Your Physical Health (2)

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Your Physical Health (2)

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr



Sunday, July 21, 2019 am             


Examples in Every Area


As we continue our study of being examples in every area of our lives, we are now dealing with practical areas that affect all of us.   We have discussed our money and resources, and last week we began addressing our physical health.   As I stated last week, this lesson is for me as I know I can better taking care of myself – eating better, physical activity, drinking water, adequate sleep, and relieving stress.   All of these things affect our physical health, and as we noted last week, they can affect our spiritual influence as well – mainly by limiting our abilities due to preventable health concerns.     I realize there are some health concerns that are beyond our control, but are there areas where I can do better?   That has been the focus of this study.

Last week we addressed some preliminary considerations such as a realization we are dealing with things we need (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and matters not wrong within themselves, and thus a realization there is some judgment in how we manage these areas.   Furthermore, we noted that what we have is a blessing God to be enjoyed. Today, we want to address some passages and principles to consider as we think about our physical health.

I.    Some passages and principles to consider

  1. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 – Paul challenges Timothy to “exercise yourself toward godliness.” The word exercise in this text, is a Greek word from which we derive our English word for gymnasium.   The point was that Timothy (and we) needed to work out to achieve godliness (the word for reverent conduct).
    He then notes, bodily exercise profits little.   Note how he does not say it is of NO profit.   We know better. We know how important exercise is.   What doctors tell us about being active is true because it is how we were created (fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14).
    It profits “little” in comparison to godliness, when it comes to our eternal salvation. But it is STILL profitable. I believe Paul is challenging Timothy to take care of himself, first spiritually, but also physically.   Consider 1 Timothy 5:23,   Paul wants Timothy to take care of his physical health.
    1 Thessalonians 4:4 notes that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
    Remember 3 John 2, Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. This is in a context where Paul is challenging brethren to avoid fornication.   Then he notes WHY – because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us.
    “You are not your own” – we belong to God.   Paul’s point here – we are to keep our bodies pure – TAKE CARE of them. Consider that I am a steward of my body (we addressed stewardship last week).
    Clearly, the priority is spiritual purity (not defiled with ungodliness), but could this also apply to taking better care of ourselves when we can?
  3. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – Paul in this text makes an analogy to an athlete running a race and competing for the prize. He runs to win and he is temperate in all things in the process – in other words, he takes care of himself in every way he can to gain the best advantage in the race.
    THAT is how we are to manage ourselves in the spiritual race toward eternity.
    A part of that, in fact a fundamental quality, is self-control.   That is what Paul was addressing when he said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection.”
    We need self-control in our lives – 2 Peter 1:6, Galatians 5:23, Acts 24:25, etc. Many of the poor health habits within our society are simply a matter of a lack of self-discipline and self-control.
    How are we doing in this?
  4. Learn moderation.     Related to self-control – temperate in all things. Moderation is the trait of avoiding extremes. Not too much, nor too little, but just enough.     When we have self-control, much of what we do is in moderation.
    The Bible gives many applications where we are expected to practice moderation.
    Consider modesty in clothing – 1 Timothy 2:9 – NKJV. The idea is moderation in that verse is one behaving in a sensible manner with a view of what is best.
    The passage is dealing with women adorned in modest apparel.   What is interesting about the text, is the example is dealing with OVERdressing. But we also know that UNDERdressing is a problem in that it provokes lust.     Thus modesty is about living without drawing undue attention to yourself EITHER way. And that is an example of moderation.
    One of the things that we have learned about taking care of ourselves is that much of it involves moderation.   We need the right amount and balance of foods, the proper amount of exercise, and sleep. And in most instances, a little bit of the good things is fine.
    Proverbs 25:16, Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit.     Proverbs 25:27, It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.
  5. Learn contentment – also related to self-control in these areas.
    The Bible emphasizes contentment – Proverbs 30:8-9 – give me just enough.
    Philippians 4:11-12 – in whatever state I am in, I have learned to be content…
    When we learn to be content with enough, it can lend to better health – satisfied with the right foods and right amounts, etc.
  6. 1 Corinthians 10:31whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    While dealing with liberties (considering how your influence impacts others, and your need to consider them in what you do), Paul is still making the point that whatever we do, it is to the glory of God.
  7. Galatians 6:7-8you reap what you sow.   We are a nation with a health crisis.   As a nation, we do a poor job of taking care of ourselves.   The result is much greater health problems, in virtually every area of our lives.   The way we were created, we are to take care of ourselves.
    When we don’t there are consequences.   That’s the way life is – you reap what you sow.   If we engage in poor health habits, it is only a matter of time before we pay the consequences.
    AND, remember that we are not in the age of miracles.   We cannot expect to make a mess of our lives – whether physical, financial or in some other way, and expect God to supernaturally clean it up. AGAIN, there’s consequences to our actions.   OFTEN, not insurmountable, but costly.   We need to be willing to do the work and pay the price necessary to deal with our neglect and failures.

II.    Sinful behaviors

  1. In addition to considering the above principles, and perhaps others as well, there are things that are actions associated with our physical bodies that are sinful. Most of these are associated with excess and a failure to exercise self-discipline in our lives.
  2. Sloth and laziness – an unwillingness to work at something.     This is an unproductive live which is contrary to everything we ought to be about. Often, accompanied by excess sleep and neglect of responsibilities.   The Bible condemns this lifestyle.   Proverbs 6:6-11, etc. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 – if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
    Hebrews 6:11-12 calls for us to show the same diligence and to not become sluggish…
  3. Addiction – an addiction is something that controls and consumes you.   It is something over which one becomes dependent and cannot do without. Almost always it is reference to a bad habit, many of which do damage to our health.   There are substance addictions (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc.), behavioral addictions (gambling, pornography, fornication), and other behaviors that may not be wrong within themselves, but if we are addicted to them we have overstepped boundaries (food, certain types of food – sugars, sodas, etc., too much exercise, too little exercise, too much work, television, video games, social media, etc.)
    The Bible is clear, that we are not to be addicted to such things – 2 Peter 2:19 – slaves of corruption. Often addictions are associated with being enslaved to something.   This text is making reference to one who is a slave to sin (ruled by it, cf. John 8:34).
    Philippians 3:18-19, Paul warned of those who were enemies of the cross of Christ, “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame…”
    Even with things not wrong within themselves, IF we are addicted, consider, 1 Corinthians 6:12,  I will not be brought under the power of any.
  4. Gluttony – the excessive eating of foods and drinking.   It is unrestrained, self-indulgence.   Often associated with gluttony is drunkenness – Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 23:20-21, Matthew 11:19 – Jesus was called a glutton and winebibber; Again, Proverbs 25:16, 27 dealing with the eating of too much honey is warned.
    This is not about one who enjoys a good and hearty meal, but one given over to excess in these things. One who is abusive to himself as he indulges.   See the principles we have previously noted.
  5. All of these are excesses or abusing what we should be rightly doing.   And as such, if we are guilty of these, we need to repent and work toward overcoming them.

III.   Dealing with our health concerns

  1. Begins with Examination – most of us know we need to do better.   We have addressed our spiritual “check-up” (2 Corinthians 13:5) often.   As a PART of that, let us consider the above principles in this area of our lives.
    This is also where a good physical is helpful.   Go to your doctor and find out where you are at.   And take an inventory of your life – where you are at and what you are doing.
  2. Examination must lead to action.   All the knowledge in the world is meaningless if we do not take action to change.
    When we go to the doctor because we have problems, or for that check-up, we will be told where we are and what changes we need to make.   ARE WE LISTENING? Will we heed the advice of our doctors?
  3. Don’t give up.   Most of us know this, but it is NOT easy!   For a host of reasons, real and lasting change is a challenge.   And more often than not, we will face failures and set-backs in the process of change. But we cannot EVERY give up or quit!   How often are we reminded to endure as Christians?   Hebrews 10:36-39 – we have need of endurance.   Galatians 6:9, AFTER noting that we reap what we sow, the next thing that is said is, DON’T GIVE UP!   Don’t grow weary in doing good…
  4. The mind – again, we are often reminded that we have to DECIDE deep down that we are going to change.   We have to MAKE UP OUR MINDS!   Until we do that LASTING change will not take place.   Again, this is very Biblical – anytime we read of choices, it is usually a life changing direction.
    The prodigal son, “came to himself” – Luke 15:17-19; Elijah – why are you faltering between two opinions? – 1 Kings 18:21 – on Mt. Carmel challenging the 450 prophets of Baal; Joshua – choose for yourself this day – Joshua 24:15; Moses – I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; – Deuteronomy 30:19. While Moses was speaking of spiritual life (and to Israel under the LOM) with God, does the principle apply physically, ESPECIALLY when we consider how our physical health affects our spiritual influence?
  5. How is your mind? What I mean by this is, how is your mental health?   What types of things are we dwelling on? Typically our mental disposition affects our physical conduct.   Philippians 4:8 – meditate on these things.   We will deal more with this in another lesson.

And thus we consider our physical health as it relates to our influence before others. Is this an area where we can improve? If so, as in all things, if we are striving to let God rule EVERY area of our lives, let it include these matters as well.   How is your health? Think about it.

[1] In his book, Turning Point, Wilson Adams describes some of the marvels of the body, as they relate to our health.     Here are some examples taken from pages 107-108, as well as other sources.
Adams, Wilson. Turning Point. ©2013, One Stone Press, Bowling Green, KY.