In the Christian church, we spend a significant amount of time caring for our spiritual health. We focus on creating prayer habits, we engage in the church community, and are intentional about reading the Bible. It’s clear why these things matter. But does God care about how we care of our physical bodies, how healthy or in shape we are? Learn from Rick Warren in this excerpt from The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.
The Christian family I grew up in attended church services every week. I have listened to thousands of sermons on what God has to say about our souls, our minds, our wills, and our emotions. But not once had I ever heard an entire sermon on God’s view of our bodies. The subject was completely ignored. This is why most people still have no theology of health. While our culture is obsessed with physical beauty and sexy bodies, many believers ignore their bodies as if they don’t matter. But they do.
God has a lot to say about the importance of the body he gave you. It is talked about through the Bible. But for the sake of brevity, let me show you just one chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:12 – 20:
“I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! …
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Wow! This is definitely an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is, no-holds-barred description of what God considers to be the right and wrong use of our bodies. In this and other passages of Scripture we learn five radical truths about our bodies that run counterculturally to everything you hear today.
1. My body belongs to God. It is his property, not mine. I don’t own it, God does. He created my body, and he expects me to use it the way he intended for it to be used. Now we naturally rebel against this idea. Our culture teaches us, “My body is mine to do whatever I want to with it.” But God says, “No, you’re wrong. It’s not your body, because you didn’t create it. I made it, and I loaned it to you to live in while I put you on earth, and I expect you to take care of my creation.”
The fact is, everything you can see on earth was created by God. He made it, and he owns it. What you think you own is really on loan. The Bible says, “The body … is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).
Today we make the same common mistake Greek philosophers did thousands of years ago. Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato believed in dualism,4 which included the idea that your mind (or spirit) is important, but your body isn’t important spiritually. They devalued the body. In fact, some Greek philosophers taught that your body is evil, so it really didn’t matter if you messed it up.
The Bible tells us the exact opposite. Your body is holy because God made it, and everything God makes has a purpose. We are to bring glory to God with our bodies, so we can’t compartmentalize our lives and think that we can divorce our bodies and live as if only our spirit matters. [Click to tweet!] God owns your body!
2. Jesus paid for my body when he died for me on the cross. As we saw earlier, 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 tells us that our bodies have been bought!
Millions of TV viewers love watching American Pickers andPawn Stars because it’s fun to guess how much old items are worth. The owners often think something they own is more valuable than it really is. But the reality is that something is only worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it! You may think your house is worth more, but it’s really only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.
God has never made a person he didn’t love. If you want to know how valuable your life is to God, just look at the cross. With his arms outstretched, nailed to the cross, Jesus was saying, “This is how valuable you are to me. I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you.” You are priceless.
Now, if you are worth dying for, don’t you think God wants you to take better care of yourself? If you bought a million-dollar race horse, would you feed it junk food and keep it up all night? Of course not! You would protect your investment. The fact is, Jesus has made an investment in you. He paid for your life with his life, and he expects you to take care of his investment.
3. God’s Spirit lives in my body. When you say yes to God, accepting by faith what Jesus did for you and trusting his grace and forgiveness to save you, then God puts his Spirit inside you as a guarantee of your salvation. The Bible says it like this: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
When God puts his Spirit inside you, your body becomes a temple of God, a residence for his love. So let me ask you this: If you saw someone vandalizing or damaging a temple dedicated to God, wouldn’t you consider that a crime? Of course! But you abuse and vandalize God’s temple, your body, when you deprive it of rest and sleep, overeat, put too much stress on it, and fail to take care of it.
4. God expects me to take care of my body. I am not the owner of my body, but I am the caretaker, or manager, of it. The word formanager in the Bible is steward. Taking care of my body is an issue of spiritual stewardship. In fact, God tells me that one day I will have to give an account for how well I managed everything he gave to me, including my body. I will stand before God and have to answer the question, “What did you do with what I gave you?”
In The Purpose Driven Life I explain how your life on earth is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. This life is preparation for our next life, which will last forever in eternity. God is testing you on earth to see what he can trust you with in eternity. He is watching how you use your time, your money, your talents, your opportunities, your mind, and yes, even your body. Are you making the most of what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to evaluate you on the basis of the bodies he gave to other people, but he will judge what you did with what you have been given.
5. God will resurrect my body after I die. God never wastes anything. He gets themaximum use out of all he creates. Right now you are living in the 1.0 version of your body. You will get the 2.0 version of your body in heaven. The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
We don’t really know what our resurrected bodies will be like, but we do have a few clues. We know that after Jesus came from the grave, he walked around Jerusalem for forty days in a resurrected body. He was seen multiple times by many different groups of people, including one event where more than 500 people saw and talked with him. So we know that other people will still recognize you in the new 2.0 version of your body in heaven, but there will be one major difference: in heaven your body will be perfect, with no blemishes, no broken parts, no wounds, and no pain.
Did you notice the phrase by his power in that last Bible verse? This is what makes The Daniel Plan different from other approaches. It is built on trusting in God’s power to help you change, not merely your own willpower. Let’s be honest. Willpower works for a few weeks, or maybe a month or two at best. This is why New Year’s resolutions never last. Trying to change by willpower alone is exhausting. You can keep it up for a while, but it feels unnatural and stressful to force yourself to be different simply on the basis of willpower.
In The Daniel Plan you will learn the power of prayer, the power of faith, the power of letting God’s Spirit refocus your thoughts, the power of fellowship and community in a supportive small group, and most of all, the power of God’s Spirit inside you, helping you to make the changes God wants you to make and you want to make.
Join Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman in The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and learn how to optimize your health in the key areas of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.