‘Prosper and Be in Health’
Do you take your health for granted? Are you like the majority of people who think that a poor diet, insufficient sleep and exercise or even substance abuse is nothing to worry about?
Smoking is a good example. Studies have conclusively proved that cigarettes are deadly. Yet more than 2,000 people become regular smokers every day, and the average smoker dies about 13 years earlier than the average nonsmoker. Smokers say that even though there are proven consequences of smoking, those consequences either will not catch up with them or are just insignificant. They reason this way not because it is true, but because they want it to be true.
Your choices do affect your health. And your health affects your entire life!
You might be surprised to find out that there is extensive instruction about health in your Bible. God’s Word will show you not only spiritual laws, but also health laws.
God created the human body to function according to biological laws. And in the Bible, He reveals the basic principles that will keep you healthy and living an active, interesting, fulfilling life.
Get out your Bible and discover what a foundational health resource it is! We suggest writing out these verses.
God’s Ways Produce Health
1. Is God really interested in your well-being? Will following His ways help you live longer? Deuteronomy 30:19; Jeremiah 21:8.
Several scriptures compare God’s commandments to life, and disobedience to those commands to death. God wants you to obey Him and live!
2. How much does God want you to be healthy? John 10:10; 3 John 2.
Christ advocated the abundant life! The Apostle John wished health and prosperity for God’s people “above all things”! The Bible emphasizes that God wants you to enjoy vibrant, healthful life!
3. Can heeding God actually help your health? Proverbs 3:7-8; 4:20-22.
The Moffatt version of the Bible translates Proverbs 3:8 thus: “That will mean health for your body and fresh life to your frame.” For example, sexually transmitted diseases spread specifically through intimate contact. The more promiscuous people are, the quicker these diseases spread. According to the American Journal of Medicine, more than half of all people will have an std at some point in their life. Yet if all people heeded God’s command to flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18), and later married (Genesis 2:24) and practiced His way of lifelong, faithful monogamy, it is an undeniable fact that stds would be completely wiped out!
Read Proverbs 3 and 4, and see all the life- and health-producing benefits of living God’s way: long life, strength, wealth, happiness, a good reputation, good favor, friends, wisdom, charm, peace, safety, glory, honor! God’s ways produce health!
God’s Way Produces Healthy Emotions
The Bible draws a strong connection between your mental health and your physical health.
1. How does being cheerful affect your health? Proverbs 17:22. What about being downcast and depressed? Same verse.
Negative thoughts and emotions weaken your immune system and heighten your odds for sickness.
“Everything from colds to cancer has been attributed to mentally induced stress. And in between in seriousness are such maladies as arthritis, asthma, fatigue, hay fever, headaches, high cholesterol, heart attacks and circulatory disorders, hypertension, hives, insomnia and ulcers” (Good News, May 1984).
Conversely, positive thoughts and emotions can strengthen your immunity and dramatically improve your health—documented biological facts that were first revealed in the Bible!
2. Can words affect how you feel? Can positive conversation actually improve your health? Proverbs 16:24; 12:18, 25.
3. Does the difference between a peaceful, tranquil mind and an unsatisfied mind make a difference in your health? Proverbs 14:30; 13:12.
“Sound heart” simply means “a mind at ease” that is not constantly worried. The Apostle Paul set a great example of being content with what he had (Philippians 4:11-13). Dissatisfied, envious thoughts are actually bad for your health!
4. How can you maintain a happy, peaceful, hope-filled mind? Philippians 4:4, 8.
The world can be very negative. People focus on bad news and nasty rumors. Depression is common. Such deadly attitudes can ruin your health. The bottom line is, the more you maintain a good outlook, the more uplifting and positive your life is, the healthier you will be.
God’s Health Laws
Because God designed and crafted the human body, He is the real authority in the fields of nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and treating disease.
1. Does God intend humans to eat meat? Did Jesus Christ eat meat? Luke 24:41-42; John 21:9-13. Did God tell the ancient Israelites they could eat meat? Leviticus 11:1-3, 9. Did God forbid using some animals as food? Verses 4-8, 10, 13-19. What other laws concern using animals for food? Leviticus 3:17; 7:23, 26.
God designed some types of animals to be eaten and others not to be. Some doctors believe these dietary prohibitions would have decreased instances of disease among the Israelites. The bans on fat and blood are recognized as valuable health practices today. Animal fat is high in cholesterol and can contribute to heart disease. God actually tells us we should cut it off of the meat we eat. He also specifies that blood should not be consumed. (For more information, request our free reprint “Is All Animal Flesh Good for Food?”)
2. What does God say about cleanliness and hygiene?
Until a couple centuries ago, people generally had very low standards of hygiene, even in developed areas. Waste, not properly disposed of, lay in the open, and diseases bred commonly and quickly. Yet millennia before the squalor of modern Southeast Asia or industrial Britain, God gave ancient Israel laws regarding cleanliness, washings and purification that protected the people from many of the ailments that still breed in modern First World countries (see Deuteronomy 23:12-13; Leviticus 15:2-5).
For instance, God instructed the sick to isolate themselves (Numbers 5:2). If followed, this practice of quarantine would have halted the terrible spread of such diseases as bubonic plague in the 14th century, which killed one of every three Europeans! God’s Church practices quarantine today, even with illnesses like colds and influenza. Those who are sick simply stay home until they are not contagious, and their sickness doesn’t spread to others.
“In the Bible greater stress was placed upon prevention of disease than was given to the treatment of bodily ailments, and in this no race of people, before or since, has left us such a wealth of laws relative to hygiene and sanitation as the Hebrews. [T]he rules to protect health [as stated in Leviticus] are superior to any which then existed in the world and to this day they have been little improved upon” (D. T. Atkinson, Magic, Myth and Medicine).
3. What does God say about the quantities we eat and drink? Proverbs 25:16, 27; 23:21, 29-30; Philippians 4:5.
Many scriptures warn against eating and drinking too much. You actually wear your body out when you habitually force it to process too much. This causes obesity or other health problems. Daniel 1 records the detail that the Prophet Daniel avoided the rich (and probably unclean) foods of the king of Babylon, preferring a simple, healthy diet. Control what goes into your mouth and exercise restraint. As the saying goes, eat to live—don’t live to eat.
God’s Contingency Plan
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fall sick or we get injured. But even when we break these physical laws of health (or someone else does), God wants to restore us to health! He reveals a contingency plan so that, even when we have made a mistake and we are paying the consequences—we can even then “prosper and be in health.”
1. Can God heal? Did God promise the ancient Israelites health and healing if they obeyed Him? Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 7:15.
In the original Hebrew, the phrase “I am the Lord that healeth thee” in Exodus 15:26 shows that one of God’s names is “God-Healer”!
2. Did God miraculously heal through Jesus Christ? Matthew 4:23-24; 15:30. Did He miraculously heal through the apostles, even after Christ was resurrected? Acts 5:12-16. Does God give instructions for seeking healing today? James 5:14-15.
God’s Church follows Christ’s example and instruction. God’s ministers are often asked to anoint and pray for the sick, and God still works miraculous healings—yes, even all the way up to 2016! If you want a full understanding of the biblical teaching on healing, request a free copy of The Plain Truth About Healing by Herbert W. Armstrong.
3. Does God promise healing and vigorous health in His future Kingdom? Jeremiah 30:17; 33:6; Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:2.
God earnestly wants to see you thrive and live a life of full, richly abundant health and happiness. In His Kingdom, the knowledge of that way of life will cover the Earth! And yet, even today, you can apply that same knowledge and experience those wonderful blessings. Live God’s ways, and preserve your health so you can live abundantly!