As we imbibe chemicals by the packetful, and flick through tv channels from our sofas, it’s a good idea to reflect on what our particular lifestyles are doing to our bodies – and because we don’t live our lives in compartments – our souls and spirits?
who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
Therefore honour God with your bodies.
[1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
Perhaps we could start by replacing some of our diet with ‘real’ food – food that has no chemical additives or processes, food that is cooked from scratch. And perhaps as the year goes on, this proportion could be increased, little by little? We are blessed with such an amazing array of raw ingredients, and magazines, books and websites brimming with helpful advice; let’s take some time to celebrate and enjoy it all. Buying everything organic might be beyond our resources, but let’s do something. And let’s invest our eating and drinking with faith:
Biblical blessing is about empowerment to prosper – and that’s just what we need our food to do for us.
This is not just about developing healthy eating patterns, as important as they are; the Bible is a great proponent of feasting. ‘Real’ food can include a weekly feast as well as holidays and festivals; the heart of a true feast is worship; and as we celebrate, we can expect an encounter with the Provider of it all.
However, one of the problems many people encounter with feasting is the return to normal eating patterns afterwards. Often appetites enlarge, old addictions return and discouragement settles in. This is where a regular fast might be considered.
Fasting is an important tool in spiritual warfare, which is not the focus here; but it is also about recalibrating, cleansing and sharpening us up – mind, body and spirit. A fast helps to reposition us in terms of our eating habits, and cleanses the body, clearing out toxins. At the same time it improves our spiritual faculties & receptivity; it weakens addictions and strongholds, and enhances our ability to receive from the Lord the power we need for living.
There are different types and lengths of fast: some with water only, some with just fruit juice, others eating only vegetables; some fasts last days or even weeks, others for a single meal or food group. Some of these are described along with testimonies and faith-building encouragement in the very informative site: www.freedomyou.com. (Please note, I have not fasted for the long periods suggested in some sections of this site; and although I wouldn’t rule it out, I would want to do much more research before attempting.)
If you are new to fasting, and feel like you couldn’t possibly, perhaps you could start by fasting to lunch time one day a week. As you feel more comfortable this could be extended to 3pm, then to the evening meal or longer. Alternatively, you could have a day when you just consume fruit. Fruit has great cleansing properties; making a combination into a smoothie apparently helps the body digest the vitamin content more quickly, and is surprisingly satisfying.
EXERCISE & REST
In addition to streamlining our eating patterns, our bodies also need both exercise and rest.
If you don’t already take some form of exercise, consider starting some today; there is a possibility out there which is just right for you – even if you have physical limitations. The benefit to our bodies is enormous, releasing among other things, those feel-good hormones, and making us generally more alert and less fatigued. We are created as triune beings, body, soul & spirit – anything we do that enhances well-being in one part, has a knock on effect in the others. So want a healthy soul & spirit? Don’t neglect your body!
And then to balance things, we also need rest: If you have taken steps to declutter your diary, and your mind (see previous posts), then you can make time to refuel and refresh your physical body.
For fitness enthusiasts, the importance of rest days is frequently emphasised:
This post isn’t intended as a prescription. We all need to ask the Lord for a plan which works for us, for our situation, abilities and limitations. So be inspired, but let the Lord’s plan rise up from within – He knows what will work best for you!
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