“Improper diet, bad exercise habits, excessive stress and a focus on negativity damage and harm our bodies. God has given us a physique that has the power to heal itself.”
Christians require good health to be able to carry out God’s purpose for their lives. Stephen Brooks highlights biblical directions about physical health, and encourages believers to follow them. According to the Bible, and prior to the flood, many people lived more than 120 years. Adam lived for 930 years and Methuselah, the longest-lived human, died when he was 969 years old (Genesis 5:27).
The Bible does not initially state why people lived for so many years, but longer lifespans allowed knowledge to be preserved before writing was invented. In societies with no written records, the death of an elder would have been like the loss of an entire library.
In Genesis 6:3, we are told that the Spirit of God would not strive with man forever, and shortened the human life span to 120 years. In doing so, God helped mankind to reduce the evil that individuals are capable of committing over long periods of time. What, then, has happened to this ‘120 year’ promise from God? The same thing that happens whenever faith is compromised – the promise does not come to pass.
Psalm 90 was written by Moses (who lived to be 120), and is probably the oldest of all the psalms. The “threescore and ten” (70 years) or, if by reason of strength, they be fourscore years (80 years) that Moses mentions in this Psalm represents Moses’ experiential estimate of the human lifespan, as the Israelite generation who left Egypt began to die after their 40 years of murmurings in the wilderness.
Perhaps this verse reminds us that, even if the advances of medical science result in a life expectancy of 120 years, the problems inherent in the human condition will remain. Improper diet, bad exercise habits, excessive stress, and a focus on negativity damage and harm our bodies. God has given us a physique that has the power to heal itself. The immune system takes care of infections; the stomach can digest a wide variety of foods, and the liver can filter out harmful enzymes and poisons in food.
There’s a reason why about one third of the laws in the Old Testament are dietary laws. Unclean animals may have absorbed poisonous material, or may have lived off the blood of other animals (eg. eagles and vultures). According to Jewish Law, such animals were improper to eat, and laws were made to both protect health and to maintain a good relationship with God.
The Bible’s Old Testament dietary law encouraged people to eat lots of grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as some meats and proteins. Cholesterol levels, as well as sugar levels, are kept in pretty good balance if you take everything in moderation. God created the body to take in a lot of material and process it into energy. The dietary laws in the Old Testament are a pretty good guideline for smart eating, but today we have various methods of cooking, as well as permission from God to eat whatever we please (1 Corinthians 10:25-26), even so, we should be good stewards of this body.
A balance of fat, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins will keep our bodies running efficiently and, with exception to periods of fasting, we should feed this body in the right way.
The reason we prematurely suffer age-related diseases and die earlier than 120 years is because we neglect checking the body that God gave us. We have to check what ‘regular’ doctors often miss. This means: deficiencies in hormones, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, food allergies and presence of environmental metal and chemical toxicities. These did not exist when God created the earth. For example, God did not create pesticides and phthalates (from plastic bottles).
The context of the 70- or 80-year lifespan is sinful pride and the iniquity of doing your own thing instead of submitting to God. Life gets shorter when lived unto itself; life gets longer when lived in obedience to God. Our lives are lengthened as our faith and our obedience develop through our intimacy with Jesus Christ. Long life, health and peace are reserved for those who obey Him. The following Scriptures highlight this: Proverbs 3:1-2, Psalm 91:15-16 and Ephesians 6:1-3.
You might ask the question, “What about all the believers who have not even come close to living 120 years?” The answer is simple. The truth of God is not changed by experience. The truth of God is eternal, and it is unchangeable. Our faith and expectation are the variables. God did not qualify His promise with exceptions for poor nutrition, bad genes, lack of medical care, bad air quality, or other reasons for which believers yield their otherwise strong faith. Learning to hear the voice of the Lord gives us access to abundant life within the full realm of spirit, soul and body. The God who created the heavens and the earth made the promise of 120 years, knowing full well it would have to apply to all generations in all the ages to come.
Choose abundant life! (John 10:10)
Stephen Brooks is National Development Manager for Excell 3 (National Black Boys Can Association). For more details visit www.blackboyscan.co.uk