I must admit I have favorites in the Bible: Joshua because of his faith, Joseph for his patience and Caleb for his “can-do” spirit. We can learn a lot from these men in respect to our relationship to health too. All three lived mentally, spiritually and physically well-balanced lives.
I have listened to many whiners while counseling: “It’s too hard.” “It’ll take too long!” “My mother-in-law brought dessert and I had to eat it, Ellie.” And on and on. All are simply excuses to avoid healthier living. God commands us to maintain healthier lifestyles (1 Peter 1:16) and Satan wants our destruction; “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)
I admire Caleb for his courage. When faced with a challenge he never ran away, whining it was too hard. Entering the Promised Land with Joshua, he saw conflict and fortified himself with Truth. God would stand with him, not abandon him, giving him strength to endure any conflict. Today God doesn’t abandon us either! (1 Corinthians 10:13)
How many when faced with a healthier diet plan feel defeated? God wants you living a vibrant life, not a diseased one. Are you running from what you know is healthy truth? Self-destructing with chemically-treated, fattening fast food every day is not what God wants for you! Remember that anything is fine in moderation and we live under grace, but consuming a daily unbalanced diet is not holy nor healthy! Think it’s too hard? Hard is enduring cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses when you knew it could have been prevented.
Now look at Joseph. God didn’t instantly grant his prayers while imprisoned. Why not? Perhaps God wanted Joseph to grow in grace and maturity before he would handle what God entrusted him with. Maybe God wanted to strengthen his faith. As Joseph patiently endured his trials, he mastered his emotions and actions, eventually becoming second-in-command to Pharaoh. Would he have been ready earlier? No, God’s timing is always perfect.
Today everyone demands instant gratification! I like the quip, “Today’s generation is the only one who will stand in front of a microwave and complain if it’s not fast enough!”
Do you want instant gratification? Would that teach anything? No. The journey is as important as the destination in life. The learning process teaches us to endure, to handle and overcome frustrations. For example, if we always ran to our parents to figure out math questions, we wouldn’t know how to balance a checkbook today, would we? Challenges strengthen our body, mind and spirit.
Then we have Joshua. He was fearless and faithful. He never caved to temptation or peer pressure when others began worshipping false gods. (Joshua 24:15) He knew God had a plan for everything. He mastered discipline as he trained, wandering patiently alongside Moses 40 years in the desert. When the time came he was a tremendous champion for Israel, leading them into their Promised Land.
Foods can become idols too. Remain disciplined! October is pastor appreciation month. As we ate out with two other couples last week, a luscious peanut butter pie was delivered as a surprise appreciation gift for my pastor husband. Now he loves pies and the pieces were humongous! As we ate our pie, halfway through my husband stopped and asked for a take-home box. He felt no peer pressure to consume it all and enjoyed the rest the following day. I’m proud he honored God.
God and I were pleased. Stand fast also!