Ensuring that you’re fueling your body with the right nutrition has many physical benefits. We looked at some of those in a previous article. Working hand in hand with those are the spiritual reasons why it is good to strive to live healthfully. If you think on these reasons, they will give you even deeper motivation to study this subject and put it into practice in your life.
1. For God
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). Think about how much care and detail God put into His instructions concerning the tabernacle where He dwelled in ancient Israel. That tabernacle was just a physical, temporary structure, yet God wanted that physical dwelling built precisely right so He could dwell in it.
Our bodies are temporary, yes, but they house God’s Spirit. How much care did God take to create our bodies—and then to provide just the right foods to ensure they grow properly and are sustained with strength? How much care did He and the Word take to make sure that if the physical laws they created were obeyed, that this “house” would function beautifully, perfectly, so His Holy Spirit could dwell in it and flourish?
If we think of ourselves as a house for God, we will live our lives and take care of ourselves differently.
Following good health will also set us apart from the world. We should eat differently from the world.
If we are following God’s physical laws and are healthy and happy, that is yet another way we can glorify God: by showing other people what God is like and what they can be like if they obey God. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
2. For the Work
With good health, we can serve God’s Work more fully.Herbert W. Armstrong knew he could not successfully serve God and fulfill his God-given responsibilities unless he was in good physical health. In fact, God made it a part of his initial training to educate him on health and nutrition (see Chapter 23 in the Autobiography). God saw to it that Mr. Armstrong received this crucial information, not only to prepare him physically for the grueling job ahead, but also so he could educate His Church.
In his article, “What Are the Secrets of My Youthful Vitality, Energy, Drive and Long Life?” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “I make it part of my education to study the factors that maintain good health. I learned that we humans are just what we eat. We came out of the ground. We are maintained by food that grows out of the ground. I learned that some famous doctors say that approximately 90 percent of sicknesses and diseases are caused by faulty diet. So I studied, many years ago, to learn about nutrition and diet” (Worldwide News, November 1982).
We have a big Work ahead of us. We need our health to finish that Work! The Bible is clear that the time ahead will be challenging, even physically. We need stable minds and strong bodies to withstand the pressure.
3. To Follow Christ
Jesus Christ never sinned. That means He perfectly obeyed the laws of physical health, including nutrition. If we are following His example, then we will strive to obey these physical laws as well. If He is living in us, we will follow the laws of physical health.
Obeying the laws of nutrition also helps us build godly character. We build character by going against the pulls of the flesh and making better choices in our diets. We have to work hard and be vigilant to eat healthy in this world where so much food production is corrupt. God uses those choices to build character.
Just as we can’t tell if we are breaking God’s spiritual law unless we know what the law is (James 1:23), we can’t know if we are breaking God’s physical laws unless we understand those physical laws. Nutrition is a major part of those physical laws.
4. For Healing
The conditions for healing are faith and obedience. If we are striving to obey—including eating God’s way—then if we do get sick, we can go to God more boldly when we ask for healing.
We might pray: I’ve been trying hard, Father. I know I’ve let down here or there (not getting enough sleep, or not exercising—it could be a number of things),but I have really been trying to eat healthy. It’s impossible to eat perfectly in this day and age, and I need you to make up the difference. But I’ve been really trying to do things right with what I have to work with. Please, have mercy on me, and please heal me! Surely, God is much more eager to heal when we have been doing our part.
5. To Obey
Physical laws are laws. We can think of them as suggestions, but the reality is that the way that we fuel our bodies really does demonstrate our obedience and submission to God.
We may have all kinds of reasons for trying to eat healthy—fit into those pants, get rid of acne. If that is your only motivation, then what happens if you don’t get the results you’re hoping for? For some people, it means giving up and allowing themselves to eat whatever they feel like eating.
Sometimes, our motivation to eat healthy must stem from the fact that we need to do it to obey.
6. As an Example
Our example can impact others. Note that example does not mean preaching or doling out snide remarks. Nothing will turn people off faster than people pointing their fingers at what someone is putting in their mouth and saying, You shouldn’t be eating that! If someone asks, you might help as best you can, exercising wisdom. But if they don’t, generally, just let your own example do the talking. Set a good example in humility.
These are marvelous spiritual benefits to studying and practicing good nutrition. In the next article, we will look at one additional consideration: the fact that practicing this correctly today prepares you to teach this knowledge in the World Tomorrow!