Get a Grip on Your Body

  • there's a sign on a department store's dressing room mirror: "Objects in mirror may appear bigger than they actually are"
  • I kind of like that store
  • some department stores have actually taken to mounting concave mirrors that make people look skinnier than they really are
  • "Boy, that outfit makes me look skinny"
  • instead of buying the outfit, they should be buying the mirror

  • Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Glenn Parker speculated as to why NFL linemen are generally cheerful
  • "There are not a lot of well-paying jobs for 300-pounders. We found one, and we're happy about it"

  • this morning we'll be looking at one of the glaring weaknesses in modern Christianity, and that's our treatment of our bodies
  • according to studies, 26% of men and 22% of women are clinically obese, or 20% above their ideal body weight
  • on top of that number, millions are not obese but simply overweight
  • amazingly, the more a man earns and the more education a man has, the more likely he is to be obese
  • obesity is linked to the development of hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, skeletal problems, and certain forms of cancer
  • in fact, the top five killers are all nutrition related

  • to be fair, most overweight and unfit people are not happy with their condition
  • most of us struggle with our fitness, and not all of us are winners
  • many of us men would love to fit into our size 32 or 34 pants again
  • and many women have petite size dresses hanging in their closet
  • losing weight is a multi-billion dollar industry
  • and yet many people who begin on a nutrition and fitness program drop out and find themselves gaining more weight than they originally had

  • now, if caring for our bodies were nothing more than an act of vanity, I wouldn't waste our time this morning talking about it
  • if I were convinced that God is concerned only with our souls, I would join the majority of Christians who neglect this subject
  • but the Scriptures clearly reveal God's concern for our physical well-being

  • listen to this:
    • If God does not enter your kitchen, there is something wrong with your kitchen. If you can't take God into your recreation, there is something wrong with your play. We all believe in the God of the heroic. What we need most these days is the God of the humdrum, the commonplace, the everyday (Peter Marshall Sr.)
  • did you hear that?
  • if God does not enter your kitchen, there is something wrong with your kitchen
  • if God does not enter your exercise routines, there is something wrong with your exercise routines
  • let me give you a few reasons why the human body is so important to God

  • [The body is God's handiwork]
  • Genesis 2:7 describes that moment when the transcendent God gathered a bit of dust and miraculously and lovingly fashioned man
  • 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
  • after God created man, he smoothed off the rough edges and created woman
  • and God said, "It is good"

  • you see, the human body is no fluke of the evolutionary process
  • it is God's design and handiwork
  • it is His masterpiece
  • it is the ultimate synthesis between function and beauty
  • our most advanced technology pales in comparison to the capabilities of the human body

  • let me give you a couple of examples
  • the human heart beats over 100,000 times a day
  • by the time you reach 70 years of age your heart has pumped blood through your body 3 billion times
  • if you reach the age of 70, as many do, your heart will have worked continuously without a break for that entire time
  • incredible!

  • a few years ago, scientists tried to improve upon the body
  • to use one example, they came up with infant formula that was supposed to excel the nutritional quality of breast-milk for babies
  • now any doctor will tell you that the best that science has to offer cannot compare with the quality of milk manufactured by the human body

  • you sometimes hear a person say of Cindy Crawford, "She has an incredible body"
  • or a woman say about Mel Gibson, "What a body!"
  • the truth of the matter this morning is that you have an incredible body
  • it is God's handiwork
  • you have an incredible body
  • (Psalms 139:14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
  • in fact, Paul Brand and Philip Yancey have written a book about how intricacies of the human body reveal God's handiwork
  • but that's the first reason why the care of our bodies is so important
  • because our bodies are God's handiwork

  • [The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit]
  • but the second reason is found in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
  • 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

  • this is an incredible truth
  • we don't own our bodies
  • if we're Christians, our bodies have been bought with a price
  • for what purpose? To house the Holy Spirit
  • your body is the temple, the residence of the Holy Spirit
  • now are you housing the Holy Spirit in a shack or a mansion?

  • and how are we supposed to use our bodies?
  • to be a channel through which He can work
  • (Romans 12:1) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
  • our bodies are to be living sacrifices to God

  • in the Old Testament, when they offered sacrifices, they were only to offer perfect, unblemished sacrifices
  • if we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, shouldn't we offer them in the purest condition possible?
  • shouldn't we aim to offer unblemished lambs?
  • of course that means we should avoid immoral use of our bodies
  • but it also means we should do all we can to keep them healthy and useful for as long as possible

  • Spurgeon said:

Every workman knows the necessity of keeping his tools in a good repair....We shall be likely to accomplish most when we are in the best spiritual condition; or in other words, we shall usually do our Lord's best work when our gifts and graces are in good order, and we shall do worst when they are most out of trim...We are, in a certain sense, our own tools, and therefore must keep ourselves in order.

  • let me reiterate: caring for our bodies is a responsibility we owe to God
  • if anyone thinks that this is not a spiritual or religious topic, they are wrong

  • I'm speaking this morning as one who has a long way to go in this area
  • you know the one silly thing?
  • is there anyone here who doesn't know how to have a fit body?
  • no, we all know what to do to attain fitness
  • it's not an issue of knowledge, it's an issue of obedience
  • let me talk about two areas of spiritual service in which we can care for our bodies
  • and comparing the body to a car, these two areas are fuel and maintenance

  • [FUEL]
  • imagine that someone walked into your office, handed you the keys to a fifty thousand dollar European car, and said, "It's a present! This car is yours. Enjoy. One thing, though. It's an engineering marvel with a very sophisticated engine. It won't run on regular unleaded fuel. If you don't fill it with super unleaded, you'll eventually ruin the motor. So will you agree to use only the best fuel?"
  • I know what I would say
  • "This is the best gift I've ever received. Of course I'll use only super unleaded!"

  • but many of us have done the unthinkable to God's engineering marvel
  • we've filled the incredible bodies He created, bought, and dwells in with inferior fuel - junk foods
  • and we've slowly ruined them inside
  • a recent study shows that only one in four people can be considered normal in regard to weight

  • so let's think about the fuel we put into our bodies
  • are you hungry?
  • how do you feel about a three-egg, ham and cheese omelet? (7 teaspoons of fat)
  • what I'm doing is just putting the equivalent amount of fat in each item of food on this plate
  • you still might be hungry, so here are two slices of buttered toast (6) and a glass of milk (1)
  • it's a good thing I didn't suggest bacon or ham
  • they're 90% fat and ought to be outlawed!

  • let's pretend you take a mid-morning break at Tim Horton's for a donut (5 teaspoons)
  • lunch is chicken ? la king (7 teaspoons) and more bread and rolls (3)
  • dinner is for the meat and potatoes kind of guy
  • roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • three ounces of meat is worth 8 teaspoons
  • potatoes and gravy are worth 5
  • roll and butter, salad dressing, and cake with frosting are worth 3 each
  • a glass of milk adds 1

  • that makes a grand total of 50 teaspoons of fat for one day
  • 50 teaspoons of fat that the human body cannot digest
  • a famous pastor's father loved greasy fried foods - sausage, ribs, steaks, anything deep fried
  • he used to say, "I like it when it tastes like it's cooked in thirty-weight motor oil. It just slides down!"
  • he honestly didn't know that his high fat-diet was killing him
  • and he died of a heart attack at age 53

  • how can we expect our bodies to function properly when they're clogged up with greasy, sticky fats?

  • any teenagers here?
  • say a young person begins her day with a nutritious breakfast of presweetened cereal with a slice of toast and jam, with a glass of sweetened cider to wash it all down
  • at midmorning, she has a carton of chocolate milk
  • at lunch, some delicious cream of chicken soup, Jell-O, and lemonade
  • in the afternoon, she snacks on frosted chocolate cupcakes and soda
  • and for supper she has a beef dinner with fries and Ketchup
  • with a small dish of ice cream
  • this isn't that unreasonable
  • but this is the amount of sugar that she has consumed in that one day
  • 81? teaspoons of sugar

  • that sort of diet is a killer
  • not today and not tomorrow
  • but eventually a person who establishes eating patterns like that is going to pay a price - in unnecessary disease and premature death
  • it's inevitable in terms of cause and effect

  • and then there's salt
  • medical experts tell us that anything over 1? teaspoons of salt a day is trouble
  • yet many of us routinely take in more than eight times that amount
  • from prepared, frozen, and canned foods, and salty snacks, and other foods

  • and there are other areas of what we put into our bodies, such as cigarette smoke, drugs, and excessive alcohol

  • your body is a precision instrument, the handiwork of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit
  • what are you putting into it?
  • remember what I said earlier?
  • "If God does not enter your kitchen, there is something wrong with your kitchen."

  • [MAINTENANCE]
  • I said there are two areas of spiritual service in which we can care for our bodies
  • and comparing the body to a car, these two areas are fuel and maintenance
  • every car has an owner's manual with a schedule of maintenance
  • every three months or 5,000 km for instance, we are to have the oil changed
  • every year, we are to have the radiator flushed

  • what happens if you follow the maintenance schedule?
  • cars have been known to run over 300,000 with only minor repairs when they are properly maintained
  • what happens to cars if you do not follow the maintenance schedule?
  • in school there was a girl who let her car run dry of oil
  • she didn't know enough to change the oil regularly
  • and her engine seized up
  • needless to say, it's preferable to follow the maintenance schedule

  • in terms of maintenance, just two things that it's important to do:
  • FIRST, exercise
  • exercise strengthens the heart muscles and decreases the risk of heart disease
  • in 1987, a long term study of 12,000 men showed that those who exercised moderately - golf, walking, bicycling - on a regular basis had a 30% lower risk of cardiac disease than those with a sedentary lifestyle
  • that's just moderate exercise
  • exercise increases your metabolism rate all the time, so even when you're not exercising, you're still burning off more calories than someone who doesn't exercise
  • exercise strengthens the lungs and increases the size and strength of bones, and retards the brittleness and loss of bone mass that occurs with aging
  • exercise lowers blood pressure
  • not to mention the emotional and mental benefits of exercise as well
  • it has been said that exercise is the greatest antidote to stress

  • and finally there's the spiritual benefit of knowing that God is pleased with how you're caring for the body that He's given you
  • so exercise wisely
  • set a goal of exercising four to five times a week, nonstop, for twenty to thirty minutes after talking to your doctor
  • and find out about such things as the aerobic zone
  • set up accountability, because 50% of new exercisers quit within six months

  • [Second, Rest]
  • but one area of body maintenance that is also widely ignored is the principle of rest
  • (Genesis 2:2) By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
  • (Genesis 2:3) And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
  • God has established a principle at creation, and re-iterated in the 10 commandments, that to maintain optimal performance, one day out of seven we should cease from our labors and rest

  • this has a real cost to it
  • it might mean losing a client or foregoing a price tag
  • it might mean a messier house
  • but one day out of seven, God says STOP!
  • because our bodies and minds and our spirits are not meant to be going endlessly
  • we need a rest

  • I believe one of the reasons God gave us this command is so that we learn to trust him
  • to make us learn that even when we stop working, he provides for us
  • that we can afford to take a day off and lose a client or forego a promotion, and he will provide for us that day

  • so this morning, if you're not taking time off at least one day a week from your labors, spare me the excuses, you're disobeying God and not following his optimal schedule of maintenance

  • suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
  • "What are you doing?" you ask.
  • "Can't you see?" comes the impatient reply. "I'm sawing down this tree."
  • "You look exhausted!" you exclaim. "How long have you been at it?"
  • "Over five hours," he returns, "and I'm beat! This is hard work."
  • "Well, why don't you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?" you inquire. "I'm sure it would go a lot faster."
  • "I don't have time to sharpen the saw," the man says emphatically. "I'm too busy sawing."

  • Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
  • Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.