A Healthy Body Gets You
Going Further With God From Faith & Fitness
Magazine by Dr. James Merritt,
founder and Senior Pastor of
Cross Pointe Church in
Have you ever wanted to get your life lined up with
Gods purpose so that you can live a life on the level? It is amazing how
just being one degree off in a measurement or even one letter off in a word can
completely throw your life out of whack.
I read a report that a Swedish couple who
was touring in Italy wanted to go see the Island of Capri. They were in a
little Italian town called Carpi. They went to the tourist office
and asked where they could find the Island of Capri and its famous blue grotto.
When they got back in their car they typed in to their automobile GPS the
destination, but instead of typing in Capri they typed in
Carpi. Relying completely on their state-of-art navigational system
they wound up driving 400 miles off course.(1)
It doesnt take a lot for you to get
off course in your life. Getting your priorities straight, managing your time
well, and handling your money wisely are so interrelated that if one is off
course normally the other two are as well. There is one simple reason why we
ought to consider the body that we live in very important and we ought to treat
it with tender loving care and that is because God made it and God values it.
The Bible says this about every body that has ever been made,
It is fearfully and wonderfully
it is intricately fashioned.
Gods value for the human body extends
beyond creation all the way through to death. Another passage in the Bible
gives evidence to that, God himself made sure that Moses body got a
From creation, through death on into
eternity; our bodies are so important to God that He has promised to raise them
from the dead. Every Christmas we are reminded that God assumed a body Himself
in the person of Jesus Christ.
God thinks your body is very important.
People tend to go to two extremes with their body. Many people dont think
their body is as important as God does and there are others who think their
body is more important than God does.
Many, if not most people, ignore their body.
On the other hand, there are other people who adore their body. Some people
focus on the spiritual side of life then neglect the physical side. On the
other hand, some people focus so much attention on the physical side that they
totally neglect their own spiritual growth and maturity.
Some people are too sexy for their shirt and
some people are so big they cant get in it. Some people take 50 vitamins
a day and some people cant spell vitamin. The Bible has a
word to say to both of you.
On the one hand lets be honest, there
is a real problem with many people ignoring their body and neglecting their
health. We let our bodies run down like an abandoned shack we let it get
fat, flabby, floppy, treat our stomachs like a garbage disposal, and look like
we are in desperate need of a Nutra-System fix.
Some statistics show that around sixty-seven
percent of the people in this country are overweight. Thirty-three percent are
obese. Seventy percent rarely or never exercise and it is costing this country
Chew on this the next time you are idling in
the drive through line at your favorite fast food restaurant. Cars on US roads
must burn nearly 1 billion additional gallons of gas a year, because of
overweight drivers and passengers. In other words, one of the best things you
can do to boost the fuel economy of your car is eat fewer cookies.(2)
One of the downsides of living in such a
prosperous well-fed country is there are all kinds of opportunities to abuse
our body in ways that God never intended. Someone put it this way
God populated the earth with
vegetables of all kinds so that humans would live a long and healthy life.
And Satan created the ninety-nine cent double-cheeseburger. He also said to
humans, You want fries with that? And the humans said,
Super-size them and humans gained pounds.
And God created
healthful yogurt, but Satan froze the yogurt and brought forth chocolate,
M&Ms, and brightly-colored candy to put on top of the yogurt and humans
gained more pounds.
And God brought forth running shoes and humans resolved
to lose all those extra pounds, but Satan brought forth cable tv, remote
control, and potato chips. And the human clutched his remote and ate his chips.
Satan saw this and said, It is good.
And humans went into
cardiac arrest and God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery and Satan
I know what all you gym-rats are doing right
now with a smug look on your faces, but youve gone to the other extreme.
You dont ignore your body, but you adore your body. You are consumed with
how you look. You run, pump iron, eat vitamins, wheat germ, bananas, and drink
smoothies, but you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. All you are trying
to do is live longer. You are going to find out the reason we ought to keep our
bodies healthy has nothing to do with how long we live, but how we live.
You spend so much of your time on your diet,
on clothes and plastic surgery which has now become a $14 billion industry. In
fact, this would be an interesting question, I wonder how many of you
have had plastic surgery? I love what Dolly Parton said, If I see
something sagging, dragging, or bagging, I get it sucked, tucked, or plucked.
It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I do.
I heard about a woman who was struggling
about whether or not to have cosmetic surgery. She was going to have a
face-lift, but it was going to be very expensive. She was going back and forth
as to whether or not she ought to do it. As she was talking about it with her
husband, who was trying to get her to do it, she said, What if I drop
dead two months after the surgery? Then what would you do? He thought for
a moment and said, Well, I guess we would have an open-casket.
Some of you health-nuts are more concerned
about your body than you are your soul. You will miss church if it rains,
sleets, or snows, but you wont let any of those things stop you from
going to the gym. The truth is both of those extremes are wrong. We should
neither ignore our bodies nor should we idolize our bodies.
I am not Dr. Phil and I am not going to tell
you what to eat, what to drink or how to exercise. Many have already formulated
their viewpoint much like Mark Twain. He once said, The only way to keep
your health is to eat what you dont want, drink what you dont like
and do what you had rather not.
I want all of us to see our bodies in a
completely different way than perhaps we ever have before, because how you see
your body will determine how you treat your body. Whether or not you ignore
your body or adore your body is not a physical issue, but a spiritual issue.
There is a story in the Bible to help us understand this concept.
Let me give you the back-drop to it. There
were people in Corinth, which was a pagan city. They had begun to think about
the human body the same way Greeks thought about it. They felt the body was not
important. Their philosophy was, God doesnt care about my body; He
only cares about my spirit. After all the body is going to die anyway so I can
do anything with my body I want to. In other words, it was the old,
If it feels good do it philosophy. By the way, that is the same
mentality that says, It is alright to pollute the air, trash the land,
and dirty the water, because it is all going up in smoke anyway. It is a
way of thinking that is wrong.
What I want you to learn is this: My body
belongs to God and I am to honor Him in how I treat it. The author Paul in the
Bible communicates that there are two ways we need to see our bodies. If you
keep these two things in mind you will always keep the proper perspective on
your body and your health.
I Should See My Body As A Temple Where
Do you not know that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You
are not your own. (I Corinthians 6:19, NIV)
I want you to see your body the way God sees
your body. When God looks at your body He doesnt primarily see flesh and
bones, hair and teeth, eyes, feet, and hands. When God looks at your body, He
sees a temple where He lives. Your body is meant to be the temple of the Holy
You wouldnt know this reading the
English version, but in the Greek Language the word your is plural
while the word body is singular. It is as if Paul is talking to the
entire congregation and speaking to all of them at once, but he is pointing out
every individual body. He is saying from the little boy and little girl to the
grown man and the grown women, Follow Jesus Christ. Your body is
There is a reason why our body is called a
temple. In the Bible, the temple was a place of worship. In like
fashion your body is to be a place of worship. The Holy Spirit lives in my
temple twenty-four hours a day, so every waking moment my body is to be a place
where God is worshipped and God is honored.
Your body is not a hotel with check out time
at twelve oclock on Sunday when church is over. Your body is a temple
where the Spirit of God resides every moment every day.
Keep in mind, just like the temple, the body
is a place of worship, but it is not an object of worship. We worship in this
building, but we dont worship this building, but because it is Gods
building we respect it and we keep it clean and honor it by the way we occupy
it. Just as we are to respect and take care of the one house (the building) we
are to respect and take care of the other house (the body). That is exactly
what we are told in another part of scripture,
Every one of you should learn to
control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect, and never
regarding it as an instrument for self-gratification, as do pagans with no
knowledge of God.
Now take a look at this. The Bible also
says, You are not your own. You were bought at a price. What that
means is that your body is not just a temple, but it is Gods temple and
it belongs to Him. God bought you. The bill of sale is the cross of Jesus
Christ. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and paid for your sins He also paid
for you. God owns every part of you every ounce, every pound, every
sinew, every fiber, every muscle, every nerve and every corpuscle belongs to
Do you understand what that means? You can
no longer say, Well, it is my lungs Ill smoke if I want to.
They are not your lungs. You can no longer say, It is my stomach.
Ill eat what I want to. It is not your stomach. You can no longer
say, It is my eyes. Ill look at what I want to. They are not
your eyes. You can no longer say, It is my mouth and Ill say what I
please. It is not your mouth. You have been bought with a price. You are
no longer your own.
God has one claim on every human being and
He has two claims on every one of His followers. He has the claim of creation
over every human being, because He created all of us. If you are one of His
followers, He also has the claim of redemption, because He bought you with the
blood of His own son. When you begin to see your body as a temple where God
lives it will change your entire perspective. But He says something
I Should See My Body As A Tool That God
Therefore honor God with your
body. (I Corinthians 6:20)
Take care of body in such a way that it can
reach its fullest potential and purpose which is to honor God. Your body was
created for one purpose to honor and to glorify God. That means where
you take it, how you treat it, what you put in it and what you do with it is
all to glorify Him.
Bring all who claim Me as their God
for I have made them for my glory.
The word honor is the word that
gives us the word doxology. A doxology is a word-phrase. In other
words, our body is to be a walking, living, breathing, talking, doxology of
praise and glory to God in everything we do with it. That is a staggering
If that is true what are the implications
and what are the applications we can make concerning our health and our body?
Let me ask you this question, How would my life change if I began to see
my body as a temple where God lives and a tool that God uses? Let me just
give you four areas where you need to take God seriously in your health and
with your body.
AREA 1: DIET
I heard preachers rant and rail against
smoking and against drinking, but lets be honest. It is just as wrong to stuff
Gods temple with food as it is to stuff Gods temple with smoke or
alcohol. In the church at Rome, some people were slaves to their own bellies.
That is why Paul said, God has given us an appetite for food and stomachs
to digest it, but that doesnt mean we should eat more than we need.
Dont think of eating as important, because someday God will do away with
both stomachs and food. (I Corinthians 6:13)
There is an old saying that inside of every
fat person there is a thin person trying to get out. I believe it is also true
that outside of every thin person is a fat person trying to climb in. There are
too many of us who spend too much time adding rooms to our temple. The truth is
we ought to be examples to others in every way including the way we treat our
AREA 2: EXERCISE
For physical training is of some
value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the
present life and the life to come. (I Timothy 4:8)
Notice that this verse does not say that
exercise is completely unimportant. As a matter of fact it says it does have
some value. It simply prioritizes exercise correctly by saying that godliness
is of greater value. Again, if your body is a temple, God deserves to live in
the best body you can give Him. If your body is a tool that God uses, then you
ought to give Him a tool that is most useful. The reason why all of us ought to
exercise is not to improve the quality of our body or the look of our bodies so
that other people will notice us or admire us. It should be to get our physical
health to the point that we will have more physical energy that we can devote
to godliness and spiritual things.
When we take care of our bodies we are
energized to do more in our personal life, our family life and our spiritual
life. There was a study of some top level executives that revealed 93% of them
have a high energy level. Less than 10% of them smoke, 90% of them exercise
regularly and most of them maintain healthy cholesterol levels.(3)
AREA 3: REST
Your body needs rest. Did you know that
drowsiness has become a very significant problem in America? It kills 38,000
people a year. Drowsiness and fatigue costs Americans roughly $166 billion a
year in lost productivity.(4)
We need to rest daily. That is why we get
sleepy. We need to rest weekly and that is why God gave us the Sabbath Day. We
need to rest monthly. That is why God gave us the weekends. We need to rest
yearly and that is why we need to take vacations.
AREA 4: CHURCH
One of the healthiest things you can do for
your temple is to bring your temple to the temple. Regular church goers, on
average, have blood pressure 5% lower than those who dont go to church.
Frequent church goers are almost 25% less likely to die than persons who go
seldom or not at all. In fact, people who attend church weekly live an average
of 7 years longer than people who never attend church.(5)
Yes, health is important. Taking care of
your body is important to God and ought to be important to you, but listen
carefully. The major reason why we ought to have healthy bodies is not just so
we will live longer, but so that we will live better. We can give God our very
best thinking, our highest energy, and our longest service.
God cares about what you do with your body.
Caring for your physical life is not just a physical issue, but it is a moral
issue and spiritual issue. The right use of your body honors God and glorifies
Him. Your body is His body. We are eternally united to the God who created us.
We are personally indwelt by His Sprit and we have been bought with the price
of the blood of His son and that is why health is not just a matter of
happiness, but it is a matter of Holiness.
Miss Capri after GPS Gaffe, BBCNews, 12/23/2009.
Takes A Toll On The Road, Readers Digest, April 2007.
Something To Brag About, p. 59.
(4)In Other Words, Winter, 1999.p 7
(5)In Other Words, Winter, 1999.p 11
Dr. James Merritt is the founder
and Senior Pastor of
Cross Pointe Church in
Duluth, Georgia. He serves as the host of
Touching Lives International
Radio and Television Broadcast Ministry airing in all 50 states and 122
countries around the world on TBN, The Church Channel, and The Liberty Channel.
James is also a popular speaker and the author of several books including
Friends, Foes and Fools, Gods Prescription For A Healthy Christian, How
To Be A Winner and Influence Anybody and Crown Him King.