Healthy Body

This is the rough draft of Pastor Steve’s message, '“Healthy Body” on January 20th, 2019. You can also watch the message here. We hope you find this helpful as you pursue your next steps in Christ.

“Someone at the gym recently asked me how old I was.  I said, “35!” Then I told the truth, “I’m 49”. We were having this conversation about our ages and somehow I said that even though I’m 49, there are parts of me that hurt regularly every day.  But when I turned 30, I was in worst shape. I think I said, “and I was much fatter.”

Lots of things happened that year.  Keisa and I became parents for the first time.  After years of waiting and praying, all of a sudden we were parents.  Big change. That year, we transitioned away from a church that we were at 10 years.   They were all we knew and were family but God had us step out of our comfort zone to move into a new position.  What I noticed when I hit 30 is that I was less active. I was eating worse. I was so busy being a new parent and working at this new position, that my health took a back seat.  

I put on a lot of pounds that year.  You can see it here in this picture. And for years to come, I have not eaten well and I know better.  I justified my weight gain with being busy. After all, I’m going things for others. For God. But in the process, I was ignoring, to a degree, my own health.  So, I went through ebbs and flows. Weight gains and loses. Even when I went on the missions trip in mid-2017. I still had a good amount of weight, which you can see, that slowed me down.  After years of being so active and so thin, I struggled over and over again.

Then in 2018, I took a risk.  I enrolled in a six-week challenge called, ‘The New You’ at Real Fitness Naples.  For six weeks Keisa and I got up at 5 am to work out. For six weeks, right through Hurricane Irma, we ate clean.  No sugar. No dairy. No bread. Only natural foods. Portioned meals 4 times a day. We were doing things I have never heard of before.  Burpees. Farmers carries. Power cleans. And when the six weeks was over, I lost like 19 pounds. I felt the strongest that I have felt since college.  Things had really changed in me. I was healthier at age 48 then I had been in a long, long time. And guess what, I’m still trying to get healthier.

Here is what I believe.  Too often in our culture, there is a fixation on our bodies.  We are obsessed with it. We are worried about the shape of our bodies, and the look of our bodies.  We are obsessed with our height, our weight and our body tone. We focus on the the wrinkles on our skin and the color of our skin.  We are obsessed with the style of our hair and whether we have hair or not. As a culture, we are obsessed with our bodies.

But often times within the Christian communities, we are the opposite.  Generally speaking, Christian leaders, are lazy in this area. I was. Too often as Christians, we don’t even talk about it.  In fact, I read an article about six months ago and it listed 6 ways we as Christians self medicate. Ways that we cope with the stress of life in unhealthy ways.   Things like gossip, overworking and even overeating. And the article even said that we almost see them as sins that we are ok with. My question is this. Isn’t there some happy medium between self-obsession and self-medication?   A balance between body focus and no focus on health at all.

“Most people still have no theology of health. While our culture is obsessed with physical beauty and sexy bodies, many believers ignore their bodies as if they don’t matter. But they do.”  Rick Warren

I agree.  And, I’ve hard to learn it the hard way in my own life.  So, what does it mean to be healthy? We’ve talked about having a healthy heart that is focused on God.  Your heart impacts everything. We’ve talked about healthy finances. Do we handle our finances in a way that honor God?  Today, I want us to look at what it means to be healthy in body? What does that mean? What does it mean to have a healthy body?  For some of us, number one, it means that I have to change the way I view my body.   I have to see my body as just as important as my soul.  I have to see it as something God has given me. That he created. That he has purpose for.   

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19

If you have made a decision to follow Christ, here is some good news.  God’s Holy Spirit lives in you. He is who guides you. Challenges you. Whispers to you in those moments of decision or temptation.  The Holy Spirit resides in you the moment you accept Christ. And guess what? That body of yours is a temple for the presence of God in your life.  Question. Have you ever seen your body as a temple of God? As a place that God takes up residence? As a place where he wants to live and move in and through your life.  Did you know that? See that?

You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

Those five words right there, they are full of meaning.  You are not your own. In other words, God created you. You belong to God.  You have a purpose and a plan for your life that God put you on this planet for.  Therefore, you are a steward or a manager, of your body. You're calling is to take care of it.  Six more words to look at. were bought at a price.  1 Corinthians 6:20

Everything you buy or own has a price tag attached to it.  A car; $15,900. A PlayStation 4; $300. A venti-sized, peppermint mocha; $5.25.  Your home; $274,900. It all costs. It all has to be bought. What Paul is saying here is not only did God create you, he paid the price for you.  What price? The price for your redemption. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, that was the price (the cost) to put you in right relationship with God.  An guess what? Jesus was willing to do that for you. With that said, let’s put the whole verse together.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We are called to honor God with our bodies.  We are called to use our bodies in such a way, where, whatever we do, it honors God.  It honors the sacrifice of Christ. It honors the cost of what he laid down to redeem us.  That means we also avoid, with our bodies, the things that dishonor that sacrifice. I believe honoring God with our bodies means living a healthy or healthier life.

Now, let me say this to be very clear.  You need to understand that no matter what your body looks like.  No matter how much hair you have. No matter your age or the wrinkles on your skin.  You need to know that God loves you no matter what. Getting ripped, it does not change his love for you.  Putting on extra baby weight, it doesn’t cause him to love you less. Regardless of what our bodies look like, God sees value in you.  He sees purpose in you. What we need to see is that both our souls and our bodies are how we can honor God.

“It’s God’s grace that motivates us to holiness.  It’s also his grace that motivates us to healthiness.”  Kevin Queen

love that.  It’s grace that moves us to take care of our souls.  It’s his grace that motivates us to take care of our bodies.  Let me give you an illustration that could provide a framework for discussion today, then we can move on to the application.  Take a look at this arch. This arch represents a healthy life. On the far left is the word sickness. The reality is that we all get sick and one day die.  It’s part of our lives. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that “on the outside, we are wasting away.” On the opposite side is what we would call “Fitness”. And let’s assume that word represents the Olympians.  The picture of great health, nutrition, and exercise.

In the middle, this is what we would call “Healthiness”.  The balance that we all want to find between breathing our last breath and getting ready for the Olympics in 2020.  Here are a couple of simple questions. On that continuum where are you right now? Second question, where do you want to be on that continuum?   The reality is that everyone wants to be on the right side. No one says, ‘yeah, my 2019 goal is to pack on 15 pounds on my gut. Everyone wants to move right.  Everyone wants to live that way.

So, here is my question.  How do we keep on the right of the scale?  How can we take steps? I want to give you 2-3 things that I’ve learned and I’m learning in my journey.  But as I share these things today, let me give you a couple of qualifiers. One, what I’m about to say is for the person sitting in your seat today.  In other words, this is not the time to nudge someone. It’s not the time to take notes and say, ‘the pastor said this today and I thought you needed this.’  Don’ do that! This is for the person sitting in your chair. Two, I’m still growing in this area of my life. I’m still figuring out how to have better health in my life.  Three, I’m not an expert. There are people in this church that have far more knowledge and experience in this than I do. And I’m willing to introduce you to them. I simply want to start the conversation and get us taking some steps to be healthy this year.  

How do I live healthily?  Two, I need to change the way I eat.  For me, the battle started with this;  cookies. I love cookies. I love chocolate chip cookies.  I love sugar cookies at Christmas. I could pound down a dozen cookies and a cup of coffee no problem.  That is how much I love them. That kind of eating lead to other things. Too much Coke; Coca-Cola that is.  Bags of chips. Pizza. There was a time where I could eat an entire pizza. I’m not joking. I’ve had to learn to eat better.  I’m still learning what to eat and not eat even as my body changes.

“Everything is permissible”-but not everything is beneficial.  “Everything is permissible”-but not everything is constructive.  1 Corinthians 10:23

What does that mean?  Can I eat this cookie?  Yes, it’s permissible to eat this cookie.  It’s not a sin to eat this cookie. Eating a cookie does not cause God to love me less.  It’s permissible, but is it beneficial? Not really! In other words, what you eat is not a moral issue.  Yes, you can eat that cheesecake or a pizza slice. It’s permissible. It’s OK, but it’s not beneficial. Are you with me?  What if we applied that rule of thumb to govern our eating.

Again, you might have a better way, I’m not an expert. But for me, it started by eating clean. By eating only natural foods.  I’ve heard it said this way, ‘eat what God has created more than anything else’. What I mean by that is lessen or eliminate that which is processed.  Then I thought this was a great bit of advice. You can eat this way if you stay typically on the outside of the aisles in a grocery store. Not always but typically. Why?  It’s on the perimeter of the store that you find whole grains, fruits, and veggies. There you will find eggs, dairy and good old meat for protein. The more you venture into the inside aisles, the more you venture into what is processed.  

That helped me.  Portion control was a big help.  How about portioning better? How about eating smaller portions but eating more through the day to speed up your metabolism?  Then when you portion, half of what is on your plate should be veggies. That was a big change and one I still wrestle with. The remaining half of your plate should be shared between protein (meats) and your carbs (certain kinds of grains, rice, and fruit).   

How about stop eating when we feel full?  That requires some practice and some thought but it could be a game changer.  How about eating breakfast? Do we realize how key that is? The science behind eating breakfast is that both your body and your brain need you to eat.  Yes, your brain needs it. Maybe that explains some of our issues? Here is what is interesting though. Check out these stats. 31 million people skip breakfast in America every day.  Your mama always told you not to skip it. But we skip it and it impacts the rest of the day. If you are not going to do it for yourself or your brain, do it for your mama. But listen to this contrast.  84 million eat fast food of some kind on any given day.

All I’m saying, is you have to find a plan that works for you.  A better way to eat. A way to balance what is permissible like chocolate chips cookies, but what is also beneficial.  Are you with me?

How do I have a healthy body?  Three, I have to change the way I exercise.  I would say for me, this is what has been key. Because even when I don’t eat as well as I should, I’m moving.  I’m pushing myself. It gives me some freedom to eat things that are permissible because I’m exercising. Again, let’s look at scripture.  

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  1 Timothy 4:8

Now, clearly, we see that the greatest thing that you and I can work on is our character.  Our heart and soul. That workout, it impacts everything here in this life and into eternity. But again in scripture, we see the value of taking care of our bodies.  Working out is good. Training is good. Exercise is good. Paul says this repeatedly in the NT.

Do you even know that nutrition experts validate what scripture says here?  Exercise is beneficial. Check out this list of the benefits of exercise: Increased energy levels. Elevated metabolism. Improves circulation. Strengthens muscles.  Strengthens bones. Decreased blood pressure. Reduces stress. Improved digestive system. Improves sleep patterns.  How amazing is that? But I left one off because I didn’t want your mind to wander. Exercise heightens sexual intimacy.   Come on, that alone is worth exercise, right? Right guys? Yes!

Back to health.  One of the best things we can do, no matter our age or experience, is to exercise our body.  So, here are some recommendations. One, Find a friend.  We teach this all the time here at Turning Point.  

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another..  Proverbs 27:17

It’s so much easier to work out when someone is with you.  It’s so much easier to give up when it’s all on you. We are wired for community.  We do our best in life when someone is walking with us. When Keisa and I started this change in our lives last year, we did it together.  We started on the new you together. We went to the first cross fit class together. We pretty much still do it almost always together.

You have to find someone that will get you up out of bed.  Someone that will call you if you are late. Someone who will work with you, and stand beside you to challenge you.  I was talking to one of our TPC people the other day that also works out at Real Fitness. They were finishing the class and I came in for the lunch hour.  The lunch hour is open for you to workout by yourself. Well, I watched the class do the movements to make sure I had it right and then when they left, I went through my thing.  By myself. This person comes up later and asks me in the week, ‘how was your workout?’ I said, “it was great, but it’s just not the same when you do it by yourself.” More sustained transformation happens when we have someone workout with us.  

Two, find a time.  Let’s all come clean.  We find the time for things that we value.  That we prioritize. If we want some transformation physically this year, then our calendars need to line up with that.  When? That is your decision. If you are a morning person, go for it in the morning. If you are more alive later in the day, hit the workout in the pm hours.  For us, it started with a year at 5 am. Did I say I hate mornings? Hate them. But as our kid's schedule changed, we didn’t want to give up that workout. So, we’ve shifted more normally to an early lunch work out.  We get up early to work several hours then hit the gym in the middle of the day. Then back to everyday life. The key is consistency. Being faithful. Going regularly.

Lastly, Challenge yourself.  Do you know why I say that?  It’s because we all have one of these in our lives.  Take a look at this picture. This circle is our comfort zone.  It’s where we like to hang out in life. In what comes easy. What we are used to.  By nature, when we get into a comfortable groove in life, we stay inside our circle.  But where does real growth happen? Out here. Outside of the circle. We are called to be people who live outside the comfort zone. People of faith.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned is I have to do this physically too.

I want you to know this is possible.  I’ve been doing this cross fit journey for a year now, but before this, I had all kinds of excuses.  I hadn’t been really active or challenge in exercise for years. I remember walking out onto the gym floor after we finished our six-week challenge.  I was uncomfortable. Here are all of these people, which in my mind were perfect….they are not. And they are cranking through these exercises. I was so intimidated and so uncomfortable.  But we embraced the discomfort of learning something new. We embraced the discomfort of doing a burpee or a back squat. But because we pushed through that comfort zone, we began to experience some real change.  We were able to do some exercises we had never done before.

I believe that no matter your age.  No matter your time. You can challenge yourself and honor God with your body in 2019.  How? For you, it might mean getting prepped to run for a 5k or a half marathon. Maybe it means for you to start walking 2-3 miles a day or challenge yourself to 4-5 miles a day? Challenge yourself.  Your challenge might be to get back out on the bike. Push your mileage on your bike from 7 miles to 10. Challenge yourself. Get into a basketball league. Join a yoga class. Set some goals to do burpees.  A new goal for your dead lift or your front squat. A goal to hire a personal trainer that will push you to achieve those goals.

“Something is better than nothing”.  

That means we can all do something.  We can all start somewhere. Let me share one more story with you.  I walked into the gym and I noticed the people that were cranking out pull-ups.  Some of those pull-ups looked like the butterfly pull up. Others were doing kips.  Other people could just pull them up, piece of cake. Then there were, but I didn’t notice them as much, there were lots of people like me.  They couldn’t do one. I couldn’t. So, you know how I started? I did something because something is better than nothing. I stood on a box and jumped and pulled my self up over the bar.  It’s a jumping pull up. Do you know how hard that was? Physically and even emotionally. I can’t do pull up so I have to start with a box?

Then when I got the hang of that, then I used one of these bands.  It’s like a big rubber band. You hook your foot in it and you jump up.  It gives you some spring. It mimics what your body is supposed to do with a real pull up.  A big rubber band, yup, did that. You have to start somewhere. Something is better than nothing.  Again, I still struggle every time I do this. But now, I can KIP pull up. I did a routine that was filled with them last week.  It hurts. I have to break them up. It wears me down but i feel so good afterward. I feel good physically and emotionally. I hate to do it, but I love what it's doing in my life.    In this environment, I’m constantly challenged to get out of my comfort zone. I believe all of us need this. I believe all of us can do this.

So, what will you do this month?  This week? To not only honor God with your heart, but to honor him with your body.  The body he created. The body to which his Spirit lives in right. The body to which he challenges all of us to take care of.  Do you need to change the way you see your body and the value of it? Do you need to make some changes in your eating? How about some changes in the area of exercise?  What will you do to walk outside of your comfort zone?

“One’s physical well being is part of one’s spiritual stewardship.”  Erwin McManus

I really believe that.  It’s Biblical. It’s something I’m experiencing.  It’s something I want you to experience too.

Before you leave today.  Two things, make sure you look in the notes today in the app and online.  There are a few questions that will continue this conversation and challenge you.  Two, before you leave, you can stop back at the Real Fitness table. If you want to take the next step.  If you want more information. Just stop by and ask. Alex and Ann are the owners of Real Fitness and a part of TPC.  They are great people and have helped us and many of you take a step towards better health. Just stop and have a convo, tt could be your next step.   

Le’ts pray. Dear Lord, help us take the step to honor you with all of our lives today. That means our bodies too. God, will you help us? Will you give us the courage to put action behind our goals. Behind our New Year’s Resolutions? For some of us that means today that we have to see our body as yours. You created it You own it. You simply call us to steward it. Manage it. Help us see that today.

For some of us, the changes that needs to take place is in our eating. We can honor you in our bodies better if we simply think though if this is permissible or beneficial. For some of us, it means being active. Maybe even being active again. Regardless Father, my prayer is that we take today’s words and move outside of our comfort zone. As we often pray Lord. Give us the wisdom to see what to do and the courage to actually do it. We pray this in your name Jesus. Amen.

Before you leave today.  Let me read this verse over you as a blessing today.  

I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.  3 John 1:2

Have a great day Turning Point Church!

Steve GillComment