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What if all Christians embraced healthy living as ministry?

salad, vegetables
Unsplash/Anna Pelzer

Consider this.  What if every follower of Christ were to embrace healthy living as ministry?

Now, I started off being rhetorical, but I want you to understand this.  We should indeed embrace healthy living as ministry to God and to others.  Let me explain.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not suggesting that all Christians should all become personal trainers and dieticians and other health/fitness related occupations.  Such jobs clearly aren’t for everyone.  However, the Bible is very clear that taking care of our bodies is very important to God.

For example, we’re already very familiar with 2 Timothy 1:7, which says “for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  While this is not overtly discussing healthy living, let’s consider this discipline that God endows us with.

Discipline is the ability to follow a certain pattern of behavior that involves avoiding certain activities – usually harmful or less expedient ones – in favor of embracing activities at are usually beneficial, productive, and that help you reach a certain outcome.  Discipline for us as believers helps us to walk in obedience to Christ while helping us to avoid the many distractions and temptations that keep us from working effectively in the Kingdom.  Undoubtedly among those distractions and temptations are foods and other substances that are harmful to our bodies and that impair our ability to serve God.

Consider this as well.  Our very bodies are referred to as temples of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, we are encouraged in 1 Corinthians 6:20 to glorify God with our bodies.  It is common for us to assume that glorifying God with our bodies means we avoid the more obvious infractions such as smoking and drinking, but are we truly glorifying God with our bodies when we habitually consume excessive sweets and processed foods and engage in other harmful self-indulgences?

To make it even more practical, let’s be honest.  How much are we going to feel like praying, witnessing and giving when our bodies are sick from diseases caused by unhealthy living?

If we embrace healthy living as Christians, we more effectively live the disciplined lives that God intended, we walk in direct obedience to God by glorifying Him with our bodies, and we directly increase our effectiveness in other Kingdom building work, since bodies that feel better, do better.  Think with me for a moment about how a Church that embraces healthy living can impact the community.  At some point, I believe the world will notice, and the best part about it is that God will get the glory.

“Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Shawn McClendon is a fitness entrepreneur and owner of Back to Basics Health and Wholeness LLC, an organization dedicated to empowering people to take responsibility for their own health.  He is the author of five health/fitness books, and he hosts the Your Health At The Crossroads Podcast, on which he interviews people who have overcome significant health challenges for the purpose of motivating listeners to make healthy decisions for themselves.  Follow @ShawnB2B on Facebook and @ShawnB2BFitness on Instagram and visit

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