As a pastor and teacher of God’s Word, I have preached and taught over 2,500 sermons, Bible messages and Bible studies in the past 25 years. I have done this with the belief that as I communicate God’s Word, and as people apply it to their lives, that their minds can be renewed, and their lives can be transformed. But is it possible that one sermon can really transform someone’s life? My answer to that question is an emphatic YES!
This past Sunday morning, our pastor Craig Millar preached the third message in his series called “Shalom: A Journey to Wholeness.” He emphasized that as human beings, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Of course that revelation itself wasn’t new or novel to me – it’s a concept that most Biblically literate people are aware of. But for the majority of my journey with Jesus, although I have worked on building my spirit and strengthening my soul, to be honest, I have greatly neglected taking care of my body.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. ” (1 Timothy 4:8). This has always been one of my favourite verses to take out of context and say, “See, bodily exercise only profits a little, so let’s not bother exercising or eating right!” However, that’s not what Paul meant in that verse at all; he was merely saying that spiritual exercise was more important than physical exercise.
And so the Bible verse that came alive to me during this Sunday’s message was this one:
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23).
The Message Bible’s paraphrase of that verse words it this way: “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together – spirit, soul, and body – and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.”
I believe that God’s desire for us is to experience His shalom – His peace – which means completeness, wholeness; a state of the fullest flourishing in every dimension. But because we are three dimensional beings (spirit, soul and body), the only way we can experience the fullness of God’s peace is when we take care of all three areas of our lives – including our bodies.
So after hearing my pastor’s message on Sunday morning, I was convicted in my heart of the need to take better care of my body. First of all, to honour and obey God (our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit after all), but secondly, as I begin to live more healthy, exercise, and eat right, I believe that those things will contribute to my being able to experience more of God’s peace in my life.
Those who know me know that I have never been a very healthy person. Since I graduated from high school (and that was several years ago!), I haven’t been physically active, and I definitely haven’t been eating right. I have been drinking one or more cans of Coke a day, enjoy chips and dip for a late night snack, eat way too much chocolate, and avoid veggies like the plague. But three days ago, I made a decision that all of that would change.
So, starting on Sunday, I gave myself a 40 day challenge to begin a journey towards a more healthy lifestyle. For the next 40 days, I am giving up Coke, chocolate, sweet treats (ice cream, candy, etc), and junk food. I am going to eat more healthy. On Sunday, I also started jogging, and plan to do that every day (so far, so good!). After the 40 days, I may not be so strict about some of the things I have given up – I may have a Coke as a special treat here or there, but who knows, as I begin to change my eating habits, I may find that my body no longer desires the junk any more!
I’m not telling you what you should do with your body. It’s not my place to tell you how to live. I’m just sharing with you my story and telling you about the changes I’m making in my life, and you know what? I’ve been feeling great!
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PHOTO: This is my oldest son Caleb and I jogging at 6:00 am this morning!
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If you’re interested in listening to the sermon that inspired and motivated me to begin living a more healthy lifestyle, visit Horizon Church’s website HERE.
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On a side note, I came across this informative article in my newsfeed tonight: