By CHRIS FIELDS
Obey God: Take care of your body
Knowledge is power, right? We’ve all heard that, but that’s only partly correct. Knowledge isn’t powerful until we act on the knowledge we have received, and that action brings about some sort of experience.
Knowledge can either work for us or against us. The Word of God speaks a lot about knowledge — unapplied knowledge, wrongly applied knowledge, and knowledge applied properly (most biblically known as wisdom).
One verse that sticks out is, “For lack of knowledge my people perish,” which is about unapplied and wrongly applied knowledge. The children of God in the Bible didn’t lack the knowledge and laws of God — they just either ignored them or applied them improperly. Either way suggests blatant disobedience to God, and there is always a debt to pay for blatant disobedience.
The Bible doesn’t give us much on how to take care of our bodies, meaning it doesn’t say verbatim, “Eat right and stay active, or your body that God created and Christ gave life to will develop diseases that will worsen your quality of life and cause you to die early:” or, “Tap into all the health and healing benefits I created within your body by exercising five times a week and eating all the assortment of fruits and veggies I created for you.” Those aren’t scriptures of the Bible, but that doesn’t mean they’re not biblical principles that we should obey.
God created our bodies, and that’s a biblical fact. He intricately designed them, and because they’re His creation and His ways are so much higher and infinitely more advanced than ours, we are thousands of years in and we still haven’t scratched the surface on the wonders of the human body. When the books of the Bible were written, the human body was fairly new, so advancements in medicine and knowledge of the wonders of the human body weren’t discovered yet.
We have discovered some knowledge on how to take care of our bodies, though: It’s taken us thousands of years to discover that exercising 150 minutes per week allows the seemingly healthy to stay healthy, and 300 minutes per week can begin to reverse the adverse effects of certain diseases that our bodies develop from lack of activity. It’s taken thousands of years to discover that our digestive process responds better when digesting lots of veggies, fish and foul, while limiting the amounts of grass-eating animals we eat.
When our knowledge of how to care for our bodies is unapplied or wrongly applied, we are blatantly disobeying our Creator and Savior. When we apply that knowledge properly, we’re practicing the wisdom of God. Even though we don’t know all the wonders of our bodies, God does, and in His infinite wisdom He’s revealed ways we can keep His most precious creation safe and healthy — and ways we can get His creation back to health when something goes wrong.
Yes, this backdrop is about eating better and exercising more consistently. Not just because it’s a good thing to do, but because when we don’t, we are not applying the wisdom of God to our lives, which comes with consequences.
A main part of my role in the health professions is serving as a health educator specializing in diabetes education and prevention and obesity education. Obesity is one of the only visible diseases, and its visibility and commonality cause lots of people not to view it as a disease, but it is one, and it’s a main contributor to other diseases like diabetes, various cancers, hypertension and heart diseases.
Obesity is defined as excessive continuous fat storage and is now linked as one of the main contributors to hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. Obesity is an outcome of energy imbalances. Energy imbalances are caused by not properly metabolizing food due to the types of food eaten, portion sizes, and poor energy expenditure. That’s translated to poor diet and inactivity, which leads to many other health issues. Poor diet and inactivity debilitate our body’s recovery and healing processes, also.
When we aren’t taking good care of our bodies as Christians, we aren’t following godly wisdom, which places us in disobedience, impeding the blessings of healing and health that God created for us. It’s hard to eat better and exercise more, especially for those who already have diagnosed diseases. But having a diagnosis of obesity or related disease is not final. Because we are so wonderfully created, our bodies can reverse most adversities brought on by improper diet and inactivity.
Chris Fields is the founder and executive director of H.E.A.L. Mississippi and a graduate in kinesiology with advanced studies in nutrition. He serves as a clinical exercise physiologist/CPT and is credentialed in Exercise Is Medicine through American College of Sports Medicine.