We all know that it says in the Bible, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV). We are called as Christians to uphold a high degree of respect for our physical bodies which are denoted as the actual temple of the living God inside of us. The question really becomes then, are we taking care of our temples? Now, many will appeal to the spiritual side of maintaining their temple, claiming prayer, time in the Word and fellowship as regular parts of their routine, however, how many people can attest to upholding their temple in a more physical sense?
2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (ESV). We strive daily for sanctification through the Holy Spirit and His work in us, but what about the other part of the verse, the part that calls us to cleanse ourselves of bodily defilement?
The Bible teaches us to “test everything” to see if we are living in truth, especially in a world that is a constant barrage of information, pulling us in one direction or another. Why, if we do that for our minds and hearts, would we not do that in regards to our bodies? Apart from the more obvious strongholds that threaten us such as sexual immorality and substance addictions, where do we stand when it comes to what we eat? At times it seems easier to pass judgment on Christians who find liberty in their faith and, for example’s sake, enjoy a glass of wine here and there. Why is it then that we turn a blind eye to gluttony and self-destructive eating habits?
Deception is not only prevalent in the form of other religions and beliefs, it is also used to influence our lifestyle choices. Clearly we know that there are certain foods that we should avoid, such as anything fried or made with refined white sugar and flour. But what about when we attempt to be healthy by purchasing food containing the words “whole grain”, “all natural”, “made with real fruit” or even “helps maintain a healthy heart” labeled on the packaging? The interesting part of the equation here is the way that the FDA regulates these statements. You would be surprised to know that although something is labeled “natural”, it is still permissible to use pesticides, genetically modified items, high fructose corn syrup and other processed ingredients. That doesn’t sound natural to me. Even healthy looking options such as fruits and veggies can be loaded with pesticides and other chemicals that damage our bodies slowly but surely.
Is what we know about healthy living, what is told to us in the media, by the government and by our grocery stores, really true? It’s our job to figure it out. God has given us options because He made us with free will. We have the option to choose what we do with our temples.
The best advice for someone who is going to try to begin to eat a healthy diet is to do some preliminary research, as well as read labels and make sure the ingredient list is short and pronounceable. It’s also important to remember that we have a vote. We choose what grocery stores carry because we’re the ones with the dollars. There are many locations in South Florida that offer food that is grown by sustainable farming methods in organic soil, and that promote humane treatment of not only the animals but also the farm workers.
Jesus is very clear in Matthew 7:14 when He says, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few”(ESV). We know that loving Jesus means obeying Him, and it’s not easy when we are all plagued with the disease of sin that tries to overpower us every day. There is a very obvious correlation to be found here when it comes to endeavoring to maintain high standards for not only your spiritual walk but also your physical health. Satan will tell us that we can’t afford to do it, that it’s too difficult, that it’s not practical. But God is a God of encouragement, not discouragement, and staying fit, eating healthy and knowing what we are putting in our temples is glorifying to God.
We can never do it on our own, only with His help, but in 1 John, it does call us to “purify ourselves as He is pure” (ESV). As we know God more and more, we need to strive daily to purify ourselves and present ourselves as blameless before our Creator and Judge. Without our health we can’t do anything, so what can you change today to begin a walk that may not necessarily be easy, but will ultimately be aligned more and more with God’s will for you, body and soul?
Check out some local organic stores such as BM Organics, the Green Wave Cafe or Josh’s Market. Also, for further information on the journey that your food takes, from farm (or processing plant) to table, check out the documentary film, “Food, Inc.”
Rachael can be reached at [email protected].