I have a theory, and it goes something like this: the better I take care of my physical body, the better I am able to love God. Of course, God’s love for you never changes, but your love for him can. And if you take good care of your physical body, you will love God more. I’ve seen this proven true in my life repeatedly.
Years ago, I worked at a supplement retail store and one of the qualifications for working the job was acquiring certain certifications. I had to become a certified personal trainer and certified Sports Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I learned a tremendous amount in that time about diet, sleep, exercise, and supplements and I’ve learned how to implement some of those things in my Christian life.
I won’t go in depth, but here are some things to consider when it comes to your physical body and your walk with the Lord.
Loving God More by Taking Better Care of Your Body
The most important factor we’ll examine is your diet. You are, as they say, what you eat. If you eat well, you’ll feel well. If you feel well, you’ll be more inclined to wake up early, read your Bible, pray, and serve. God intentionally wired your body a certain way, a way that requires proper nutrition to function properly. Man shall not live on donuts alone.
Last year, I started seminary and got engaged in the same month. This is also in the same season that I transitioned jobs, moved to a different home, raised financial support, and dealt with the everyday life stuff. It was a stressful season, and like most people do under pressure, I stopped caring about what I ate.
I gained over 20 pounds.
I had little energy, felt more anxious, and just didn’t feel my usual self. There were many factors that contributed to this, but the biggest one was diet. So, I made a change.
I’m back to eating better and I feel alive and alert.
Most of all, I feel as if I’m more equipped to seek the Lord with more vigilance. That’s the best part about eating well.
When I worked at the supplement retail store, we were trained to tell people who wanted to lose fat or feel better about life to do at least five things:
1. Drink 120 oz of water a day
2. Eat every 2-4 hours
3. Eat lean protein with every meal
4. Don’t eat carbs 4-5 hours before bed
5. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week (or day)
That’s it. For most people, it worked.
For you, it may be something different. But it’s important to find a clean eating schedule that works for you and stick to it.
My wife and I did the Whole 30 Diet not too long ago and saw great results (although we didn’t quite make it to 30 days). It’s not easy, and your food budget may double, but it works.
Pick a good diet and stick to it — you will feel better about life and love the Lord more if you do.
You’re probably not getting enough sleep.
This is probably because:
- You’re a new parent and your child keeps you up
- You drink too much caffeine
- Your work schedule interrupts your sleep
- Your flat-out anxious about life and cannot seem to fall asleep
- Or some other factor
The Psalmists says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2).
I don’t do well on little sleep. I find that my ability to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit and seek the Lord are hindered if I don’t get adequate sleep. While I’m not always successful, I make it my aim to sleep 7-9 hours a night.
Few things are more important in my day than exercise. It helps me feel better about life, relieves stress, and gives me more energy. I feel lethargic when I consistently neglect exercise. I am less prone to depression and more prone to joy when I hit the treadmill— it’s how the Lord wired our bodies.
Here’s some quick tips to get you going or keep you going:
- Buy a cheap gym membership and stick to going a few days a week (when you spend money, you’ll feel more inclined to use it)
- Walk with your spouse (or by yourself) after dinner
- Lift weights 3-4 days a week
- Join a sporting league (softball, volleyball, etc)
- Buy cheap cardio equipment so you don’t have to drive to the gym
- Go swimming
- Stand while you work (you burn more calories this way)
- Workout on your lunch break
- Ride a bike
- Walk to work or school or church instead of drive (if feasible)
“I’m simply happier. And I sleep better. I have more energy. Most of that energy goes into the Bible and preaching and people. And the fruit from that is, I hope, edification. Which means I exercise to be a more loving person and a better pastor.”
Finally, we get to the decidedly last most important of the four key factors: dietary supplements. Many people think that dietary supplements are a waste of money. They think that they can get all of what the need from food. Having studied supplements for over two years, I can tell you that lots of supplements are not worth your money, but some are. In fact, some can make a big difference.
Here’s some to consider:
- A gender-specific, capsulated multivitamin. Here’s one option for men, and here’s one option for women
- Fish oil
- Meal replacement protein – especially helpful if you can’t get to meals
- CytoGreens – your daily dose of veggies in a scoop (and it doesn’t taste that bad)
I don’t always use supplements in every season because of costs, but when I’m able to use them, I see good results. But again, your diet and exercise are more important. If you’re not eating well and exercising often, you won’t see much benefits from supplements if you buy them.
Take care of your body. It belongs to God, and he wants you to steward it well. Don’t make it an idol, and enjoy your life, and but don’t let yourself go, either. You will be much happier and more energized to serve the Lord if you steward your body well.
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