Rejecting Cultural Christianity

 

Response to Charisma Magazine’s 3 Elements You Must Have to Get Physically Healthy

The primary issue in all of life is spiritual. Changing diet, exercising, listening to doctors, even praying can all be spinning wheels if at the core of our existence we are out of alignment with the will and purpose of our creator.

The author, Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley, asserts that God wants us well, “lifestyle makes a difference”, medical care is not perfect, and not all sickness is our fault. This thinking may be illustrated this way. If I don’t feel well, I then should ask myself if I’ve cared for my body the way I should? In other words, am I responsible for my condition or is it simply a result of living in a broken world? Also, I should pray about it.

How is that kind of thinking any different from the sincere thoughts of someone who does not know Christ. It seems that this whole thought process makes prayer an addendum rather than the life connection with God through Christ that prayer can and should be.

The author confronts a compartmentalization approach to life in the examples she gives, while presenting an approach to health and well-being that falls into the same trap. We must not compartmentalize Christ and His well-message. This article begs the question, “Who is the master of our life?” Is it us or is it our creator through the Lordship of Christ?

The fact is that the well-message of Christ must reorient every aspect of life. Our goal is to live in the relationship with God that existed before the sin of Adam. The return to this condition is called in Hebrew teshuvah, from here on out referred to as Return. It is returning to God in such a way that past sin is transformed into merit, how true growth occurs.

Let’s contrast the experience of teshuvah with living without it in the area of physical fitness. Many people at the beginning of a new year resolve to exercise regularly but quit only after a short time. Why is that? Seeking the answer to that question can lead down many rabbit holes. Did they expect too much of themselves too soon? Did they perceive too many barriers to overcome? Did poor eating habits undermine their exercise goals? Or was the problem something else out of an even longer list of possibilities? The missing factor is the power of God, what the apostle Paul calls the message of the cross.

Another person begins exercising and continues, making fitness a part of his or her daily life, not only by running or weightlifting, but also by adjusting their eating habits to support their healthy lifestyle. From the Lord leading her to read the book Born to Run, she chooses a running shoe that respects running biometrics so she can avoid ankle injuries that have derailed her running attempts in the past.

The difference between the first example and the second example illustrates a life with self on the throne contrasted with a life with Christ at its center, a life of self-motivation compared to a life lived in Return.

The reason why the New Jerusalem needs no sun is because Christ Himself is the light. As the sun is the center of this present solar system, making Christ anything less than the center of our life robs Him of His rightful place and of necessity sets up an idol in His place.

There is no formula for wellbeing apart from abiding in Christ and His well-message. Living by formulas means living by principles of the world instead of by Christ. We are called not to think like the world but to be transformed by the power of the well-message of Jesus through the cross of Christ experienced in Return.

Thinking that applying three principles to life ignores the key factor in the physically healthy equation. The real question that must be addressed asks who truly is in charge of our lives? Is it us or is it the Lord Jesus.

The article points to the application of wellness, medicine, and prayer for being alive in every way. What Christian would disagree with those great ideas? The problem is with the flawed perspective behind the article.

The article ignores present realities of the need for all believers in Christ to interpret struggles as opportunities to know Him more, to experience His way of achieving victory. This involves hearing what the Spirit of God is saying and obeying the leading of Jesus.

A woman who does not care for her body and therefore experiences health complications because of neglect, I would argue, is missing a fundamental part of her relationship with God. She (as all of us must) should be listening to what Jesus is saying to her about her health management and follow Him as He leads. Weakness is opportunity to grow and overcome by the grace of God.

Having perfect health through supplements and achieving the perfect body through physical fitness is like knowing all mysteries without having love. We have nothing if Christ is not the center. In other words, prayer, or our abiding in Christ sets us free to follow Him and honor Him in whatever way He leads in every area of life including our general health.

The key to approaching this and all topics is through a changed paradigm through the reign of Christ. For instance, God shall redeem our bodies into His glory and reward us based on our obedience to His word to us. All things, what we eat and what we drink, should all be done under Christ’s lordship. Nothing exists for eternity except that which is born of God.

Doctor’s appointments, medical advice, and nutritional choices must be made under the Lord’s direction as the Great Physician. We are the Lord’s witnesses in all things and to all people, to whom the Lord leads us. We are Christ’s witnesses in all of life as we hear the voice of Jesus and obey Him.

Being awake and obedient to the voice of Jesus in all areas must be the underlying perspective of all we do as faithful believers in Jesus Christ. We as Christians must decide how God wants us to live through the grace of His Son Jesus Christ to be His redemptive influence in the world.

It should not be assumed in the Christian reader of Charisma magazine walks in victory. As a matter of fact it must rather be assumed that readers have yet to experience that crossing the line from defeatism and complacency, from will worship and immaturity to the maturity that accompanies total submission to the word of Christ’s victory over every tribulation in the world.

Being physically fit must be part of obedience to Christ not our making our bodies healthy because it is simply the good or right thing to do.

Choosing to realize that achieving victory through the grace of Jesus and His word over all obstacles that we face is essential for health and wellbeing.

The values of wellness, medicine, and prayer are not created equal. The core of any life is its connection to the creator, which is only possible through Jesus Christ. This alignment must be in place in order for the rest of the pieces of life to fit cohesively. This is the meaning of the well-message of Christ, most often referred to as the Good News.

Follow a healthy regiment of exercise and nutritional supplements without listening to the voice of Christ in the midst of those decisions is still off the mark. Did we forget that the sin of Adam was putting himself in the position of knowing best, to be like God? Take, for instance, a great example of an older man who learned to manage his health and build muscle mass in contradiction to the conventional beliefs of the medical profession. While the experience and teachings of Dr. Life can be valuable, even all that he says must be put in its rightful place in the light of the Lordship of Christ who leads. Each one of us is called to live in our personal relationship with Christ and not to follow any one or any teaching in any area of life outside of Christ’s reign.

Wellness, as described by the author is all we can do on our own to take car of our body, but Scripture says all we can do apart from Christ amounts to nothing. Each of us is called to bear good fruit, and we cannot do that in our own strength. Jesus said we can only bear fruit as we abide in Him for apart from Him we can do nothing.

About the doctor’s advice about owning the responsibility for our health, the issue is really making the whole of our lives accountable to God and admitting we need His power to overcome whatever it is that is keeping us from experiencing God’s best. We are not our own doctor, so we need Christ’s word. His prescription will meet our truest need, the need for a faithful heart of trust in God.

The author also suggests admitting we do not know it all along with the importance of learning from professionals. Again, the goal of the faithful is never to gain information to make us better, but rather to hear the voice of Christ beyond all the other voices out there. Listening and doing make us Christ’s disciples. His well-message equips us to fulfill the role God has for our lives.

The author encourages the reader to be willing to make tough changes, but isn’t it more accurate for those who are serving God with all their heart to be willing in all areas to do the Lord’s will whatever the cost?

Alignment with the will and purpose of God grants the perspective to see all struggles in light of God’s desire to reign in and through us in making us His faithful servants, to live as shining lights for His glory.

GOD'S MIGHTY STRENGTH

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Belt of Truth

Respect for the place God has given each of us in His plan, we live and speak the truth in love.

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Shield of Faith

Faith and trust, believing and trusting God, walking habitually with God through fellowship with His Son Jesus the Messiah.

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Sword of the Spirit

Although No one truly understand the ways of God, He knows the beginning through the end and He gives us grace to obey what He says.

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Helmet of Salvation

Central to a life lived obeying, Christ’s death and resurrection unites us to God and each other. His love and compassion extends to each person.

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Breastplate of Righteousness

Living clothed with Christ’s righteousness. God gives us His grace to do His will with integrity.

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Sandaled With the Message of Peace

Knowing in the deepest heart that all is only by grace, we offer peace with God through Christ alone, the message of well-being.

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Praying and Watching

Pray God’s word into every nation, every people. Be vigilant to persevere and petition. May the greatest revival sweep the earth for the glory of Christ.

Victory

Having Done Everything To Stand

By Christ, His people are victorious through the power of His Name. His blessings are made reality in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

What is Christian empowerment?