Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering. — 3 John 1:2 (TPT)
There are so many pressures on men today. We want to be the best we can be for our families, our friends, the churches we are involved in, and our workplaces. Many times we can become so burdened with our responsibilities that we forget to take care of ourselves. In his book, Addicted to Busy, Brady Boyd says “For so long, I was the guy standing in judgment of anyone and everyone who didn’t appear to be working as hard and as long as I did, people who had the audacity to take time off or call a workday complete as soon as their eight hours were up. When you need to be needed, you’ll willingly sign up for slavery like that.” It is easy to become a slave to being busy. I want to encourage you today that for you to create healthy families you yourself need to be healthy.
The non stop culture that we live in perpetuates the need for events, entertainment and excitement. I don’t know about you, but even when I get back from a vacation, I feel like I need a vacation. We are driven to work longer hours so we can make more money to do more things and buy more stuff. We have become consumers of this world and the fruit has been exhaustion, anxiety, depression and a lack of purpose. Wayne Muller says, “If we do not allow for a rhythm of rest in our overly busy lives, illness becomes our Sabbath — our pneumonia, our cancer, our heart attack, our accidents create Sabbath for us.” But this is not the life God has called you to. You have been called to be a producer in this world. You are meant to live a life that is prosperous and of good health even as your soul prospers.
Here are three things that you can do to help realign your life with what God wants for you:
Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.”
There have been many arguments over when the Sabbath should be taken, but I feel many people look at the rule of the Sabbath vs the intent of the Sabbath. This is not a commandment to restrict you, but it is a commandment that is meant to bless and protect you. The Sabbath is the day you rest and prove that your trust is in God and not just the work of your own hands. If you are working yourself to death, then you are missing the fact that God wants you to rest and trust that He is in control. I am not promoting laziness, but I am promoting obedience. This is not a suggestion from God, but it is a command. “When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.”
– Wayne Muller, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives
2) Daily Reminder
Psalm 143:8 “If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.”
Every morning set a time of worship. This is not about singing although music has the ability to stay with you longer than something spoken. This is about setting your focus each day. Starting your day with time set alone with Jesus will help you remember what is most important. This is a great time to give Thanksgiving that you woke up and have breath in your lungs. Stop, breathe, stand in awe of who God is. There is no better way to start a day. I also make sure as I’m going to sleep that the name of Jesus is the last thing that leaves my lips. “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” — Albert Einstein
3) Take care of your physical body
Sleep, eat right, exercise. Honestly, this is an area that we all know, but need to be reminded of. I was grabbing scriptures to start this point with, but I think we can all just agree that our health is not just important to God, but it is important to our families. Our poor habits have led to disease, stress, exhaustion, and many other detrimental things. This may seem like a non spiritual item, but it boils down to stewardship. What are you doing with the life God has given you? I was raised to think that drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco were all wrong, but somehow gorging myself at the buffet was ok. Gluttony has been come the acceptable sin. This is not to shame you or make you feel guilty about your past choices. This about living your best life now. This is about your future. The enemy always points backwards but God wants to know what you are going to do moving forward. Start small. Start with one area. Start with cutting out one unhealthy item and adding on healthy activity. You can do this!
There is a lot to digest in those three points, but this is about you being healthy. Remember that you are the example for your family. They will do what you do. Be the example. I am still working on all three of these areas, but I have goals and I am working toward them. I feel like Paul when he said in Phillippians 3:12-14, “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.”
This is a post originally written for Be Fierce, a Christian men’s ministry that spans across the United States and Canada (and beyond). Their goal is to create a community of men that find strength in each other, and are encouraged in their Fierce Faith in Jesus Christ. Check out their app for devotionals, teachings, resources and more.