In the Summer of 2010, I was hired to join the staff of World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia, as a personal trainer. World Changers is a growing congregation with over 50,000 members, spread out over 22 locations. The senior pastor, Dr. Creflo Dollar, has emphasized physical and spiritual fitness throughout his ministry. The church has an exercise facility, basketball gymnasium, and a full-service kitchen on the main campus for staff and members of the church to use. Dr. Dollar never shies away from urging believers to pay attention to their hearts’ spiritual and physical needs. He does this not just in word, but also in deed. Exercising five days a week, taking his trainer on the road with him, and eating organic meals prepared by his personal chef are just a few ways he keeps his body in balance with the demands of being a pastor. However, what I’ve seen amongst my own church and the church in general, is that many don’t see that the physical struggles people have has spiritual roots.
The physical struggles people have has spiritual roots.
Dr. Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas writes:
Satan not only wants to suffocate your spiritual heart; he will do whatever he can to take away your physical heart. Jesus labeled the devil a “murderer” (John 8:44). Satan is out to cause your physical death if he possibly can. Why does Satan want you physically dead? Because it would bring an abrupt end to your loving care for others, and the whole purpose to which God has called you. With you out of the way, he has eliminated a key person God wants to use to touch your family members, your neighbors, your friends, and others in your circle of influence.
Dr. Young goes on:
How can [Satan] get rid of you? Well, he knows you’re too smart to fall for the temptation to jump off a bridge, throw yourself in front of a speeding train, or drink a bottle of cyanide…Remember: he’s a con artist. He wants to trick you into doing his bidding, to cause you to think it’s not too bad. So he just might suggest more acceptable behavior that could eventually gain him the same result, behaviors that will negatively affect your health.
How is Satan trying to attack you? Food is the one area Believers fail to see the tricks of the enemy at work. Maybe you’ve eaten one too many meal deals from Popeye’s Chicken without any corresponding exercise and you suffer a stroke or a heart attack. The devil doesn’t care what brings your ministry to an end, he just wants it to end!
Dr. Kenneth Cooper has noted that one reason so many people fail to take care of their bodies is that most people have a relatively weak belief in the need for good eating. I hear it from clients all the time. They know they should eat better but don’t think eating unhealthy foods is a big deal because nothing has happened to them yet.
Weak commitment in anything comes from weak belief.
What if exercise and discipline in eating is less about physical health and more about honoring the God who made us?
One thing that became apparent during my time on staff at World Changers is that the Body of Christ has never understood that their eating habits should reflect their deepest beliefs about life. The right foods can transform you into the energetic healthy person God created you to be. How we treat our bodies is a question of stewardship even before it is a question of health, comfort, enjoyment or pleasure. If we are truly going to be useful to the Master in these last days, being healthier is a key component of effectiveness. You will be held accountable for how often you exercise and the amount and quality of calories you take in. You cannot assume you are physically invincible just because you are a Christian. There will be a price to pay for the mistreatment of your Temple.
If we are truly going to be useful to the Master in these last days, being healthier is a key component of effectiveness.
No matter what ministry God has called you to, you can’t serve people without taking care of yourself physically. Stop delaying your physical breakthrough. The motivation you need to live the long and strong life has for you, starts today!