We’re a week into the new year and even if you aren’t into New Year’s resolutions, the start of a new year is a helpful reset for all of us. Whether you decide to reorganize a messy closet or jump back into Bible study after a break (hint-hint), there is value in making plans, starting new habits, and saying “yes” to important changes.
That brings me to what I feel led to say today:
Can I lovingly ask you to make 2024 the year that you take better care of yourself?
Specifically, have you sensed God prompting you to deal with your health, but you’ve been ignoring or even rebelling against those promptings?
If you’re tempted to bail on this devotional, stay with me! I’m not writing this to spark shame or criticism. God loves you and I do it! This was the devotional that God put on my heart this week, so I’m trusting that God knows who needs to read this.
Perhaps your doctor, counselor, or nurse practitioner has asked you to cut back on salt, and sugar, exercise more, or reduce your stress. Our healthcare providers aren’t God, BUT God gave them the skills and insights to diagnose what’s happening to your mind or body. Have you considered that God might be speaking through them?
Even if we go to the doctor, just going to an appointment is not enough! The Bible teaches us that we can’t just hear the word, but we must live it out. We can apply this to hearing instructions from our healthcare providers. Again, what if God is speaking through them and we’re resisting their wisdom? Too often do we make excuses for our non-compliance? Any of these sound familiar:
Oh, I’m cutting back, but today, I’ll have just this one.
I know what my counselor said, but I don’t have time to journal.
Exercising? Lifting weights? I’m too old to start all that.
At this point, guilt might be creeping in. Tell it to stop! God never wants you to be ashamed of your health struggles. God loves you and I do, too. But, He does want more FOR you!
God cares about the body that He created for you. He cares about how you care for yourself.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
-1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT
After my third child, I was diagnosed with lymphedema in my right foot and leg. It took months of appointments and tests, the doctor gave me the diagnosis. He added the following: “You’ll be fine, but you need to work out and maintain a healthy weight or else this condition can turn dangerous very quickly.”
I decided to follow his instructions. In addition to lymphedema, I’ve also had a minor heart defect my entire life. More reason for me to listen and obey. It’s been twenty years and I still follow the doctor’s instructions. It hasn’t been easy, but not following the doctor’s wisdom would have made my life even harder.
I’ve had to create boundaries like not keeping dessert in my home since I don’t have good self-control with dessert. I also make myself work out, even though I’d rather not most days. I do it because what I want to do isn’t going to be what’s best for me.
This reminds me of Paul’s reply to believers who thought that freedom in Christ meant that they could do whatever they wanted to do:
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.
-1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
Here’s something that you need to remember: Not everything good is good for you. There are things that taste really good, but not good for you. Skipping exercise might feel good because you aren’t sweating or tired, but the lack of movement is not good for you.
Sweet friend, God wants more for you this year!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO REFLECT ON:
What action steps has your healthcare provider recommended?
Since God loves and cares about your body, has His Holy Spirit prompted or convicted you of either mistreating your body or your resistance to taking better care of yourself?
What have you been eating, drinking or doing that does NOT bless your body?
Who can you make yourself accountable to?
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Did today’s devotional tap into what you’ve been thinking or praying about? Where is God calling you to be obedient?
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