Engage the Bible in a Way that Promotes Healthier Living
Lead others into greater well-being
I never realized how much my health impacted my work, relationships, and overall life, until I was chronically sick. At 26 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma, desmoid tumor in my abdominal wall. I was a healthy young woman who was energetic, ate well, and worked out several times a week. The surgery to remove the tumor from my stomach left me with significant pain that remained constant well after the doctors said I would be better. During this stage of my life I realized that anyone can experience health challenges, disease, and chronic illness, no matter how hard they try to be healthy.
For years I lived not only in pain, but also with exhaustion and discouragement. I couldn’t find a doctor to help with my ongoing chronic pain, and I spiraled into depression. Finally, after five years, my sister took me to church for the first time. I was not miraculously cured that day, but over the following weeks and months I began to learn about how Jesus heals.
During that time, I was connected to a surgeon who removed mesh from my belly and fixed a hernia in my abdomen. Over the next months and years, I experienced deep emotional and spiritual healing through leaders and mentors in my church. While my stomach was reconstructed, so was my spirit.
Being free of the emotional and spiritual burdens that I was carrying freed me to confidently carry out my calling in God’s kingdom. This involved changing my career and taking even better care of my inner and outer self.
After being physically, emotionally, and spiritually strengthened, I decided to start my own business leading other women through the same lessons I learned on my healing journey. I attribute my healing to Jesus’s intervention in my life, and I believe he wants to restore everyone to full health. It might not look as dramatic as my experience, but we can each make small changes to feel drastically better.
Helping Others Live in Full Health
So many people today are living fatigued, in pain, and discouraged, like I was, because they are not living in full health. In our position as leaders, we have a unique opportunity to help others live healthier lives through teaching them about Jesus and guiding them in engaging with Scripture. God’s Word can change the way we care for our bodies and thrive in our purpose for the kingdom. As leaders, we can encourage others to know that Jesus cares not only about our spiritual and emotional health, but also about our physical health.
Here are a few simple questions I have found helpful in equipping others to make biblically based choices that promote health and wellbeing. Try using them with those you lead, for a deeper engagement with Scripture.
What does the Bible tell us about the physical body?
Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Spirit offers us wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, and knowledge (Isaiah 11:2). What a profound gift, one that we could never match or surpass. Scripture asks us to honor this gift by honoring our bodies as the flesh we are given to house the Spirit. We don’t need to be body builders or on a perfect diet, but we do have to take care of our bodies. As 1 Corinthians 6:12 states, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial.”
Encourage those you are leading to read 1 Corinthians 6 and then pray about ways they can be more intentional about caring for their bodies. For one person it might be eating a cleaner diet, another getting more exercise, another it might be getting more sleep or even removing themselves from an unhealthy relationship. Allow the Holy Spirit, our guaranteed Helper, to reveal how to take better care of the temple they have been given.
What does our faith have to do with our health?
As we read the Gospels, we notice that Jesus often meets a physical healing need, which increases belief in the one he healed and in those around them. Often, the men and women Jesus heals become the greatest testifiers of their faith.
In Matthew 20:32, Jesus asks the blind men, “What do you want me to do for you?” The men are blind; their healing need seems obvious, but Jesus wants them to ask directly. Jesus cares about our health and can heal us, but sometimes we need to ask.
Encourage those you are leading to read about healing and health in Matthew 8:14-16, 12:9-15, 14:14 and 20:32-34. Provide them with these questions for reflection: What did Jesus do for those that were not in full health? What action did he take or what did he say during the healing encounters? Consider what physical health needs you currently have. Have you talked to God about them in prayer individually or with others?
What does rest have to do with our health?
Rest, both spiritually and physically, is essential to full health and well-being. Stress is often accepted and ignored and can wreak havoc on our health. In contrast, Scripture teaches us about rest from the very first book of the Bible (Genesis 2:2). It gives us images of being still, lying down, and waiting. It is my experience that I cannot find spiritual rest while hustling through life trying to achieve everything in my path.
When we find ourselves in a season with a to-do list longer than the hours we have, we must turn to Scripture and reflect on whether the busyness is our own “anxious toil” or the path the Lord has for us. Rest may look different at different times in our lives, but it always comes back to trusting in the Lord. Jesus promises to give us rest and teaches us to trust in him for all things.
Encourage those you are leading to read Psalm 37:7, 23, 127:2, and Hebrews 4. Provide them with these questions for reflection: How did the Israelites view rest? What was the outcome for those that did not rest? What are we promised if we rest? What does rest mean to you? What do you believe is the difference between physical and spiritual rest? What are some ways you can rest, both physically and spiritually, in your life now?
Creating a healthier plan.
It takes learning and moving into action to improve our health. Hopefully, after leading others through reflecting biblically on their health they will be inspired to move into action.
You might encourage them to set a goal and then check in with each other weekly. For example, a physical health goal may be: eating vegetables 4 times a day, drinking 64 ounces of water a day, or working out 3 times per week with 30 minutes of cardio. An emotional goal might be to commit to journaling for 10 minutes each morning. A spiritual goal might be to pray and meditate on Scripture for 10 minutes every day before starting work.
Even after my most intense periods of illness, I continue to write goals regularly. I have friends and mentors that keep me accountable to my goals and I still praise God regularly for my well-being. I am still being healed and matured in areas of my health. I am so grateful that God cares about this area of my life and helps me to stay committed. I know God can do the same for you and those you lead because when we walk in full health, we are more productive, focused, and committed to fulfilling the assignments God set out for our lives.
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