It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
I’m thankful for the strength and ability God has given me and pray that I would learn to honor and sharpen these gifts.
You don’t hear many sermons on physical health today yet obesity and chronic illnesses caused or exacerbated by poor physical health are some of the most pressing problems the church (and America) faces in the 21st century.
We rightly focus on the heart and soul, but we tend to forget that God gave us a body, too.
It’s not just the multitude of health problems we bring upon ourselves when we don’t take care of our bodies. The neglect can creep into our relationship with God and leave an open door for the enemy.
Just like money, food can become an idol. It’s easy to fall into the trap of going to food for comfort (yep, I am definitely guilty of that) or to numb whatever emotion we don’t want to face with our favorite snacks (cupcakes and wine, anyone?).
We can also worship the ability to control our bodies, whether it’s through obsessive restriction, excessive exercise, binging, or some combination of the three. I’ve definitely crossed into these areas over the years and when I think back on those times, there was always something bigger going on that I couldn’t handle on my own.
God offers us all the comfort, problem solving, and security that we could ever need yet we are so quick to turn to something else to fill the holes in our hearts.
I’m not advocating that we only eat the food absolutely necessary for nutrition. I’m a big fan of moderation because I think it helps keep our intentions in check. We can enjoy our cupcakes and wine as long as they don’t become our heart therapy. Same goes for cross fit, running and the elliptical – great for clearing your mind and I’ve even known people who worship God while they run. Let’s just not make it our idol.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how the enemy uses things like obesity and other chronic illnesses to distract us and weaken our resolve to fight off his temptations. For several years, I have struggled with chronic pain and can see how it’s limited my abilities. I know there are things that will make it better but it’s exhausting to think about fitting those exercises and therapies into my budget and my schedule.
God wants us to be strong and healthy. He created our bodies as temples and I hate to think how I’ve abused mine over the years and the way I limit it’s potential today. The enemy loves to sneak in and steal our energy so that we ignore the joyful and essential work God has put before us.
I don’t want to make it easy for him to steal my strength.
Father God, thank You for the body you have given me. It is human and mortal but You created it to be perfect for the work You’ve set out for me to do here on Earth. I ask forgiveness for the way I’ve neglected it or hurt it with behaviors that don’t reflect Your heart. I pray for the resolve to honor it with wholesome and balanced eating habits and regular exercise so I will be ready for whatever you set before me.
I also thank You Father for the way You created us all to be different with diverse strengths and abilities. I praise You for all the beautiful shapes and sizes we are and pray that all would find comfort and security in Your image, not the images of the world.