Truth #5 – My lifestyle will result in health or unhealth.
Paul instructed the church in Rome about the lifestyle they should lead in Romans 12:1a (NIV):
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.
This encouragement was delivered to a church that was very familiar with the concepts of sacrificial bodies. So it might have been more resounding then than it is for us today, but we need not be some learned historian or ancient Jew to understand that the bodies (sōma) that were sacrificed (thusia) didn’t survive the process (even thusia comes from thuō, meaning to kill). So the descriptor of “living” (zaō) indicated a very distinct sort of ritual — one that remained a sacrifice by conscious choice through the lifestyle of the body. This was something new.
And it’s a fundamental element of what God’s about — a different lifestyle, a transformed person, a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our pre-Christ lifestyle bled over into death, a point Paul had just spent several chapters reiterating, but we’re not longer bound to that death, to that old lifestyle. Paul asked the Galatians a key question: “You were slaves before, and now you know God; so why are you returning to that old slavery?” (Galatians 4:8-9)
Our lifestyle is going to produce something in us, period. We reap what we sow; that reaping can take the form of spiritual maturity, mental discipline, physical health, emotional turbulence, extreme doubt, or even misguided legalism like the Galatians. The results can range from healthy to unhealthy, from order to disorder, from godly to ungodly.
We must recognize that a lifestyle put us in our current state, and nothing short of a transformed lifestyle will get us out. Admittedly, we can spread blame easily enough in our modern society. We were coaxed into that old lifestyle, that old slavery, by the manic schedule demanded by society, a substantial amount of stress from the workplace and parenting, and the millions of dollars the food industry spends on food science and “‘craving experts’ to ensure that you will become addicted to deviously developed ‘drugs,’ all of which are hidden in cleverly disguised vehicles for sugar, fat, and salt” (Mark Hyman, MD [@markhymanmd], writing for Experience Life March 2014).
Blame only holds value insofar as it equips lifestyle change. Beyond that, it accomplishes nothing positive.
Yet does Paul ask the Galatians who was to blame? Does he tell the Romans to find a scapegoat to sacrifice in their stead? No! Blame only holds value insofar as it informs and equips lifestyle change. Beyond that, it accomplishes nothing positive. Ultimately, it’s our lifestyle that leads to our lack of health.
Thankfully, lifestyle works both ways. While I don’t intend to glorify her spiritual lifestyle or other choices, look at the impact of a different mindset that resulted from the different lifestyle of the young girl who would someday become the pop icon Pink (as told to People, May 2014).
I was a gymnast for eight years, starting when I was four years old. So instead of thinking, “Am I skinny? What does my body look like?” I grew up thinking, “Am I fast enough? How can I use my body?” I’m a person who could always lose a couple [pounds] here and there, but I would rather be strong than bony.
Her athletic lifestyle produced a healthy life. Maybe she doesn’t have the perfect body according to some critics, but almost no one does (see Truth #10). Those rare few come close typically do so only briefly, and only as a result of unhealthy living (see Truth #6).
Pink is content with her body, and — based on an amusing anecdote about her two-year-old’s request for a silly mother/daughter “naked booby butt dance party”— she’s passing on her comfort with her body to her daughter, who might not grow up with the body image issues so many of us wrestle with. And that’s a good thing given a startling statistic I recently saw in an advertisement: “6 in 10 girls stop doing what they love because of anxiety about their looks.”
If Pink can embrace this truth and even pass it on to the next generation, how much more should we Christians? My lifestyle will result in health or unhealth.
Originally posted 2016-01-29 08:00:59.