With the onset of some pretty serious Canadian weather (bring on the snowstorms), now seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about something many of us face during this season: the winter blues. Think about it. You want to go outside and build a snowman or ride your bikes across the hall, but it’s minus 40 and no one in their right mind would even think about doing that. How do we motivate ourselves to get out, not just to shovel snow, but to actually have a really good time?
Winter is not the only time we make excuses to live a sedentary life or to pack on more pounds in hopes of being more comfortable while hibernating like a polar bear. The truth is that many of us constantly come up with reasons why we aren’t move active, eating healthier, or living a more health conscious life-style.
A few months ago I was sitting at a table with some members of my International Fellowship Group in Edinburgh when all of a sudden our topic turned to healthy living. Being in Scotland means that virtually everyone I have met has a sweet tooth. There are a few internationals who don’t crave confectionaries, but like I always say to Canadians “being in Scotland ruined me.” Previously I could go to a café and just order a tea. Now when I go I always want a hot chocolate AND a biscuit or cake to go with it. It’s just what’s expected of you in British culture. Good thing dentists over there are much cheaper than on this side of the pond!
Anyways, the truth is that God created our bodies to glorify Him. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 we read “don’t you 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. You were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God with your bodies.” (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+6%3A19-20&version=NIV)
Of course, a lot of this refers to our spiritual state. To the fact that we should live Godly lives, not shoot ourselves up with needless drugs, abuse our livers with alcohol, or put ourselves at risk of STDs. However, it also refers to the day to day operations of God’s house. When we become Christians, each one of us becomes a mini-temple. Church doesn’t just mean that old building down the road with a cross on it, God takes up residence inside each one of us. We all act as His personal mini-church.
Think about the last time you had a friend over. Most of us hate for other people to see our mess. So when an important guest is coming, we clean our house from top to bottom. We dust those places we’ve avoided for weeks. We clean and put away all the dishes. We vacuum the floor. We might even shampoo the carpet. We do this so that visitor will feel welcomed. They might only be staying for a few hours, but we want them to feel like royalty during that time. We offer them a glass of water and a handful of biscuits. We make sure the house is at a nice temperature, and we don’t hurry them off.
Now think about God who isn’t just visiting your body, but who has taken up permanent residence there. This is where God lives – this is His address, this is where His mail gets delivered. Do you want the postman to see a broken down letter box and a boarded up shed, or do you want him to see a freshly painted door with the sun gleaming off the recently washed windows?
It can be difficult to eat healthy in our world, but it doesn’t have to be. I get it. I’ve done it all myself. I’ve skipped breakfast when I’ve woken up late and had to rush to a meeting. I’ve forgotten to pack a lunch and ended up in the middle of downtown Edinburgh and thought to myself “I’ll just grab a Big Mac at McDonald’s.” I’ve pumped my body full of toxins just to satisfy a sugar craving. I’ve asked for seconds or even thirds even though I was already full because I liked the way something tasted. I can speak from experience, I am no great example of healthy eating. I’m probably the furthest thing from that.
But this week, I’d like to challenge you to think of one way in which you can glorify God’s temple through your personal lifestyle choices. This will likely take some discipline on your part. You might have to say no to that craving for a KitKat you’ve had all morning. You might have to limit yourself to one drink instead of two. You might need to ditch the car and walk to work. But if you can think of one sacrifice that is going to benefit you for the long run, I recommend doing it. Our spiritual life is about so much more than how much we read the Bible or pray, it encompasses our entire being including our physical state. Ditch that bag of chips for an apple this week, then think about how much of an investment you are making not just to keep God’s Temple Holy, but also to give yourself a better quality of life in the long run.