By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory: 9 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal, 2022
Many believe that the way they treat their bodies has no bearing on their walk with God. They do not exercise regularly or eat healthy food. Nor is it a priority. Spirituality, yes; physical health, no. They subtly have placed a wall between the two.
They are offended when pastors and leaders bring up healthy living. After all, isn’t this a private matter? Why waste time talking about physical health? “After all, the body will soon perish and our spirits will remain forever,” they say. People are open to hearing about spiritual and eternal principles but not about the proper care of their bodies.
I have a close friend who is the head nurse in an urgent care facility in Washington. He sees patients all the time who check into urgent care due to excess eating, drinking, unhealthy eating, and so forth. He told me that people often think that their bodies are their own and that they can do anything they want with them. But he has seen firsthand how selfish this is. Why? Because a person’s health immediately affects those closest to them. The husbands, wives, children, family members, and friends are the ones who nurse the patient back to health, visit them in the hospital, and generally sacrifice because of the poor choices their loved ones have made.
When I’m coaching pastors, I often ask them about exercise, sleep, and food intake. After all, discipleship extends to the whole person, not just the spiritual.
A while back I was doing a seminar in New York, and I noticed the pastor was “snacking” incessantly (lots of donuts). I know this pastor very well and he has often confessed to me that he wanted to lose weight. As we spent time together and I observed his habits, I challenged him about healthy eating. God stirred him to change during the following weeks and lately, he feels new energy and vitality. Yes, this is part of the discipleship process!