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The New You: A Guide to Better Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness
by Henson Jennifer
Learn More | Meet Henson Jennifer | Meet Searcy Nelson
Whose You Are
Opening Up with God about Your Health
- The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.
- A. W. Tozer
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
As a teenager, I (Nelson) spent some time speaking at young entrepreneur conferences around the country. Thanks to that circuit, I had the privilege of working alongside the late Zig Ziglar. A great Christian businessman and leader, Zig spoke eloquently about matters of vision, change, work, and commitment. One thing Zig used to often say has stuck with me through the years. “Character gets you out of bed; commitment moves you to action . . . and discipline [enables] you to follow through.”
Character, commitment, and discipline—the ability to move from where you are in life to where you want to be will flow from these three things. All intentional change is born out of character, anchored in the commitments you make, and achieved through discipline.
Your character drove you to pick up this book. Something inside you is longing to live life at a higher level. Maybe you can feel stress, sickness, or anxiety tugging at your shirtsleeve, and you know it is leading you down a path that should be avoided at all costs.
Discipline will determine how well you follow through with the small steps we suggest—the steps that will help you realign your overall health and wellness with God’s best plan for you. You will learn a great deal in the pages ahead about living to your full health potential, but how well you apply what you learn is completely up to you. No one else can change your life for you.
That leaves commitment. The commitments you choose to make in your life shape your path through this world. If you look back over the years, you can probably recognize a handful of commitments that have determined where you are today. Maybe you made a commitment to go to one school over another, and that decision led you to your current life situation. Perhaps you made a commitment to marriage, or you may still be hoping to make that commitment one day. If you have children, you made a commitment to love and raise them well. Each one of these is a life-changing commitment. Stepping out of the status quo and deciding to reclaim your health and vitality is also a life-changing commitment, one we hope you will make.
Three Key Commitments
When you have all areas of your health under control, you are free to live life to the fullest. To get started, choose to embrace the following key commitments that are foundational to becoming the new you:
- surrender your health to God
- stop making excuses
- start taking small steps toward change
These commitments form the basis of your ability to build a life marked by complete health and wholeness. We will look at the first commitment here and the other two in the chapters to follow.
Surrender Your Health to God
Here is a game-changing truth for you to consider: your body wasn’t created for your own gratification; it was created for God’s glory. But if you are like most people, you treat your body as if it is yours to do with as you please. You are quick to gratify your own tastes, preferences, and whims. But the reality is that your body was made both by God and for God.
First Corinthians 6:13 says, “[Our bodies] were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.” You probably intuitively understand that God made your body, but maybe you have never thought of it as being made for him. If your body was made for the Lord, and he cares about your body, doesn’t that mean you should care about your body too?
This is an area where most people—Christians in particular—need to flip the lens. Too often, we use God as the ultimate excuse for letting our health slide. We run our bodies down, fill them with disease-causing foods, let them atrophy from lack of movement, and then call it God’s will when we get sick. We fill our minds with toxic thoughts, neglect healthy relationships with other people, fail to engage with God regularly, and then blame him when we wind up lonely and anxious.
The truth is that pursuing excellence in every area of our health is a way to honor God. His sovereignty is not an excuse to live any old way we want to live because he is going to work it out in the end; instead, he is the beacon calling us to live in a way that shines his brilliance to others. Keeping ourselves in good health is really an act of stewardship.
Good Health = Good Stewardship
Again, your body is not your own. It has simply been entrusted to you for a period of time. You are called to steward your health in the same way you steward your money, your time, and your relationships. As Rick Warren wrote in The Daniel Plan:
- This life is preparation for our next life, which will last forever in eternity. God is testing you on earth to see what he can trust you with in eternity. He is watching how you use your time, your money, your talents, your opportunities, your mind, and yes, even your body. Are you making the most of what you’ve been given? God isn’t going to evaluate you on the basis of the bodies he gave to other people, but he will judge what you did with what you have been given.
Have you ever thought about having to stand before God and give an account for how you cared for yourself—for how well you ate, how active you were in an effort to stay healthy, how intentional you were about managing your stress and your emotions to avoid negative health consequences? That is a scary notion, isn’t it?
Most of us have never thought that deeply about our physical stewardship responsibility. But it is not too late to start. No matter what kind of health you are in this very minute, it is not too late to surrender your body—to surrender every aspect of your physical health and well-being—to God.
- Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:19–20)
Start by having a conversation with him. Talk to God about your current health. If you haven’t been taking care of yourself, repent of that. Ask God to help you be a good steward of the body he has entrusted to you. Only then, working from the foundational understanding that your body is not your own but his, can you forge ahead into the complete health he wants you to have. (For more on talking with God through prayer, flip to chapter 19.)
We will take a look at the second commitment—stop making excuses—in the next chapter.
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