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Circling the Square

Your Health is Dear to the Lord

Posted by Bill Lovell on

God cares about every aspect of your life, both physical and spiritual. In the Bible, he teaches us both what is good for us and what hurts us--not detailed scientific lists, but loving principles. In everything from the dietary laws of Deuteronomy and Leviticus to the wisdom of the Proverbs, the Bible shows that our health is dear to the Lord. I'm going to use that word D-E-A-R as an acronym to point out four areas of life which I am trying to take more seriously myself, and which I encourage you to take more seriously too. 

DIET  To many of us, "diet" is what we do when we gain too much weight and want to lose it. But actually, the English word "diet" comes from the Greek word diaita which means "way of life." Health food pioneer Victor Lindlahr put it this way, "You are what you eat." If we eat too much of the wrong food or too little of the right food, our whole life suffers (obesity is just one example); and, in contrast, if we eat a balanced and disciplined diet, our whole life benefits, including our witness to Christ, by giving us more time, more energy, and more capacity to serve. 

EXERCISE  Modern life has brought with it many conveniences--thank God for them--but it has also eliminated many of the sources of physical exercise that, in the past, kept human bodies healthy and strong. Today we are at risk of being "convenienced" to death. As a result, we have to be intentional about staying active, walking, running, simply moving around. A sedentary lifestyle--what Proverbs might call being a sluggard--will not promote anything good, while an active lifestyle is likely to keep us healthier longer. 

ATTITUDE  The Bible teaches "A cheerful heart is good medicine..." (Proverbs 17:22). I've noticed it's always a good idea to try and stay cheerful, to look on the bright side, and to find things to be grateful for, even in the midst of sickness and hardship. I don't mean to say we should deny reality--on the contrary, we should always seek to be realistic and honest--but it will be a blessing to us and to others if we also seek to be as cheerful and positive as possible. 

REST  God actually commanded human beings to rest. As our Creator, he initiated a rhythm of working and ceasing from working, as he himself did at the beginning of the world (Genesis 2:2-3). As we all know, modern life often presses us to do more, more, more, while bombarding us with 24/7 stimulation, distracting us from work and robbing us of rest. Keeping ourselves rested is an essential part of good health and, according to Chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession, a means of growing in Christian holiness. 

D-E-A-R! This little acronym is something I try to carry around with me all the time, and which I try to live out every day, with obviously mixed success. Fortunately, as long as there is breath, there is opportunity to improve, and even modest effort pays big dividends! Of course, diet, exercise, attitude and rest don't guarantee good health, but they do guarantee better health. So let's try! 

Above all, I hope the acronym D-E-A-R will remind us that you and I are each very dear--very dear to one another and very dear to the Lord. Saying thank you to him (and to our friends and family) will include doing all we can to live healthy, productive, and godly lives. I'll close with John's prayer in 3 John 1:2: "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul." Amen!