Sunday, October 21, 2007

Health Nutz, pt. 1

"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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

"You know, we're not just staying pure, because we're afraid we'll get pregnant. Not as believers. The world, they don't do it because they fear circumstances. We don't just stay pure because we're afraid of getting a disease. Now these are things that you got to factor in. But that ain't the only reason we're not doing this. We're staying pure because we love God."

- Da Truth, from "Fourplay (Interlude)" off of his album, "Moment of Truth (2004)"

Peace and blessings,

While sitting in my public health course one day, I had an interesting revelation. During our many discussions and readings about the health issues facing us as humans (i.e. diseases, mental illness, physical illness), it hit me: to be a Christian is to be a health nut. As illustrated by Paul's letter to the church of Corinth, our bodies are temples purchased and set aside for use by God. Further, I am convinced that the extent to which God can use our bodies as vessels to do His will (e.g. spreading the love of Christ and thus changing the world) depends (at least in part) on how much we value and take care of our physical and mental selves. Now I must clarify that by taking care of our physical selves i'm not suggesting that we need to all be lean and/or thin, nor am I suggesting that for us to be overweight or have meat on our bones means that we are not taking care of ourselves. This is not what I mean at all. Instead, what I am saying is that as we ascribe to the Christian faith and doctrine, we are inevitably promoting our overall health.

A few examples of the behavioral requirements/implications of our faith serves to illustrate this point. Preserving sex until marriage has obvious health benefits on two levels. On a physical level, a sexual relationship within the context of a godly marriage reduces the chances of contracting a STD. If both spouses were virgins prior to getting married, then this risk is practically non-existent. On a more social level, I believe that because sex establishes just as much a spiritual connection as a physical connection, that bonding with someone on that level can potentially have negative consequences if we're not careful. For instance, engaging in many sexual relationships may make it difficult to have meaningful relationships, given how one may have to struggle with these physical and spiritual connections they have with all of these people. Therefore, it may be hard for us to recognize the person we are supposed to spend the rest of our lives with, when we are still connected to these other individuals from previous relationships. Other examples of health - promoting behaviors that we as Christians are required or at least encouraged to practice include avoiding "greedy" behaviors (gluttony, etc...) and avoiding the use of faculty-altering substances. I think that consuming our temples with greedy behaviors and faculty-altering substances also makes our temples too "cluttered" to be used by God.

The above quote by Da Truth makes an important disctinction regarding this issue. Although there are these and many other health benefits that result from walking the Christian walk, it is important to know that these benefits in themselves are not our motivation for engaging in health - promoting behaviors. First and foremost, engaging in health - promoting behaviors should follow from the gratitude for being redeemed by Jesus Christ, and the desire (via love) to live a life pleasing to God. Because God is like hecka smart, and thus He cares for us better than we care for ourselves, it "just so happens" that by serving Him, we are also promoting our physical and mental health.

On a related note, here's an article discussing the potential of
  • religious faith being linked to good health.

  • As another point of clarification, I do not wish to come off as judgmental or as if I don't have flaws, because Lord knows I do! I just want to put this topic in the open as it's been on my heart for a while, and I pray that it's received in good spirits. With that said, what do you think? Stay blessed, encouraged, and speekonit...


    Anonymous said...

    I think this blog is like "hecka true" or "hecka on point". lol. Definitely on point though.

    Unknown said...

    LOL keep making fun of how we get down over here on "the best coast."