“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” - Luke 10:27
What does that even mean – to love God with all our strength? The Greek word for strength used in this passage can be defined as “capability to function effectively,” “strength, power, might.” Some have suggested that this means to love God with every available resource we have – our time, talents, privileges, money, our bodies. Strength, power, might... those words all seem to have a physical component to them. We are called to go, to serve, to care for others... all which require a degree of physical strength. And interestingly, physical health can impact how we are able to love God with our hearts, souls, and mind. If we are physically tired, fighting illness, or lacking proper nutrition, our ability to maintain focus is diminished, memory is impaired, our emotions are more unstable, and we may even be more susceptible to temptation. Our physical health matters.
When I was first asked to write this post, my initial thought was, “I must have people fooled! They think I’m one of those fit people!” It’s true that some of my close friends actually are those people –– you know, the ones who love to work out and eat raw kale (and they happen to look like they could grace the cover of a fitness magazine). They are naturally passionate about physical health and wellness. Maybe you can relate to them, or maybe, like me, right now you’re struggling to motivate yourself to do your 5 min treadmill workout (hey, it’s better than nothing ;)).
Maybe you are struggling with an addiction to food. Maybe you could care less about your physical health at all, or maybe you are dealing with a chronic illness that is beyond your control. No matter your current circumstance or condition, we are all challenged to love God with all our strength, physically, to the best of our ability. This is NOT about looking good in spandex pants :) or finding a certain number on the scale; this is about honoring God with what he has graciously given us - our bodies.
So, how can we love God with our physical bodies? (certainly every person and every body is different, so this list is not meant to be all-encompassing but a starting point)
1. Check our hearts.
We can be fit and healthy on the outside, yet our hearts can be far from Him. Be driven to live a healthy life as a way to glorify God first and foremost. Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). It’s natural to want to feel good about the way we look, but be on guard against excessive vanity that is self-serving and destructive.
2. Go to bed.
(Ok, this is one I can really struggle with.) Adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night and anywhere from 35-40% of you reading this right now are sleep deprived! Set a goal for bedtime, try to avoid tv or phone usage before bed. If you are in the throngs of parenthood and sleepless nights..... sorry, this too shall pass; reach out to a friend or family member for help if your sleep deprivation is significantly affecting your mood or ability to function safely.
3. Get moving.
It is recommended that adults get about 75-150 minutes of exercise a week (depending on how vigorous your activity). Being physically active lowers your risk of early death, cancer, dementia, anxiety, depression, and more. If you are very inactive, start small and just aim for 5-10 min a day! Modify your activity to your ability level. Just think - how could more endurance and energy help you serve God and others?
4. Eat real food.
There are so many varying opinions and fads right now when it comes to nutrition, but a general rule is to eat as much “real” (unprocessed) food as possible and –– vegetables and fruits, healthy grains. Consume other foods in moderation. Think of your food as being your fuel as you live on mission!
Let’s love God with all we have - with all our strength! What are some other practical ways you honor God physically??
Meet the Author!
Taylor is the wife of Council Road's Groups Pastor, Micah White, and mother to Navy and Foster. She works as a PA in Oklahoma City, and is also passionate about serving and edifying the local Church. She most enjoys time with her family, but can also be found reading, teaching, making music, hand-lettering, and hosting gatherings. She loves a friendly debate and a good laugh.