By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST NEWS SERVICE
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS — August 27, 2017) — According to government studies exercise is something that doesn’t come easily to most Americans. Consider these statistics :
–Only one in three children are physically active every day.
–Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week
–Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active.
–More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
How are Christians to respond to this type of information? My hope is that Christians would take it seriously. Why? The Bible teaches that care for the body is important. And more specifically, Paul tells us that our “bodes are temples of the Holy Spirit” (see I Corn. 6: 19-20). The word for temple is naos. It means a shrine, or dwelling place. Paul goes on to say that our bodies are “not your own,” inferring that our bodies are God’s property since he furnished them and dwells in them. Ultimately, bodies are a gift from God to be governed by God’s principles.
So if indeed our bodies are where God the Holy Spirit dwells and are given to God by us to be cultivated according to His principles, the question arises: how are we to tend our body? I suggest four ways, all-starting with an “E.”
Eat right: Remember that eating for God’s glory encompasses eating for the good of your body (I Corn 10:31). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends the following: eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains; eat fat-free or low-fat dairy products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; limit saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars; and controls portion sizes .
Exercise: Paul says physical training (exercise) is of some value (I Timothy 4:8). So value exercise, making time for it on a weekly basis. The Mayo Clinic states, “For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity” .
Empathize: Empathize is to understand and sympathize with others. There are two types of empathy: cognitive and affective. Cognitive empathy is the ability to identify what others think and/or feel. Affective empathy is the ability to respond appropriately. How empathy plays out Biblically is that we are to have compassion, serve, show mercy, and most importantly love. We treat others with respect and esteem. As an example, researchers at John Hopkins found that forgiveness is healthy for you, stating, “Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age” . Do your body a favor, empathize in the Biblical way.
Enjoy: Enjoy what God has given you. Your outlook will help sharpen your in-look. Put another way, the way you view life will influence the way you value life. It all comes down to attitude. In a simple translation of Philippians 2:5 (NLT), Paul states, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ”
A couple words on this text in Philippians: the word for “mind” is phroneo. It means to exercise the mind, entertain thought, and have opinions or sentiment. It is or disposition, attitudes, and affections. And our mind is to be “like Christ.”
What was the attitude of Christ? Here’s just a few thoughts to ponder: Jesus was humble, a servant, sacrificial, obedient, patient, spoke the truth, and above all exuded love.
It’s as Zig Ziglar reminds us, “Our attitude, not our aptitude, will determine our altitude.” When you enjoy what God has given you, you will fly high.
Remember the four “E’s for healthy living; your body depends on them.
Photo captions: 1) Eat Right. 2) Exercise. 3) Empathize. 4) Enjoy. 5) Brian Nixon.
About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, artist, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA), Veritas Evangelical Seminary (MA), and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon
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