If I love God and live in unhealthy ways, will he cover for my poor choices and let me live long and well?
One of the basic principles of life is: “That which a man sows–that will he reap. If anyone could break this rule, it would make a fool of God.” Good luck trying to pull that one off! Galatians 6:7
Yet I know that I sometimes I think that, because I am doing so much for the kingdom, God will cover for me even when I don’t exercise or sleep enough. I have often told good Christian friends who have been trapped by smoking cigarettes, that they will go to heaven, just a little early, but what a shame to quit the battle early due to an unhealthy habit! It is a privilege to do battle for the kingdom! I need to care for my body so that I can stay in the battle as long as God wills.
There is, of course, one exception to reaping what I sow: when I deserved Hell and was given Heaven instead. However, I didn’t “get away with it”, instead God paid my debt and gave me righteousness at a great price.
But will he reverse the damage I caused by my failure to live by the designer’s advice? If the alcoholic repents, does his liver damage go away? No!
Fortunately there is MERCY: God bringing good out of the consequences of my sin. (See biblical word definitions)
When I repent, God leaves the consequences that I need in order to teach me to hate my sin but walks these consequences with me so I am not overwhelmed or destroyed by the consequences. (For where sin abounds–Grace even more abounds.) However I should not take advantage of MERCY but rather find Grace to live a healthy life and be better able to serve God and others. God sees my body as a beautiful tool to bring his love to others. Isaiah 52:7
So here’s a Weekly Healthy Living Self-Check Tool: ( It is hard to remember a once a week tool and so I set a specific day and time.) There are four areas of healthy living that I need to examine, not to yell at myself when I fall short but to keep me on track.
1. Physical, a. diet:-high fiber, low sugar (fiber feeds the bacteria in my gut that make replacement serotonin to calm me down. Sugar feeds the unhealthy bacteria.) b. sleep: -7 to 8 hours.( If I sleep 6 or less hours, I can not replace the neurotransmitters that I used up, can’t fix in place the positive things that God did the day before, can’t repair the damage I do to my brain daily which will accumulate and cause heart disease and early dementia, can’t strength the healthy new habits I have been practicing) c. exercise: cardio, (exercise till my heart is pounding and I am short of breath), a minimum of 10 min daily. (Cardio brings oxygen laden blood up to my brain, it need to be daily not 3 times a week) d.no poisons: cigarettes, alcohol, sugar, drugs (A single drink on an empty stomach causes a sudden rise in blood alcohol that pulls water out of my brain then the alcohol goes into the brain dragging water and causes swelling. It take a month for my brain to recover. The same is true even if I eat first, if I add carbonation to the alcohol or have a second drink in one hour, or 3 in an evening) e. Am I taking care of my diagnosed medical illnesses,( I do not belong to myself, I am bought with a price and need to steward God’s most valuable gift to me and those around me, my yielded body) f. am I regularly taking deep breaths? g.Am I staying hydrated?
2. Schedule: a.Am I doing too much? psalms 127 b. too little Colossians 4:5 c. Am I taking quiet time for me and God Mark 1:35 d. Is my schedule balanced Ecclesiastes 3:1 (I think that if I give my time to God he will have me working constantly–however he is the one who came up with taking time to relax and rejuvenate. e. Do I take time off to rejuvenate?
3. Relational- Is there anyone with whom I may be real, not have to put up a fake front, and still be accepted, do I have others to learn from and minister to? If I want to have friends I must show myself friendly. Proverbs 18:24 Do I use others in a damaging way for my own pleasure? (I must remember that love can always wait to give or receive, lust must have it’s way now despite the cost. Am I willing to wound a friend for their own good seeking to restore and watching out for my own beam in my eye? Galatians 6:1, Matthew 7:3 Do I take time to be still and know my Jesus? Psalms 46:10 In ALL my ways I need to seek to know him more and then he can direct my paths. Proverbs 3:6
4. Dynamic balance: Am I daily practicing dynamic resting? Do I first yield my body and mind to grab hold of the current moment, the current situation with all my might and then letting it go,(When the answer to the vital question: “Is there anything else God wants me to do about the current situation”, is NO). Do I feel both peaceful and passionate, do I engage in gentle warfare? Do I love people and hate sin? Is my life full of music and singing? When was my last hearty laugh? Do I hope for people and believe in them and bless them while setting limits and reproving for their own good and with much affliction and anguish of heart? 2 Corinthians 2:4
5.Focus: Informed by the past and looking to the future, hoping in God’s promises and picturing what will be if I obey. Am I keeping my focus in the here and now, not investing any worry in tomorrows needs or wallowing in the past? Matthew 6.(Pretty much the whole chapter)
Remember that we Christians often think, irrationally, that it is bad to discover areas of shortfall and need for growth. We hope that the answer to self examination, asking others, asking the Holy Spirit, or reading the Word will be to show us that we are just fine and better than most. Psalms 139:23, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalms 26:2, I Corinthians 11:28, 2 Corinthians 13:5
Hah! All scripture will reprove and show me that I am the chief of sinners. I Timothy 1:15 So when I examine and find areas for growth, I should rejoice and get excited about what the Holy Spirit is about to do to help me grow and have a closer walk and a more impactful life.
The longer I walk in the Spirit, the greater is the gap between being amazed at what God can do through my yeilded self and how much he truly loves me: being amazed that he can do anything through me given how much worse I am than I thought. This gap is the measure of humility and usefulness and gratitude to God, so “Lord help me open my eyes and let the gap be more apparent!