“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown….But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:25,27
The scripture above instructs to exercise self-control concerning one’s physical body. Moderation is the watchword. The reason for moderation is the physical body is the “vehicle” through which man “runs the race God has set before Him”. (Hebrews 12:1,2) That race is fulfilling the plan and purpose God has ordained for that individual’s life. (Ephesians 1:11; 2:10; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 John 2:28) If an individual’s physical body is not fit, that individual will have trouble fulfilling God’s purpose for his life. Having an unfit body could even result in premature death.
Another scripture also warns against sinning against one’s own body.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Man’s physical body was made for the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:13) so that he could fulfill God’s purpose for his life. Sexual immorality violates that purpose. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6) It also causes a loss of one’s inheritance (1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3,5), produces the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6) and His judgment (Hebrews 13:4). Diseases such as AIDS and other venereal diseases are a part of the judgment of God on sexual immorality. (Deuteronomy 28:15, 18, 21, 22, 27)
Sickness and disease entered the earth as a result of Adam’s sin. (Genesis 3:17,19; Romans 5:12) Sickness and disease are forms of physical death. Mankind was subjected to sickness and disease because of Adam’s sin. Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin at Calvary. The stripes that were laid on His back were for the healing of sicknesses diseases that entered the earth because of Adam’s sin. (Isaiah 50:6; 53:5; Matthew 27:26; John 19:1)
Sin on the part of an individual can open the door for sickness and disease to attack him.
“...‘If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.’” Exodus 15:25, 26
However, not every instance of sickness or disease is the direct result of sin in an individual’s life. (John 9:3) Apostle James gives the following instruction to Christians when they are sick:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14,15
The latter part of verse 15 emphasizes not all instances of sickness or disease on the part of an individual are the result of sin in that individual’s life. But if that is the case, Jesus’ sacrifice has already paid for it.
“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
A Word About Diet and Exercise
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink…” Colossians 2:16
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith…commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1a.3b
“But reject profane and old wives fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things…” 1 Timothy 4:7,8a
Much literature and advertisement advocates certain diets or exercise plans. A healthy diet and exercise plan is beneficial to the physical body. However, before making a major change in diet or exercise, consult your physician. All diets or exercise plans do not fit every individual’s health situation. A personal physician can prescribe a diet or exercise plan that is right for you.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Physicians are a gift from God and are available to assist in maintaining a healthy body. (Proverbs 11:14)