Everything you have is a gift from God.
Most of us are accustomed to looking at our money, our talents, and our time as a gift. However, stewardship is so much more. God wants us to manage every aspect of our lives in a way that will maximize our influence.
That includes how we take care of our bodies. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to my health for years. But I had an epiphany a few years ago: I realized my health could limit my ministry, and I needed the energy to do what God was calling me to do.
God had given me a vision for the PEACE Plan, to mobilize my church and churches around the world to lean on God’s power to tackle some of the biggest global challenges. At Saddleback, we were making plans to engage churches worldwide to plant churches that promote reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
It was a tall order!
To fulfill what God had called me to do, I was going to need more energy and had to make the most of the life and health I’d been given. God has big plans for your ministry, too. You’ll need every bit of energy, every ounce of your life, to complete what God has laid before you.
The Bible tells us, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV).
How do you honor God with your body?
You get in shape!
If you’re like me, you’ve tried to get in shape before but failed. Maybe you give it a shot every January 1, but by January 5, you’re ready to give up.
But you can do it! In fact, I believe if you embrace these three principles, you can do this time what you haven’t been able to do in the past.
1. You need to lean on God’s power.
Guess what? Willpower isn’t enough. It’s a fantastic short-term plan to help you get in shape, but it won’t last long. Anytime you’re depending on willpower, you’re forcing yourself to do something that your natural brain does not want to do. It takes too much energy to push through a diet on willpower alone. But God’s power won’t run out. The Bible says, “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 GW). I’m guessing you teach and preach this truth all the time. Apply it to taking care of your body, too.
2. Let the Kingdom of God be your motivation.
Your goal to get healthy can’t just be about you. It’s not wrong to want to look good, feel good, or live longer. But you need to realize, pastor, that there’s a far more significant reason to get healthy. The truth is, there’s a spiritual significance to getting healthy. You have a unique part to play in what God is doing around the world. It’s one thing to get healthy so you can fit into a new pair of pants. But to get healthy so you have more energy to make much of Jesus—that will keep you going when every fiber of your being wants to quit.
3. You need to involve others in your journey to get healthy.
Here’s where many pastors miss out. Statistics have long shown that most pastors have few, if any, close friends. You, just like every person in your congregation, were made for community. You need people in your life to help you get healthy. Maybe it’s fellow pastors, maybe it’s a small group, maybe it’s a trainer, but you need someone to cheer you on through the tough journey to get healthy. You wouldn’t tell people to overcome an addiction, build their character, or learn to share their faith without the support of a church family. The same is true for you and your journey to get healthy. You need other people.
God created your body as a tool to help you fulfill his purpose for your life. To be a good steward of that gift, you must take care of it!