“…Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7b-8
It’s no surprise 24 Hour Fitness and Weight Watchers will have epic months in January. Most of us feel the need to commit/recommit to fitness and health goals at the beginning of the year. We’ve overindulged a bit (a lot) during the holidays so the New Year’s resolution to get in shape seems to be the best way to get back on track to health.
In an age, however, where healthy eating becomes crazy eating, and Crossfit fanaticism is taking over the world, I wonder if we have lost sight of what the Bible says is most important about our health. (Hint: it has nothing to do with paleo, Whole 30, being gluten free OR Tracy Anderson’s new DVD series).
Proverbs 3:7-8 provides the secret to healthy living: fear God and shun evil. No counting calories in this equation. God is concerned with the whole person– body included–but if we become consumed with our bodies and health we leave no room for the soul care we desperately need in order to align our hearts and minds with truth and God’s will.
Fear God and shun evil. It might be easy to accept this as truth but do we ignore it in daily life? In our western “can-do” culture, we are often so cavalier and prideful that God is forgotten and cast aside. To fear God is to recognize who He is and respond in a rightful way to His holiness. As a result, we seek to live in harmony with His commands and accept His rightful place as King.
Several times in Scripture it mentions the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom (Pr. 9:10, Pr. 1:7, Ps. 111:10). What would happen if that was our resolution this year? To fear God more. Who doesn’t desire wisdom? Won’t the Lord give us the wisdom to know how to care best for our bodies if we are first seeking Him?
Personally, I’ve been out of whack in this department for sure. I had never thought much about my weight or body until my jeans suddenly started getting too tight in college. No kidding- I thought the washing machines were broken in my college dorm. What could’ve been shrinking my clothes?
Eventually I began to realize I had become a victim of the freshman fifteen and it messed me up. I threw myself into what became a decade long struggle with food and body image. Thankfully I never suffered from an eating disorder but I spent way too much time thinking about how to get that weight off. It wasn’t until I found a different way of thinking about all of it, actually through a Bible study, that the Lord finally set me free and I was able to settle into a weight I’ve maintained naturally for several years.
So we begin this New Year with some resolve to get a little healthier- which is all fine and good, of course. But let’s not forget our most important resolution: maintaining a steady focus on our need to fear God (honor, respect, obey, reverence Him) and continuing to turn from sin. This might be our healthiest year yet.