Healthy living part of God’s plan

Friday May 27, 2016 Written by Published in Church Talk

This is part one of a Church Talk article by SDA Pr Sarah Aratai of the Seventh-day Adventist Health Church. Discussing eight aspects of living in a healthy way, it was adapted from the Creation Health website). Part two of Pastor Aratai’s article will appear in Saturday’s CI News.

 

When they’re asked to think and talk about healthy living, most people tend to say something like: “I want to be fit and live longer.”

Or they might say they want to live in a healthier way, because at present, they don’t feel physically well.

Both are good responses. But have you ever considered the fact that living in a healthy way has always been God’s plan for me and you?

Yes, it has always been God’s plan and purpose for us to live in a healthy way. The creation story of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 gives us the first picture of health. We have seen the story of the creation, about how God created the earth in six days, but sometimes we don’t see creation through a health perspective.

I would like to share eight principles God plans for our lives.

Let me ask you some questions. How much do you value your health? Would you like to have new health, new energy and new joy? Would like to discover eight secrets for feeling fit and living longer? I have some simple steps that will help you to have robust health, energy and joy, so that you will feel fit and and live longer.

These eight secrets came from the word CREATION. The word creation comes from the book of Genesis chapter 1 which describes how God created the world. Creation Health is all about wellness. Wellness is more than health: wellness is being mentally fit, physically robust, spiritually vital, socially comfortable and environmentally safe and clean. Each letter of the word creation stands for one of the eight principles of health drawn from the Genesis story of Creation.

The letter C stands for “Choice” - the first step toward improving your wellbeing. Before we can achieve positive changes in any area of our lives, we must choose to do so.

Conscious decision-making is key to experiencing the positive impact of good choices. Every day, often numerous times a day, you exercise the power of choice. This sacred gift was given to us at the time of creation. Genesis 2:16-17 - And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

God has made you the steward of your body. We need to use it wisely. It’s one thing to have freedom of choice; it’s another to know what to do with that freedom.

So what is meant by the word “choice?” In the broadest sense, it means the option or ability to evaluate various courses of action and to select among them. So how important are the choices I make? It depends on the freedom of choice I make. For example, the colour of the clothes I like to wear to work, birthday, party, special events or to church. What shoes I want to wear to match my outfit. Which kind of school I want to go to for a better education.

What about lifestyle choices? When it comes to physical health, then our decisions really do make a difference. You can participate in your own healing, be part of the process of restoration. Choice is the ability to exercise the power of our will. Everything we do is the result of making a choice. We often do things unconsciously, but we cannot avoid making choices. Even the choice to do nothing is still a choice.

Choice is hardwired right into our brains. The frontal lobe gives us the ability to choose. It makes up 3.5 per cent of the brain in a cat, 7 per cent in dogs, 17 per cent in chimps, and between 33 per cent and 38 per cent in humans.

The frontal lobe is where our judgment, reasoning, social norms, and long-term planning take place, all of which contribute to making healthy, life-giving choices.

Human reasoning and planning capabilities are more powerful and complex than those of other species, which allows for variable relationships in our decision-making. It is no wonder King David made this statement in Ps 139:13-14 - “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

It is important that our decisions remain consistent with our will, our beliefs, and our goals. The gift of choice comes with responsibility.

The letter R stands for “Rest.” Any system of the human body that is overworked or excessively stressed without appropriate rest will soon fatigue.

Fatigue limits the ability of our brain to think clearly. People experiencing fatigue are more likely to express negative attitudes, and are more prone to anger and depression. Rest is incredibly powerful. It refreshes, rejuvenates, regenerates and rebuilds the mind, body and soul. Rest empowers you to function at your best. Optimally, rest includes a good night’s sleep as well as time to relax and rejuvenate daily, weekly and annually.

The true benefits of rest are misunderstood and often unappreciated. The stress and pressures of life can accumulate over time and can create a generalised “dis-ease” with life. Proper rest is a powerful antidote for this common problem. Because our society revolves around its own concepts of “success”, many people have become pressed by work and their personal desires to achieve that “success.”

The day is filled with many important and seemingly urgent responsibilities, so rest is easily dropped to the bottom of the list. Our society seeks to cram more and more into each 24-hour day. When we sit down to relax we have a number of TV stations that compete for our attention. Night times are not much better. Many people suffer from sleep deprivation which interferes with their performance levels.

Did you know that stress is the number one cause of poor sleep? Yet, many do not realise how much more effectively and efficiently their minds, bodies and souls would function, and how much more likely they would reach their goals of “success” if they gave themselves the right kind of rest, at the right time. It is essential to balance work and rest.

Rest can come in many forms, through sleep, relaxation, prayer, worship and even through relationships. This is what the gospel of Matthew 11:28, 29,30 says about it: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The third letter is E and it stands for “Environment.” The environment has a significant impact on our health. Take a moment to think about your personal environment, both in the home and at your workplace. Do you want it to be cheerful and happy and does your environment recharge your spirit and nurture your soul? Do they provide comfort?

Environment is the external space outside of us. I used to live in Australia some years ago. The surrounding environment is far different to our environment. A lot of houses, a few trees and if you want to be among nature, you sometimes have to travel long distances to get there. The air is different as well. I often used to get sick due to the environment I lived in. Although I like the natural environment in Australia, health-wise it was not the same.

When I returned to the Cook Islands from Australia eight years ago, my mind, soul and body reacted positively. I felt a connection to our environment as spiritually, physically, mentally and socially healthy. Sometimes there can be something about your environment that can either help you to good health or lead you into an unhealthy situation.

If you are living in an unclean and unsafe environment your body system reacts differently. You don’t feel, happy, you get frustrated and moody, you become negative. If you live in a clean and safe environment you respond positively.

The Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York has conducted research which highlights why it is essential to pay attention to anything at home or work that might be affect your health because although you might not be able to make the connection, your body can. Genesis 1: 26-30 - the environment was given for mankind to manage. Therefore, take care of the environment around your surroundings as they will bring good health.

The fourth letter, “A” stands for “Activity.” Activity includes both mental and physical movement and development. The mind and the body are intimately connected. A fit mind promotes a fit body, and a fit body promotes a fit mind. In other words, you will get the best performance from your mind when you regularly exercise your body, and you will get more from your body when you regularly exercise your mind.

Activity means finding every muscle you can use. God made all of those muscles for a reason. Activity is central to living God’s prescription for a full healthy life. Activity strengthens the body to fight disease. It helps the body battle stress, anxiety and depression. It enables you to sleep better and feel better. Planning positive mental activity allows one to embrace and enjoy opportunities to learn. It helps keep one open-minded and accepting of others, as opposed to being closed and judgmental. It helps one show respect and curiosity for others ideas without feeling a need to conform. It also provides confidence when confronted with unfamiliar situations, facts and figures.

Activity is a powerful way to grow, feel great, keep healthy and thrive! Take time today to exercise your brain through positive mental activity and help it to thrive by eating healthy food. Here is a thought I learn from a health seminar. Sugar is your sweetest enemy. Sitting down is your biggest enemy. Last of all remember that choosing to go above the minimum recommendations will richly repay you. Physical activity definitely helps you be fit for life! Choose today to get your healthy mix of rest and motion.

The fifth letter is T stands for “Trust.” Proverbs chapter 3:5,6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your path.”

So T stands for trusting in God. When we come to Him just as we are, He works to transform us and to re-create us into His image. If we realise that God loves us despite our flaws, and that His will can lead to our joy and fulfillment, then we can begin to trust Him. It is only when trusting Him that we receive the power to be transformed by His love and grace.

A trusting relationship with the Creator empowers every aspect of our lives and enables us to achieve the fullness of Creation Health. Trust in God also speaks to the important relationship between spirituality and healing. Our faith, beliefs and hopes affect our health. Faith is an essential of healing as well as vital aspect of wholeness. It can keep us strong even when physically we are at our weakest. A study of 560 households has revealed the following: people who pray are happier, more satisfied enjoy a deeper sense of well-being about the direction their lives are headed. Georgetown University Medical School professor Dale Matthews and his colleagues have shown that religious involvement helps people avoid illness, recover from it more quickly, and, most remarkably, live longer. 

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