(This article was first published in our church’s newsletter.)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions… Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25 NLT
Over the years I have become increasingly aware of how important it is to make my physical body uninhabitable to viruses and diseases. Of course, even my best human attempts do not guarantee I won’t get sick. In what I felt were times of great personal effort, I was diagnosed with melanoma and COVID. Despite those unexpected obstacles, I continue to study the role of nutrition and lifestyle in disease prevention and direct my focus and efforts toward that end.
From the beginning, God has provided tremendous foods that nourish our cells. Most experts agree that a diet high in dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables and fruits is important for disease prevention. An article from WebMD lists the following foods as the most beneficial for our health.
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna): protein, omega-3s, selenium
- Leafy dark greens (kale, spinach, collards): vitamins A, C, and E; omega-3s; protein — plus selenium in spinach)
- Eggs: protein, vitamins A and E, selenium, zinc
- Flaxseeds: omega-3s, selenium
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas): protein, zinc
- Avocados: healthy fats, vitamins C and E
- Extra virgin olive oil: healthy fats, vitamin E
Nutrition experts at Forks Over Knives provide this recommendation: https://www.forksoverknives.com/tag/nutrition/
Additionally, regular exercise is known for its health benefits; better mood, more energy, better rest, confidence booster, stress reliever, more productive, weight control, longer healthier life, strong bones and muscles, healthy heart, lowers risk of diseases, including cancer, and less pain.
In an article on WebMD regarding spirituality and health, lead study author Harold G. Koenig, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina wrote, “People who attend religious services at least once a week are less likely to die in a given period of time than people who attend services less often,” 46 precent less likely, the article states.
Despite our best efforts, viruses and diseases can still attack our human bodies. My goal is just to make my own body as uninhabitable to those predators as possible. The correlation here is that I’ve been contemplating how to make my heart as uninhabitable to sin as disease to my body. Sin is a virus that infects our souls and left ignored, can consume our hearts and minds. Psalm 5:4 says, You’re not a God who smiles at sin; You cannot abide with evil.
Fortunately, we have the Scriptures to show us how to nourish our souls as well.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10:5
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:7-8a
Several hymns we sing also allude to these Scriptures.
From, “I need Thee every hour”
I need Thee ev’ry hour
Stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their pow’r
When Thou art nigh
From, “What a friend we have in Jesus”
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
With all this and much more information available, I believe it is safe to say that healthy lifestyle choices can make our bodies less habitable for disease and spending time in God’s presence, individually and corporately, can make our hearts less habitable for sin. As we consider New Year’s resolutions and changes, let’s not neglect our souls.
For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Luke 12:23
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2