Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Are They Spiritual?
Although it is true we are becoming more health-conscious in our country than ever before, it is also true that old habits die hard and we are easily deceived. How easy it is to think that by eating right but not giving attention to our sleep, or that by exercising often but not eating well, we are actually making progress!
Students are texting and using Facebook so much that they are losing the sleep they need to mentally function well the next day. Our computers, tablets, iPads, and phones have created conditions that make students more sedentary than we ever were in front of our television screens. And processed foods, full of unnatural chemicals and preservatives and high in sugars and salt, have produced an obesity problem that has been with us for decades. We need consistent parental oversight in these areas more than ever, which is not easy to do given our habits of busyness and our dual-income life-styles, which have left many children without the supervision they need to form good habits and live a healthy lifestyle. We all need to be more aware of our unconscious choices and their consequences when it comes to habits of eating, sleeping, and working.
The Apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a boxing match. He said he beat his body and made it his slave (1 Cor. 9:27). And he did this in order to maximize his effectiveness in the world. If we want to be a people who exhibit the abundant life of Christ, then we need to let the gift of self-control manifest itself in our daily lives and bring our eating, sleeping, and exercise habits under control. We need virtues to do this—temperance, self-denial, and self-control—and these come by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, who purifies us as we obey the truth (1 Peter 1:22).
Are the foods you are currently eating the best foods for you or for your family? How would you evaluate your family’s sleeping habits? Do your children understand the value of stewarding their sleep, recreation, diet, and work for God’s purposes?
There is no mystery here. Sleep, diet, and exercise are very spiritual questions indeed.