It’s thoughtful Thursday, and today I shift gears from my norm.
I was reading the Beauty Beyond Bones blog recently in which Caralyn was making an excellent comment on the present obsession in much of the West with “Skinniness.” She made a really wonderful point on The Cheesecake Factory’s “Skinnylicious” menu. No they don’t prompt you to make a healthy choice, a reduced calorie choice, or a less indulgent choice. They promote skinniness.
Caralyn makes it no secret in her posts about her battle with anorexia. Her concerns at the “Skinny Agenda” are as understandable, as they intrinsically correct. I come from another perspective, as one who reached a peak of nearly 430 pounds, before reducing to 380 and still having a heart attack. I have since continued to reduce, but I have no desire to be “skinny.” Healthy needs to be our watchword.
What then is healthy?
While there is a scripture which proclaims, “For bodily exercise profiteth little . . . (1 Timothy 4: 8 KJV).” It is rendered more completely and in clearer modern English, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (NIV).” Note it does not say that exercise is worthless, just that it is of limited or temporal value. It goes on to state that godliness (virtue and a holy character) has temporal and everlasting value.
We can see then that exercise, and by application eating a healthy diet, is positive. But here we do not see a call for excess. No excess in gluttony, nor an excess in “dieting,” but moderation. We can enjoy good meals (these too are blessings from God). We can enjoy the gym, or a daily run. But, we are not to “live for” either.
While I am not a fan of “proof texts,” I still must accept that even single passages can offer us some truths. With that said, let us look at 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, “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.”
The application is that we have a call, if not a duty to take care of our health. We can do this in sensible eating, avoiding substances which damage us, and in having some measure of activity.
But this health is also spiritual. We are to also have a healthy diet of that which nourishes our soul as well. Do we spend time in the Word of God? Do we spend time in godly conversation? These will feed our inner selves. It leads to the “godliness that has value for all things . . . .”
So what is the message? We need to have balance in our lives. We need to make sure we are feeding our souls. We need to take care of our physical being as well, as it it this body that enables us to serve Him. We need to avoid fad, fashion, and “marketing.” We need to seek a value system which makes us whole. We need to resist the dual challenge of modern life to “buy more, eat, more, enjoy more,” and “be thin and avoid ‘fat shame’.” These are both deceptions.
In the same way the other duality of our age “There is no God,” and “Your religion is only personal.” We live in a time when atheism and skepticism are argued to be the norm, and at the same time “any belief goes.” We in our healthy spiritual diet should come too see these as deceptions as well.
Let us seek health today. It not a matter of image, or misapplied consumerism. It is about an abundant balanced life.