During this global pandemic it is imperative that we take care of ourselves. This care goes beyond the CDCs list of COVID-19 safety practices (washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, wearing a mask in public, disinfecting surfaces, and social distancing). We have a responsibility given to us by Yah to take impeccable care of ourselves; this includes our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19
This scripture reminds us that we do not belong to ourselves. We are the “landlords” of our temples and they belong to the Most High. He paid a high price for us; He bankrupted Heaven on our behalf. So we should strive to honor him by prioritizing taking care of what he gave to us.
The Bible tells us we have an inherent right to wellness and within its pages are a precise system to obtain and sustain good health.
“For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.” Jeremiah 30:17
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2
Science has identified these biblical principles as the key to fighting off disease and staying healthy:
Leviticus 11 outlines the foods that are good for our consumption. These along with grain, fruit, and vegetables is what Yah deemed good for his people to eat while here on earth. Science has shown that our bodies are built to thrive on whole unprocessed foods, but that the standard American diet is made up of processed food, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Most of our eating habits and food choices within the African American community can be traced back to slavery; and is a byproduct of the curse. These dietary habits have been directly linked to our poor health. If we believe that the 400 year curse has been broken why do we still choose the ways of our acursed forefathers?
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” Genesis 15:13-14
We must focus on moving from a diet heavy in processed food and sugar to one that is based on whole foods and water. Water is essential to life and healthy diet. Good nutrition is the foundation needed to benefit from doing other healthy things like exercise, taking vitamins and supplements, and getting sufficient sleep. It is the beginning to living well.
Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician who is traditionally regarded as the father of western medicine, said “All disease begins in the gut.” Almost 2400 years later this statement stands true. We now know that 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut and G.I. tract. That means the same system that handles our food handles our health and we can improve or destroy our immune system with what we eat.
Grow Your Own:
A healthy plate according to nutritionist contains mostly vegetables, moderate protein, and moderate grains. A great way to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in to your is by growing your own. As the pandemic continues it will become harder and harder to maintain a healthy diet. Famine, store closings, and economic collapse will make popping into the store for what you need impossible. It doesn’t matter if you live on an acre or in an apartment you can grow something. Growing your own food helps you stay active and save money. With the included benefit of eating food free from harmful pesticides and contaminates. Growing your own food also creates a commodity that can be used in the future for trade or bartering. Whether it's an entire vegetable garden or a few herbs on a window sill. The blessing of planting and harvesting was given to our forefathers before the curse.
“Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.” Deuteronomy 28:3-4
I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity while seeds and starter plants can still be found.
There are hundreds of scriptures regarding fasting. The Bible shows us the basic principle of fasting; it presents to us a denying of the flesh in order to confirm (or sure-up) the spirit. In Matthew 6:16 Jesus says “When you fast…” implying that fasting will be a practice in His followers lives. When we fast it gives The Holy Spirit the opportunity to be in driver’s seat.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14
In the book of Luke it was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness and that same spirit will lead us in our Exodus. We live in excess and fasting is a way to shake off that excess. During this time of social-distancing and sheltering in place it is easy to slip into excess. Excess snacking, scrolling social media, vegging out on Netflix, even binge watching the COVID-19 crisis unfold on the news. We let these things consume us and before we know it hours have gone by without us giving any thought to the Spirit that dwells in us and desires to lead us.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 corinthians 6:12
Science has proven the benefits of fasting or digestive rest. Our digestive system is hard-working, it requires a high amounts of energy; in fact, the digestive system can even drain energy needed for healing, repair and general maintenance of the body. Therefore it makes sense to give it a break once in awhile.
Take time to fast with your family whether from food, tv, social media, or electronics. When we take control of our fleshly desires then our spirit can be satisfied.
The wellness industry has proven that as little as 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can improve your health. In this instance exercise is defined as movement or activities outside of your normal day-to-day routine. This can include things as simple as a brisk walk, mowing the lawn, gardening, washing your car by hand, or carpentry. A total of 30 minutes a day of these activities reduces your risk of chronic disease and strengthens your immune system. The Bible shows us the importance of staying physically active:
“By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” Ecclesiastes 10:18
While it may be tempting to take up permanent residence on your couch during this shelter in place; movement is essential. You don’t have to sign up for a virtual 5k today to get started, where exercise is involved incremental change is key. You can start off small, five minutes a day, even just parking a little further from the door on your weekly grocery store trip will move you in the right direction.
The last component of maintaining wellness during this pandemic is managing stress and getting enough rest.
“This is an unprecedented public health challenge”, “amid troubling times”, “We are fighting an invisible enemy” we’ve heard this jargon more times than we can count in the last 90 days and at this phase of the COVID-19 crisis most of us know someone who has been effected by the virus. We’ve wondered about our elderly family members we can’t visit, the security of our jobs and sources of income. Become baffled by the common-core math we must now teach our children, we’ve heard the news mention the civil unrest regarding re-opening the country, and we’ve seen the political circus, racial injustice, and economic disparity regarding medical care, and distribution of needed supplies. If we allow ourselves to focus on the pandemic from the world’s view and their agenda it is inevitable we will be consumed by stress. All stress is not bad stress, but all stress can be controlled. When the brain senses a consistent external stress signal and it signals the body’s fight or flight responses, this response sends the body into protection or life saving mode shutting down other operations like burning fat or healing damaged cells, in order to sustain us. Unfortunately the stress signal doesn’t specify the source of external stress. The brain has no way to tell the hormones that control our stress responses ; that we’re just worked up over explaining long-division and not being held at gun point. It is our responsibility to manage our emotions.
What does the Bible say about stress?
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:31-33
We must remember that we have been equipped with the knowledge of the time and season we are living in. We have been blessed to have had time to prepare for things that are to come.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:7
Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This transformation of the mind is the key to managing stress. It takes daily concerted effort to bring our thoughts under subjection and in alignment with the plan of God.
Most of the time when we hear the word rest we think sleep, and while quality sleep is important to good health I want you to also consider the spiritual side to rest.
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3
Honor the Sabbath within your homes create a routine of rest for the sabbath. We should step away for our everyday habits to honor God in a spirit of rest. When our spirit is at rest we don’t trouble God with our worldly requests, we don’t push against his will or plan with our limited view and lofty desires, we don’t trouble our hearts and minds regarding earthly things that are finite. We move into a place of peace where our attention and focus are on bringing glory to our omnipotent king.
From this perspective, probably few of us have truly had good rest. Rest is a practice. Hebrews 4 tells us that our unbelief can prevent us from entering into His rest. It no longer falls on our pastors to charge up our belief battery we must be responsible and re-anchor ourselves in what we believe.
We are heirs to the crown and will have a responsibility to a Kingdom. I encourage you to be a good “property manager” of the your temple. Seek to create a healthy home for the Holy Spirit to reside in.