A PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH
Have you ever thought about developing a philosophy of health? You probably have one but it’s sub- conscious. It could be anything from “eat, drink and be merry because you’ve got to die from something” to the realization that “you were bought at a price and should glorify God in your body.”
Health is actually a neutral word. We can have good health or bad health. Good health is more than the absence of disease. One dictionary definition is “a flourishing condition,” That’s more than just being okay.
This morning I’d like to give you some things to think about to help you come to grips with where you are and where you’d like to be regarding the level of your health.
There are many kinds of health. We usually think of physical health which consists of how our bodies function and what condition they’re in. Our bodies are affected by what we eat and drink, our exercise and sleep habits, levels of stress, and other lifestyle practices.
Mental/emotional health has to do with the state of our minds which also affects how we think and feel. Problems in family relationships, jobs, etc. can result in depression, addictions and stress. In Phil. 2:5, Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Jesus Christ.” Wouldn’t we all like to have the Lord’s mind in us so we could function from His viewpoint?
Social health is another one that you may not have thought of before. Personality has a lot to do with this. Jesus was a social person. He liked to be out where the people were, forming relationships with them. He mixed with all classes of people. We would do well to imitate Him in this.
Lastly, there is spiritual health. It’s influenced by our relationship with Jesus through such things as our prayer lives, Bible study, church attendance and witnessing. All of these activities take time to have a closer relationship with Him. Ellen White has stated, “The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the up-building of character.” MH 130 The only thing we take to heaven from this life is our characters.
None of these areas of health stand alone. Together they make a whole. If one is affected there’s a domino effect. They all overlap. It’s just like the 10 commandments. If you break one, you break them all because each one is part of the whole law of love. Next time you’re physically sick, check out how it is affecting you mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
The Lord wants us to be healthy. Rom. 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” It’s reasonable because of what our Savior has done for us. We owe Him our lives now and for eternity. Taking care of them is one way to thank Him and to be better used by Him in His service.
Much more emphasis needs to be placed on prevention than on the treatment of disease. For instance, the lifestyle changes doctors advise heart attack victims to follow are the same practices that would have prevented the heart attack in the first place. Health doesn’t depend on chance but on obedience to laws. We aren’t saved by our lifestyle habits, but they do have an impact on our spiritual lives. Gal. 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” The consequences of poor health choices catch up with us sooner or later.
There are many good reasons to follow the laws of health:
The first is for our own well being. It may be self-serving but everyone wants to feel good and be able to function at one’s best. Healthy people are also happy people. It’s great to feel energetic and have a clear mind to enjoy the activities of life.
Second, we want to be healthy for the benefit of others. It’s unselfish to care about our health because sickness affects others at home, on the job, in school, etc. We all know that when Mom is laid up, everyone suffers. Sick people put a burden on others and risk spreading contagious diseases.
Third, if unhealthy, we can’t serve God fully. Not only does poor health affect our ability to relate to God but we can’t reach out to others for Him either. We should be physically fit enough to do anything the Lord calls us to do short of whatever isn’t within our power to control because sometimes disease hits us through no fault of our own.
Fourth, We also want to be a good example to those who are meaningful to us. Our influence on others is very strong—more than many of us realize. We are all being watched by someone. Children frequently follow in their parents footsteps. Ask yourself the question, “Do I want my children and grand children to follow my health practices?”
One of the biggest problems we face in our country in regard to a healthy lifestyle is self control or temperance. Many lives are out of balance. True temperance means not only abstaining from all harmful things but also using all good things in moderation.
Ellen White talks about the significance of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. In the book Ministry of Healing, p. 129 is this statement, “One of the most deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man’s power of self-control. Only as this power is regained can there be real progress.”
I like Ps. 103:2 which says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” If you have abused your body temple, the Lord will not only forgive you, but He will also heal you as you do your part to become whole again.
For most people, health is a choice. What we do either adds or subtracts from it. In 1 Cor. 10:31 Paul says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That’s good admonition. Good decisions form good habits and bad decisions form bad habits.
I’m happy to belong to a church that cares about the health of its members as well as people in the community. There are a number of programs coming up in October that you can choose from starting with a seminar to boost your immunity. Following that is a vegetarian cooking school and stress management seminar. After the first of the year, we’ll have another CHIP health screening and a seminar on depression. We’re also talking about a stop smoking or addictions program. There is a walking program that you can do any time. As a church body we need to improve our own health status so we can be a positive witness within our families and in the community.
I hope many of you will take advantage of these classes. And, I want to encourage you to develop a conscious and conscientious philosophy of health, and as a result, enjoy “flourishing health.”