Honoring God with Your Health

by Heather Neese

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As believers, it is of great importance to remove the filth from our hearts. We believe the biblical truth that the heart “is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We make intentional efforts to ask the Lord to purify us, cleanse our hearts and renew our minds, in order to focus more clearly on uninterrupted communion with Him.  Over the past several years, the Lord has challenged me to see how taking care of my body – and the bodies entrusted to me as a wife and mother – is of essential importance to my spiritual growth as well.

As a self-proclaimed Crunchy-Granola-Girl (or whatever your term is for the crazy organic people), I want to share how nutritional wellness has impacted my life both practically and spiritually.   

When I was approaching the age of two, my mother was pregnant with another baby.  At almost five and a half months pregnant, she miscarried.  Due to the complications of her particular condition, she almost died.  Losing all but one unit of blood, she was given a complete blood transfusion, which saved her life.  The same life-saving blood carried with it a virus that attacked her liver, and would later cause her to make a huge life-altering choice.  

Upon testing positive for this particular virus, she was given one treatment option. She could take a drug with the potential of harsh side effects without a high success rate for this particular illness that would at the very best “buy her time.”

Because they were Christians, my parents sought the Lord’s guidance.  In a matter of a week’s time, He led them to an alternative route of treatment for my mother – one that drastically changed her life and in-turn, my own.

My mother was given guidance to completely clean out the pantry, begin eating God’s food, and boost her immunity to the most intense degree for healing and maintenance.

Because I grew up in the midst of this, organic food and nutritional health became second nature to me.  What began as commonplace has developed into a far greater passion as the years have gone by.  Upon having my own children, further research on this topic led me to see eating well as more than something you do to just stay healthy.  I began to see how this part of my life could also be offered as an act of spiritual worship to God.    

As moms, we live each day with a desire to nourish our families spiritually and practically.  With as much time as we spend grocery shopping, meal planning, and on our feet in the kitchen, doesn’t it make sense to be as intentional and purposeful as possible in this area of life?

I want to point out practical and biblical looks into healthy eating, that may encourage all of us to rise to a higher calling in taking care of the physical bodies God has so graciously blessed us with while on this earth.  

A Practical Look:

Research your labels.  

Americans rely so heavily on other people researching and determining which food ingredients are acceptable or not. Notice I did not suggest we just read our labels, but rather research them.  Here is something I have learned: If the particular ingredient is too long or too difficult to pronounce, that should cause alarm enough in me to look it up. In this situation, Google really is our friend.  

GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are not a myth. There are common preservatives in American foods, which are banned in other countries for health safety reasons.  Synthetic pesticides and Roundup herbicides are used on our fruits and vegetables, unless they are organic. Neurotoxins, heavy metals, and growth hormones have been added to many of the foods in our grocery store.  

Compare your labels.  

One thing that has really helped me over the years is to pick up a few different brands of the same product and compare the ingredients.  For example, the next time you are at the grocery store, pick up your favorite normal brand peanut butter and compare it with an organic peanut butter option.  The difference is shocking.  The organic option will have peanuts, salt, sugar (unless you opt for the unsweetened, which I actually find to be good), and some organic expeller pressed oil of some sort.  The non-organic brand will have fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (usually soybean) and some added things like mono and diglycerides.  Also, the peanuts in the non-organic option are going to likely be genetically modified, as will the oil.  

Not everything labeled organic is good for you, but what’s good for you is usually labeled organic.

There are tons of processed foods on the shelves of the grocery stores labeled organic, but they are extremely high in sugar.  Be aware that so much of what is on the shelves of our stores are substances to keep us alive, and not necessarily to provide nutrition to our bodies.  Again, look at the labels. Some organic foods have very pure ingredients, while others include extra fillers that are not nutritious.    

In order to really guarantee a particular food is free of GMO’s, harmful pesticides and herbicides, neurotoxins, heavy metals, and growth hormones you have to buy organic.  

Test it.  

There are countless stories of individuals who have taken the steps to remove harmful preservatives from their diet, switched to a more “clean” way of eating, and reduced sugar intake from processed foods. They find themselves with more energy, less ailments, and a better way of life.  So, test it for yourself.  Remove some of the things from your diet that could be causing sluggishness, excess weight gain, inflammation and pain, digestive problems, etc. Replace them with foods that builds up your immunity, restores brain health, energizes and replenishes your gut, and see how you feel!

A Biblical Look:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

This is the really exciting part for me. God created us with the intent of every part of us being offered back as an act of honor and glory to Himself.  Of course, one day our physical bodies will return to dust, but while we have the privilege of living on this earth, we too have an opportunity to honor God with our bodies – the same bodies which house the Holy Spirit.  

You see, in the beginning, all the food was organic.  There were no pesticides or humans tampering with nature to modify a piece of fruit.  All the food provided in the garden was given for nourishment.  I am convinced we will be held accountable for how we took care of the bodies God has physically blessed us with on this earth.  As Christians, we have strong convictions that call us to a higher standard in so many areas; let this be one of them.

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Again, Scripture tells us that our bodies are to be offered to God as a sacrifice, which is an act of worship.  

There are a few things that happen when we weed out the processed junk and replace with food that God created to bring life:
  1. We physically feel better.  In fact, many of us will realize how bad we felt before, once we feel better.
  2. We spiritually feel better.  Your mind is clearer without all the preservatives and additives clearing your brain. I am always able to more clearly concentrate on my prayer life and Bible study when I am taking care of myself nutritionally.
  3. We see the Deceiver at work. Satan tricks us into believing that chemicals are perfectly fine for our bodies and will have no effect on our health.  This is just another way the enemy seeks to devour.  

Notice lastly in the above verse that Paul urges believers saying, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  This is applicable in every area of life for us as believers, even down to taking care of our bodies.  Being set apart – not being content with the norm – is part of the fiber of who we are as Christians.

As mothers, we have been given a tremendous opportunity to foster health and wellness into the lives of our children.  It truly is a gift.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  

This verse is often taken out of context to say we can eat or drink whatever we want, as long as we offer it up to God.  Instead, Paul is urging the church at Corinth to choose wisely the things they do, so that all they do can be seen as a glorious offering unto God.  

In the passage before this he says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable” (1 Corinthians 10:23).  You and I have the ability to misuse and abuse the bodies we have been given with foods that break down our immunity and cause and intensify ailments; however, is that profitable?  Lawful, perhaps; but profitable?

This is a challenge to us to honor God with how we take care of the physical bodies He has blessed us with the privilege of caring for while on this earth.  This truly can be a joyful experience.

Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

In closing, it is God who is the ultimate source of all wisdom and knowledge.  What I have learned through my long journey of health and wellness, is that He is always the One with the answers.  My goal is not to live a perfect life, eating only the perfect foods, and having perfect health.  I get sick and my children get sick with the common illnesses just like the rest of you reading.  My goal is to take a basic privilege – the ability to choose what goes into our body as nourishment – and offer that back to God as an act of worship.    

Father, thank You for creating our bodies so miraculously.  Thank You that we live in a place where we have the ability to choose what we eat.  Please help us to make the changes necessary on a daily basis with our diets and nutritional habits, that will bring us to a place of wellness, that we may experience the fullness of the life You have for us here on this earth.  We love You, Lord, and desire that every part of our life be a beautiful offering to You, for Your fame and glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

 Heather Neese

HeatherNeese

 

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