Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 2/2/18
All Christians are aware of the importance of the soul above all else, with 82% of believers in heaven understanding that humans exist there only spiritually and not physically. However, this can be dangerous and lead to the neglect of the body. Physical health can show your commitment to God’s creation and help you to form a deeper spiritual connection. A Christian values life and opposes murder. This should extend to valuing your own life by aiming to live as long as possible on Earth through a healthy lifestyle.
Your Body is a Gift from God
Despite the fact that the human body has changed over the years, all people are made in God’s image. This includes both men and women. God even chose to live on Earth as a human being through his Son, Jesus Christ, showing the intimate link between humanity and God. Yes, your body is flawed, just as all humans are born in sin, but it is a hugely valuable gift from God and should be respected as such.
As Corinthians 6:19-20 states, “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God”. When you neglect your health through heavy drinking or the sin of Sloth, you are disrespecting the Lord. He lives within your body and an important part of worship is being thankful that He is there.
Staying Fit Can Improve Spiritual Worship
Being fully engaged in the worship of God can be physically demanding. This is why Jesus sought to feed the poor and cure the sick, for if they are too weak to look after themselves, they will be too weak to fully worship the Lord. Many Christians choose to express love and gratitude to their savior through pilgrimage. This is only possible if you are physically fit enough to make the journey.
It is also true that spiritual connection requires a healthy body. When you pray, you are engaged in meditation in order to access something transcendent. This can be hard if your mind is clouded by toxic substances. Through a healthy diet of whole foods, fish and vegetables, you will gain the mental clarity that helps you connect more deeply with God.
It Sets a Good Standard for Others
As a Christian, you are a representative of Christ and responsible for guiding others towards Truth and Light. Attendees of Church are role models for the rest of society and tend to commit less crime as well as being more charitable. They should set a similar standard for physical health. Ill health is a consequence of excess and disrespect for human life, so view your body as a temple of God to help show others that their lives can be improved by accepting Christ.
Spiritual health is an incredibly important aspect of being an Orthodox Christian. However, this should not come at the expense of physical wellbeing. On the contrary, maintaining physical health shows an appreciation of God’s creation, helps you to move closer to Him and acts as a good standard for those around you.
Cassie Steele-OCP News Service