* I have written several posts on another blog regarding health and holiness, and my personal pursuit of both. I am consolidating my writing efforts, and reposting the content here, and plan to continue to share my journey in the future.
The Importance of Self-Control
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
This passage of Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by the Apostle Paul, clearly has a primarily spiritual focus. He is making a comparison between those who discipline themselves for a crown that will fade away, and those who discipline themselves for a crown that will never fade away. I think there is a physical application of this passage as well however. God has created us body, soul, and spirit, and expects us to live with all that we have and are, for His glory.
The only way we can do this effectively, is if we are disciplined in all areas of life. Ministry is stressful. If we are not careful, we can use the stress level as an excuse not to take proper care of ourselves. It can lead to sedentary and destructive physical habits in the longterm.
I was speaking with a friend of mine a few months back, who is known internationally in the fitness world, and he asked me a pointed question. He said, “Seth, if you don’t take proper care of yourself, then how can you care for others?” I have thought about that probing question a lot since then.
I asked some men to pray for me earlier this year as I was making a commitment to better discipline, particularly physically. I have renewed that commitment and stepped it up literally, trying to take off some unwanted and unhealthy pounds, and be a good example to others. It is not easy, and it is often not pleasant but it is necessary.
I want to take Paul’s words to heart- “I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” There is no excuse for not being disciplined. Health and holiness are not mutually exclusive.
So I ask you, how well are you taking care of yourself? If you don’t take proper care of yourself, then how can you care for others?
Daily Decisions Matter
How does one climb a mountain? By taking it one step at a time. Even the most difficult summits can be reached, with preparation, and steady progress. It is the same with our daily decisions. They often do not seem that significant, but cumulatively, they matter a lot.
For long-term health, the key is putting some principles in place that can be maintained, which will help you get where you want to go. It is helpful to set some goals for your diet, exercise, and sleep, and then try to live by them. Nobody gets out of shape suddenly. Instead it is progressive, and the effect of living by the wrong principles. Nobody is able to get in shape suddenly either. It will only be by disciplined focus that it will happen.
Carefully consider your daily decisions, because they matter.
Small Changes, Big Results
I am a Fitbit proponent. I bought the Fitbit Charge HR before the summer started and downloaded the app on my phone. The Fitbit and app can track several key measurables. The ones I have chosen to focus on are; daily steps taken, daily calories eaten, daily sleep pattern, daily water intake, and weight tracking.
This has led me to make small changes in my daily routine, which have yielded big results. I have a minimum goal for daily steps, and a maximum goal for daily calories on a balanced and healthy eating plan. The accountability has helped me tremendously. I find that I tend to underestimate how much I have eaten, and overestimate how much I have exercised, without clear measurables.
The Fitbit alone is just one piece of the puzzle. It does not eliminate the need for discipline and focus, but it helps in maintaining both. What are some small changes you could make that may yield big results?
Progress in life is important. We are either moving forward, or falling back. There isn’t much in between. Progress is crucially important when moving toward health goals.
Progress encourages a person to keep on keeping on. It is helpful to look back and see where you have come from, and look forward to see where you are going. Even small steps of progress are encouraging.
Don’t be afraid to set goals. Have someone keep you accountable to those goals. Measure your progress, and then purposefully and passionately pursue your goals. In God’s strength, you will reach them, so just keep moving forward!
Checkups Are Good
I went to the doctor for a six-month checkup. The report was good and I am making significant progress toward my health and fitness goals. The doctor took my blood pressure, weight, and also did blood panels. While I was sitting there waiting on the various tests, as much as I loathe actually going to the doctor, I was thinking about how important checkups are.
Checkups are good because they are a realistic perspective regarding various measuring aspects of health. As it is said, “numbers don’t lie.” They are markers that provide evidence of how healthy we really are. They also point toward goals that can be worked toward to continue to improve health.
Spiritually, we need periodic checkups as well. We need to ask ourselves how we are really doing in our devotion to God, and our walk with Him. Having other people around us who can hold us accountable and speak truth into our lives is helpful also.
Don’t be afraid of a physical or spiritual checkup. It may be exactly what you need! Embrace reality, and then act on it. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.