Last week I was writing about the necessity of sleep. We know the impact of sleep on our biological functions is so important. In fact, Last week I was talking with my friend Bob, and he was telling me about an NPR report actually revealing the way sleep "washes" away the bad proteins in our bodies. Not only is sleep important for our spiritual lives, but it's essential for us physically.
Next step in our spiritual disciplines is being able to eat.
No surprise to anyone out there, obesity in America is CRAZY out of hand. Diabetes rates are skyrocketing, heart disease continues to kill, and the lethargic nature of our society has made us a sedentary people. I have to say, we've started to worship the idol of food instead of eating for what food was meant to be. Just look at the number of FOOD shows on T.V. now. (I'll stop. That's for another article)
For some reason, we've been told exercise and dieting is all about what you look like. People are getting their last binge of food in here for the holidays, and you know what's going to happen after January 1. The New Year's resolution charade we play is like Christmas to the fitness industry. After we gorge ourselves through Thanksgiving, and totally obsess over the Christmas cookies, we start looking in the mirror and we don't like what we see.
The "hangover" has nothing to do with the movie series and much more to do with our unwanted rolls hanging over our belt areas. So if this happens every year, why do we STILL DO IT? Isn't there a way to begin taking control of what we eat? Or isn't there another reason to be careful about what we eat other than what we look like?
Paul wrote about this in the Bible. He spoke of eating and to what degree we eat in 1 Corinthians 6. Remember, this book was about a stern warning to a church who was growing more and more out of control, and the reason for the letter was to correct lifestyle theology. But check this out.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
What's crazy is Paul ties the idea of being mastered by food to sexual immorality. He goes on to write about how the body we have is THE temple of God. THE TEMPLE!!
Now I don't know how much ancient Jewish Theology you've done, but when God commanded the Jews of the Old Testament to build a temple, they didn't play around. They knew it was going to be the house where God would dwell. They understood the importance of every material, measurement, and margin. They would never treat the temple with anything but the highest regard.
So if Paul is comparing the Temple of God with our bodies, why do we think it ok to treat our bodies with anything less than the discipline it would take to build a physical temple? We pump terrible food in our system, we compromise and fill our veins with sugars and grains that are proven to disable the functionality of your physique, and all the while we justify it as just something God has given us to choose. SOMETHING IS WRONG!!
I think once you get your sleep patterns in line with how your body functions, the next step is to take a real hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you're training your physical body with the proper discipline. Not discipline as a child might receive correction, but discipline because it takes effort to develop a healthy spiritual life. You're not going to just happen into a right spiritual world without some work. (I know that's not a very popular message these days in the Christian world, but let's be frank and honest.)
I'd love to hear how you guys are doing on your quest for healthy spiritual discipline. If you've got a success story, or even a story of failure, this is a great place to share life together, somewhat anonymous. Let me know how it's going.
This week, let's together try and have an honest discussion about what we're eating, and next week we'll work on the plan to help us get to healthy living both physically AND spiritually.