever thinking about it.
Let’s come back to that key idea: health is to align with God’s design.
So, what we want to do to move forward is to first find out the basics of God’s design. And then align your lifestyle and choices to live in harmony with that design.
He designed our bodies with four major needs and purposes:
This is the fuel of our physical lives. This is what goes into your mouth, passes over your tastebuds (thank God), is digested by your stomach, and distributed to your blood cells which take all that the energy to the muscles and bones. It is an amazing and beautiful system!
We need to learn what kind of nutrition God has designed our bodies for, and how much we need.
We need to ask, “What do I need to eat to align with God’s design for nutrition?”
This is the action of our physical lives. God created us for movement. Legs, feet, arms, hands, spine, neck, eyes, and all our muscles — were all designed to move and to even be challenged. In fact, not moving is often a sign that one is close to death! So we definitely want to keep moving.
We need to learn what kind of movements God has designed our bodies for and how much we need.
We need to ask, “What movement do I need to do to align with God’s design for the body?”
Renewal. This is the things we do to renew our bodies after times of work and exertion. It includes renewal of muscles, heart, the brain and emotions. This is the built-in need for a natural flow of work and rest, giving out and receiving, output and replenishment — and it is also a part of God’s design of your body.
We need to discover what renews us throughout the day or even months and how often we need it.
We need to ask, “What types of renewal do I need to align with God’s design for me physically, mentally and emotionally?”
Here we should emphasize the holistic nature of a Christian health understanding. The human being created by God is a unity of life. The body and soul are intimately connected, though in essence they remain unique. Our physical life includes our body and brain, thoughts and emotions. And so the lack of nutrition or movement or renewal has direct impact on all areas of life and each of those areas, in turn, has an impact on the other.
So renewal is a very life-giving thing God gave us and includes things like taking breaks, drinking water, walks in a park, listening to music, laughter, reading, eating your favorite food, and meeting up with a friend.
This very critical area of God’s design gets its own category because of its massive impact on our lives. God specifically put the need for a night’s sleep within your body. Health science is only now just scratching the surface of its huge influence on our overall well-being. Simply put, sleep is way more important than you realize — as life-giving as breathing and eating — without it people will go crazy, get sick, feel depressed, or even die. With it, in ample amounts, people thrive. But most of us today are not getting ample amounts nor quality sleep to thrive. Sometimes this is not by choice, but often it is. And the results are pervasive, affecting almost every other area of your life physiologically.
We need more understanding about our need of sleep and awareness of our own sleep patterns and attitudes towards sleep.
We need to ask, “What quality of sleep — and the lifestyle routine to support it — do I need to align with God’s design for my wellness?”
These are four main needs that were placed in us, in a very loving way, by the Master Designer of our body and soul.
How are you doing in each of them? The key is to realize what they are and make micro-changes in each area.
But we need more than simple knowledge and healthy practices — we also need to know our purpose for it all.
Why intentionally pursue optimal health at all?
Blindly pursing physical health for its own benefits runs into a dead end. It is not holistic enough, fun enough, or meaningful enough.
But most importantly it does not seek to honor our Creator in how we were made. It ends up worshiping the body rather than the One who made it.
But let us not make the opposite error of worshiping God our Creator with only a part of our whole being.
May we move toward a true biblical understanding of being God’s special creation — soul and body — and align ourselves according to His design. When we do healthier lives will be the fruit and that means joy.
Check out our holistic healthy leaders approach that I will be working on and sharing with you. It will help you focus on the four major areas that most Christian leaders need to strengthen — one of them being the body.
Go with God and have a great day!
— Brent Hoover