Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8
I sat in my car after having just left yet another doctor’s appointment and announced out loud, “I hate doctors!” One more doctor who treated me with some level of impatience all the while acknowledging I needed surgery. But then I took a step back from my prideful emotions and realized this person – a man of flesh and blood – was gifted by God the ability to heal me. I didn’t need him as a friend, I need him as a healer. And I gave thanks for his able hands and depth of knowledge concerning my medical issue.
Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5:8
I was reminded of the scene by the healing pool when Jesus encountered the invalid who had been laying by the pool for 38 years. Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to be healed?” And then told him to get moving. And I realized how much I expect my doctors to be the tender, compassionate Jesus. But even Jesus himself was a no nonsense healer.
My own daughter is a doctor of physical therapy. She’s a pretty no nonsense kind of person. She’s also very good at her job. When her patients are done with treatments, or during the holidays, they shower her with loving, thoughtful gifts. It’s because, while she is good at listening to their needs, what they truly want is healing and she delivers.
I’ve had kind doctors, rude doctors, dismissive doctors, attentive ones. I have to admit that just about all of them have done what I needed them for – healing. Doing something for me that I could never do myself. So, while I may not like every doctor’s bedside manner, I can say a prayer while sitting in the “big chair” thanking God for their skill and for the healing that is to come. And I pray for me to have patience and kindness in between.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers
and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,
to offer your bodies as a living
sacrifice, holy and pleasing to
God—this is your true and
proper worship.Romans 12:1
A prayer to keep my body strong and dedicate it to serve God
Heavenly Father, I regularly make the commitment to keep my spiritual life active and strong. However, when I make choices about exercise or my diet, I rarely see that as part of my devotional life. My spirit, my soul and my body all belong to you. You ask us to be your warriors in the name of Christ. And warriors are strong spiritually, mentally and physically. Starting today, LORD, I recommit my entire body to you. When I am weak and want to forgo exercise or eat food I know just isn’t good for me I ask that your Holy Spirit remind me that I need to be strong to accomplish all that you have planned for me. I lift this up in your Son’s Holy Name, Amen.
I heard a pastor speaking the other day about our bodies being a “living sacrifice” and how so many of us Christians focus solely on the spirit part of our being. But there are three key parts that make us, well us. Our spirit, our soul (emotions and mind), and our physical body. And when one is out of balance then we haven’t fully committed ourselves as a living sacrifice. We may be saved but some of us are downright miserable either because of what goes on in our heart and head or because we just don’t feel good about our bodies.
We make that New Year’s resolution to lose that famous 10 pounds. Which in reality is probably more like 15 or 20. But resolutions are only so good as our own personal commitment to ourselves. Recognizing that our bodies belong to God and He has a divine purpose for them is key to taking control over our physical health.
There’s a funny movie featuring Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep called, “Death Becomes Her.” In it the two women take an immortality potion. The two women have despised each other their entire lives and spend much of the movie trying to outdo each other. But prior to taking the potion they are warned to take care of their bodies. Once broken, their body remains damaged – but they continue to live forever. The famous scene in the movie is called the “shovel scene.” The two women get into a fight and begin bashing each other with all manner of devices including shovels. The destruction they cause to their bodies is hilarious. And they will be stuck that way for all eternity.
When we look into our mirrors, we should heed the same warning. This is the only body we have and we should take good care of it, not just for ourselves, but in God’s name and purpose. If we are not in our best fighting shape (no matter our God-given physical situation) then how can we expect God to give us every opportunity possible to serve Him?
My current Bible study group (My BSGs – Bible Study Girls) is made up of two women I met at the gym and another with whom I walk regularly. Now, lest you think the two from the gym were longtime friends I want to clarify. I started working out at this particular gym because my daughter was a physical therapist there. It was a different type of workout than I’d ever done. Their small classes are crossfit style, in addition to weight training. There’s not a lot of time to sit around and chit chat.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.Proverbs 31:17
I found that some people have the unique ability to actually talk to others while dying, I mean working out, on the rowing machine. It was during these times I discovered some of the Christians in the group. They were open with their faith journeys. So, when my walking buddy urged me to start a new Bible study, I prayed about who to invite. God urged me to ask some of the ladies I sort of knew from the gym. Two of them immediately said, “yes.”
Had I not stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the crossfit craze, had I not made a commitment to working out every weekday at 6:30a.m., I wouldn’t have met these amazing women. God used me and my body to serve His kingdom.
I’m currently working on losing a few pounds I gained during the lockdowns. But I have a renewed commitment, not to me, but to God. I want to be in the best physical shape I can be so that He opens more doors and places me where I can do His work. I know with this new understanding of my body being a living sacrifice and the help of His Holy Spirit I will be in fighting shape soon.
If you want this too, add the prayer to your daily prayer list and watch and see how God works in your life!