An elder of the Church visited a 3rd grade Bible class one Sunday morning. He asked the class why people call him a Christian? A little girl named Laura raised her hand. "Yes," said the elder pointing to the girl, "go ahead"
In sweet innocence, Laura replied, "Because they don't know you?"
Ba-da Bing, Ba-da Boom!
Indeed, I often wonder why God puts up with us as His children given the way we often think and act. No, I am not speaking about holiness, though holiness is certainly an element of faith. Rather, I am referring to the way Christians walk in step with the world when it comes to their health and lifestyle.
Based on health and lifestyle, most people would be hard pressed to single out a Christian in a crowd of unbelievers. Christians eat the same junk foods, drink the same soft drinks, get just as obese, come down with the same diseases and get treated by doctors trained in the same medicine, take the same drugs and often die from complications following the same medications and treatment.
Don't get me wrong. I am not questioning anyone's faith, their Church attendance, worship, church activity, or none of that stuff. No, rather what I'm questioning is the spiritual disconnect I see in the operation of our faith with our own physical health and well-being. I mean it's as though many Christians consider food and medicine as being irrelevant to the practice of their faith.
Oh sure, we pray over our food and we pray for healing when under the care of a doctor. I am not talking about that. What I'm talking about is not giving consideration to food and medicine as being a weapon of Satan. Crazy, you say?
Let me give you a word of knowledge from God's Word. It is our responsibility as Christians to "test everything" and to "avoid every kind of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21). Everything certainly includes food and medicine, two large parts of our life.
Time and again, God's Word tells us to; "live a life worthy of the calling" we received (Ephesians 4:1), to not be "conformed to the pattern of this world" (Romans 12:2), "not to be yoked together with unbelievers" (II Corinthians 6:14). "For what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever" (II Corinthians 6:15)?
We typically relate those verses to avoiding sin, and rightfully so. But there's more than holiness at stake here. There is a matter of righteousness in how we care for our fleshly body as well.
For "What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'...Therefore, come out from among them and be separate...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God" ((II Corinthians 6:16 to 7:1).
So now: If I tell you that eating a diet high in saturated fats creates heart disease, would a steady diet high in saturated fats be something that contaminates the body? Would it matter to you?
If I tell you that monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer found in many processed foods, may cause obesity and creates adverse reactions in many people, could MSG be something that contaminates the body? Would you care?
If I tell you that your body must be alkalized to remain free of disease, would having an acidic body be something that contaminates the body? Would this information cause you to want to test your body's pH level?
If I tell you there are safe and effective alternatives to prescription drugs, which often cause adverse reactions, including death, would taking those drugs be something that contaminates the body? Would it matter to you?
My point is that the world could care less about your well being, it only wants your money. So the world is full of lies and "feel goods" to keep you coming back. That is how the world works. For instance: To get you to buy processed meats, meat packagers inject sodium nitrite into the meat to make it look fresh and to preserve it. Never mind that sodium nitrite when heated forms nitrosamines, extremely powerful cancer-causing chemicals. Does that matter to you? It matters to God who knit your body together in the womb of your mother. He has something to say about that.
Or suppose you are diagnosed with cancer. Never mind there are safer and more effective alternatives then the surgery your physician recommends. He thinks a surgeon should cut you open from front to back to remove the tumor. If you survive the surgery, you would be given toxic and often lethal drugs. Your doctor gives you no other viable options. Does that matter to you? It matters to God who knit you together in the womb of your mother. He has something to say about that as well.
Here's the point. God receives no glory in you getting sick with a disease. He receives no glory in disease and suffering period. God receives glory in healing, and through sacrifices we offer to Him in body, spirit and soul. That word sacrifice refers to how we live our life, which includes the welfare of our body.
Since food and medicine are high on our list of life"s priorities, it is in these areas that we must be on guard and cautious about the most. Why food and medicine? Well, if you were Satan, could you think of a greater way to inflict more harm than through food and medicine? People need to eat and people need medical help. Satan acting through the world works 24/7 in both the food and medical industry to put and keep you down, to keep you from glorifying God in body.
It sickens me to see so many Christians in physical suffering brought on by their own neglectful lifestyle. Trust me, this has a huge impact. Others looking in the Church from outside observe there is nothing going on there different from the world. There is nothing to make them want to seek God. If only Church leaders would understand God"s laws do not stop at the Church door; if they would only begin to educate Christians about the holiness of their body as it relates to food and medicine, life as a Christian would become much healthier. Many people outside of Christ would begin seeking Him.
I believe the local Church has a responsibility to educate believers in the righteous manner they should treat their bodies. No, not just warn them about the misuse of sex and drugs, but to teach them the difference between good and bad food and medicine. Church leaders should teach us how to "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit," But here is where things get fuzzy and blurred.
Many Church leaders, ignorant themselves of the connection between physical and spiritual health, are fearful of getting into trouble with the law or fear being outcast as false teachers. Even worse, some Church leaders just don't get the connection between obeying God's natural laws and spiritual healing.
They have an "eat, drink and be merry" attitude toward the body. This is the disconnect I spoke of earlier. The mindset they carry is that Church is where one goes for salvation. The world is where one goes for health and healing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). Our body is a member of Christ's Body (I Corinthians 6:15). Our body, spirit and soul have all been redeemed. There is no earthly reason why we should leave responsibility to the world for our health and well-being, anymore than we should leave our souls to the world for salvation.
Churches conduct classes on almost any Bible related topic you can imagine. Why not a healthy lifestyle class? Topics could include such things as learning how to read food labels and what to watch out for, identifying known food chemicals suspect for poor health, identifying physicians in your area trained in holistic health, Bible study on the subject of health and much more. Not only would such classes be popular, they would serve to draw more visitors.
Food and medicine are the issues of our time. The more a Church is willing to involve itself in educating its flock on the topic of food and medicine as a spiritual act of worship, the more we will see a healthier Church.