YHATC015 – It’s a Problem that Church Folks are So Sick

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What I am talking about today is one of the main reasons that I podcast.  It’s one of the main reasons I’m a certified personal trainer.  It’s a lot of the reason why I do all of this stuff.

I’m tired of seeing folks sick, man.

Yes, if you want my advice on how to lose weight, I can help with that.  If you want to know how to increase muscle and get a higher level of fitness, I can help with that too.  But more than anything, I want to help prevent folks from getting sick.

“Well Shawn, you better sit down because folks just get sick in this world.  That’s how it is!”

Yeah, that’s true.  I admit it.  But it’s true only to an extent.

See, sometimes folks get sick from stuff that’s beyond their control.  That’s just how it is sometimes.

HOWEVER, a lot of the time, we get sick from stuff that’s fully within our control.  We literally cause ourselves to get sick.  It’s called lifestyle disease.  Lifestyle disease is literally defined as “disease caused by the way a person or group of people lives.”

In case you don’t know the kinds of things I’m talking about, let me list out some lifestyle diseases for you.  Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke, Obesity, Arthritis, Gout, Kidney Disease…all of these are examples of lifestyle diseases.  There’s even evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease, certain types of cancer and some autoimmune diseases are contributed to by the way we live our lives.

It’s these modern day lifestyles, man.  You know what I’m talking about…running around busy all of the time, filling our bodies up with poisons in the form of processed foods, sugar and pharmaceutical drugs, rarely if ever being physically active, always being indoors away from the sun and fresh air, always being upset and worried about something, eating too much meat, never eating fresh vegetables…this is the kind of lifestyle that is contributing to all of the diseases I mentioned earlier.

Now, let me bring it back to what I want to talk about today.  I want to help folks everywhere to avoid these avoidable lifestyle diseases.  I must say, however, that I have a particular burden in my heart for the church, man.

The Paradoxical Nature of Physical Health in the Church

Let me explain.  It’s not out of favoritism or anything like that.  It’s because I am a Christian, for one, and two, because many of the folks I’ve seen suffer the most from lifestyle disease are in the church.  It’s also because I believe that the fact that there is so much lifestyle disease in the church means that something is very, very wrong.

This isn’t me saying that folks who follow Christ are exempt from such disease.  What I’m saying though is that, as Christians, we in the church are called to a higher way of living for the purpose of being able to help others.  Let me give some scriptural proof.

One of the most popular scriptures in the church is John 10:10.  It reads as follows:

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

Without me going too deep, Jesus was talking to a group of people when He said this, and was giving them an analogy to reveal to them His purpose for being in the world.  He said that His purpose was to give His followers a rich and satisfying life.

Now, a lot of us will immediately be like, “yeah, when we leave this earth, Jesus gives us this life in heaven.”  Now I’m not disputing that, but that is not what He’s talking about right here.  Not right here, at least.  He’s talking about a rich and satisfying life here on earth.

I don’t think He’s talking about a life free from all hardships and troubles, but I do believe that it is reasonable to say that a rich and satisfying life wouldn’t be one fraught with lifestyle-caused diseases.

Let me throw another one at you.  2 Timothy 1:7:  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  You see that?  Paul wrote this to a mentee of his named Timothy who was a young ministry leader, helping him to move past fear from being a young ministry leader and towards understanding of what God had placed inside of him.  One of those things was self-discipline.  In some translations, it says self-control.

Do you see why that’s so huge?  Paul is saying that God has put inside of us, among other things, self-discipline…the ability for us to discipline ourselves.  The ability for us to overcome difficulties and challenges in life that we would struggle with if we had no discipline.  See it?

I could find more scriptures, but just considering those two, I think it can be reasonably seen that the kind of life that Jesus intended for those who follow Him is one that is full, rich and satisfying, as well as one that is disciplined so that we can better live the way that we should.  With that alone, I feel like a life filled with suffering from diseases caused by how we live our lives is not at all what was meant for those who follow Christ.

And yet, lifestyle disease prevails in the church.  All throughout the church, people are dealing with weight they cannot lose, high blood pressure they feel they cannot control, and other related aches and pains that they accept as ‘just life,’ even as we say that we’ve been given self-control over our desires, and that Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life.

In large part, we’ve come to accept lifestyle disease as a way of life.  I feel like we might as well be singing stuff in the church like this…

<<song>>

See, that’s not cool, man.  But if you really think about it, in the church, we think so much about the future that we forget that we were meant to live victoriously in this life as well.  We’re not supposed to suffer from totally preventable stuff because we have no discipline.

YOU Choose

You know what, though?  It’s all about choices, man.  Ultimately, we are the ones who choose what we’re going to do.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the church or not.

And see, that’s the thing.  In the church, somehow we’ve relinquished ourselves from personal responsibility of our health.  We feel like it’s something that’s just supposed to be supernaturally maintained by God.  Some kind of way, we’ve been believing that we can do whatever we want to do – eat how we want to eat, live how we want to live – and still expect to be healthy.

You know how it is.  We go up in the church like…

“Father God, in the name of Jesus, heal our bodies!  By Jesus’ stripes, we are healed!”

…then when we leave the church to go eat, we’re like…

“I know I don’t need to be eating this, but uh, we about to get it in brother!  Forgive me Father for the damage I’m bout to do!  Ay, pass the hot sauce…”

…and we cap it off with this…

“Lord bless this food that we are about to receive, and make it nourishing to our bodies.”

But this is how God set it up.  He created humans – these autonomous, intelligent beings – and He created them to be able to decide for themselves.  But that’s not it.  Then, He created all of the kinds of food they would need to eat, with the various vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins, to maintain the health of their bodies.  But guess what?  We have to choose to eat those foods.

We also have to choose to be active.  We have to choose to avoid stress.  We have to choose to drink water.  We are the ones personally responsible.  Yes, we can pray and ask for a blessing on our health, but what would God look like if He always blesses us with health while we consistently ignore the health laws that He put in place?

Look, man.  There’s too much lifestyle disease in this country.  There are about 795,000 strokes per year in the United States.  790,000 heart attacks.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country; about 610,000 folks die from it every year.  Over 29 million folks in our country have diabetes.  And to think that we spend more money on health care in the United States than any other country does.

But I’m not telling you these statistics so that you can wonder whether or not you’ll be one of the next ones.  I’m listing all of these out because all of them are lifestyle diseases.  All of them are diseases caused by our western lifestyles.  That means that all of these diseases are preventable.  You don’t have to have them!  Healthiness is not an accident.

But the question is, what are you doing?  What kind of lifestyle are you choosing to live?  Church…what are we choosing to do?  Are we choosing to live healthy lives, or are we just praying for health while we keep on picking up the fried chicken and pork, and thinking that God is going to make them nutritionally equivalent to broccoli when we take a bite?  Are we understanding that we already have the self-discipline inside of ourselves to make healthy choices?  Do we understand that we can live a rich and satisfying life health-wise, but that it is up to us to choose to do that?

Deuteronomy 30:19.  Read it when you get a chance.  Matter of fact, read the whole chapter if you can.  It’s powerful.  It’s where the whole concept of Your Health At The Crossroads comes from.  God told His chosen people that He had presented before them life and death, blessings and curses.  But it was still up to them to choose life.  God wanted them to choose life.  He encouraged it.  But He didn’t force it.  That choice was up to His people.

It’s our choice, man.  We don’t have to deal with all these preventable diseases in the church.  But are we choosing life?


Have a question you want answered on the Your Health At The Crossroads show?  Interested in becoming a sponsor of the show?  Tweet your question to @ShawnB2BFitness, put it on the YHATC Facebook page, or call (478)216-8536 and leave a voicemail.  You can also send your question via e-mail  to shawn@yourhealthatthecrossroads.com.  Sponsorship inquiries can be sent via e-mail or by calling (478)216-8536.

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