Did you know your body is a tool? God can use it to fulfill his purposes in the world. But you must cooperate first.
You see, for God to use you in 2007 like he wants to, youve got to take care of your body. Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NLT)
How do you honor God with your body? Its simple. You take care of it. This is a good time for a confession. In January 2005, I started asking God what he wanted to do with me for the next 25 years. I started thinking about the P.E.A.C.E. Plan and what God wanted to do through the global Church in the coming years. It didnt take long for me to realize I was going to need a lot more energy. I needed to get in shape. So I confessed to God that I hadnt been in the kind of shape he needed me to be in the past. Then I told him that I wanted to honor him with my body and consciously take better care of it from now on.
Psalm 119:73 (TLB) says, You made my body, Lord. Now give me the sense to heed your laws. God set up the principles of good health. He says theres a balance between sleeping, eating, and exercising. He says you need all three.
My guess is that everyone reading this article needs to work on at least one of these three issues. Some of you arent getting enough sleep. Youre tired all of the time. And often its because youre staying up and doing something that isnt all that important. By having just one extra hour of sleep on most nights, youd be surprised at how much more effective youd be in ministry. God cant use somebody whos tired all the time.
Psalms 127:2 (NLT) says, It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. For some of you the most spiritual thing you could do is go to bed. You need to get your rest.
Some of you need to control your eating. I dont know why God made food taste so good. He could have made it all taste like oatmeal, but he didnt. So we need to practice self-control. Just because it tastes good doesnt mean it does good things to our bodies. What you put in your stomach and what you dont matters.
And of course, you need exercise. We all do. Many of us will start a whole new exercise regiment this month hoping to start the new year off right. Stick to it. Put it on your schedule. Dont let it become just a whim that you forget about by February. This is the year to get this right.
You can have a wrong attitude or a right attitude toward your body. Whats the wrong attitude? You can neglect it just not pay attention to what you are doing to it. Reject it tell God you want someone elses body. And you can perfect it. Worshiping your body is just as wrong as worshiping anything else.
But the right attitude is to respect it and protect it. Thats what God wants you to do with your body. Why? Because God created it, Jesus paid for it, and the Holy Spirit lives in it.
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NLT) says, Athletes practice discipline and self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. We take care of our bodies because we want to please God. Well be rewarded for that in eternity.
So go get in shape and watch God use you in ministry more effectively in 2007!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.