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This world is undeniably fast-paced. In our incessantly-connected technology-crazed culture, it is easy to work nonstop, become glued to our devices, and to multitask (even—unwisely—texting or applying makeup while driving).
Competitive Busyness could qualify as an Olympic sport. You ate dinner at the table with your family? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that luxury! You got eight hours of sleep? How quaint! You flossed your teeth? I remember the days when I had time to do that. No, I actually don’t because I’m. So. Busy.
It seems Americans love nothing more than to lament the fact that we don’t have time to do the things we love. Post a picture of yourself on vacation and you’ll get pounced on quicker than a lame gazelle in the Sahara Desert.
We seem to calculate our worth according to the number of meals we eat in the car, how many engagements we can pack into a day, or how few hours of sleep we get. We can fall into the trap of considering bustle to be brag-worthy and relaxation a luxury reserved for children and the elderly.
Of course working hard is praiseworthy (Colossians 3:23-24). But there is difference between a solid work ethic and constant busyness.
Even Jesus, who had the most important work of any person who ever lived, took time to rest and refresh Himself spiritually (Mark 6:30-32; Matt. 14:22-23).
Consider five good reasons we should avoid the trap of chronic overactivity:
- Living in a state of perpetual motion distracts us from God’s will. Just because our schedules are jam-packed doesn’t mean we’re engaging in the activities God desires for us. And sometimes being over-committed causes us to miss out on awesome opportunities because we are too busy or tired to notice them.
- Spreading ourselves too thin leads us to sacrifice quality. The more responsibilities we accumulate the less time and energy we can give to each activity. We cannot maintain the same level of performance if we continually add to our lives without letting go of anything.
- An overflowing calendar can be a sign of misplaced priorities. Matthew 6:21 reads, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I believe our time is the greatest treasure we possess. And time is a limited resource. Where and on what we choose to spend it speaks to what we most value.
- Overexertion can cause burnout. Humans are not wired to maintain a nonstop lifestyle. We need sleep and time to rejuvenate in order to perform at our highest level. God initiated the Sabbath for that purpose (Gen 2:3). If we make time for rest now, we avoid an inevitable burnout down the road.
- A strenuous agenda can foster pride. Being crazy busy is often viewed as a status symbol. It means we are sought after and indispensable. And that is usually how we want others to see us. Sometimes we don’t properly delegate or say no to activities because we want to be in charge. But Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
Perhaps the strains of an increasingly hectic lifestyle will force our generation to admit that a slower pace is something to be celebrated and admired, rather than a sign of weakness.
“In every other area of life Christians are supposed to strive for mastery over sin (anger, gossip, impurity etc.), but when it comes to health people tend to get annoyed at those who suggest eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast is probably not the wisest choice.”
A good friend made this observation recently and it got me thinking about how—despite the fact that gluttony is condemned in Scripture (Ezek. 16:49; Prov. 28:7; Prov. 23:21; 1 Cor. 9:27; Num. 11:32-34; Phil 3:19)—it continues to be among the most prevalent and least addressed sins in Western Christian circles today.
Gluttony can easily be brushed off as no big deal, especially compared to seemingly worse physical vices, such as smoking or sexual promiscuity. But the truth is, our spiritual life will not be as rich if we mistreat our bodies, and that includes being careless about the food we eat.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Paul realized that our physical health is connected to our spiritual health.
Below are several ways a balanced diet can enhance our walk with God:
Increases our capacity to obey God. Living a healthy lifestyle keeps us ready for whatever assignment God has for us. Someone may be a gifted and enthusiastic evangelist; but if he dies prematurely of a heart attack caused by obesity, countless people will never hear him share the Gospel. Or perhaps someone is a key member of an international mission team, but she is unable to handle the strenuous travel because she is not physically fit. If we want to be prepared to go where God calls us and do what He tells us, we need to treat our bodies well.
Promotes Discipline/Self-Control. Discipline is a virtue that must be learned and developed. Becoming disciplined with what we eat can overflow into better self-control in other areas of life as well, such as prayer, Bible reading, exercise, and service. And learning to say no to unhealthy food enhances the confidence and skills we need to say no to other types of temptations.
Presents a positive image to unbelievers. There are people watching Christians’ lives. The way we treat our bodies says a great deal about us. The world tends to obsess over physical beauty, and that’s not healthy, but Christians should understand that our appearance sends a message about what we believe. God created us with the capability of caring for the body He gave us. Maintaining a healthy body weight is part of a balanced, well-rounded life.
Food can become an idol. Idolatry is every bit as prevalent today as it was in biblical times. It can take the form of money, power, busyness, and even food! Paul wrote, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things” (Phil. 3:19). Whether we acknowledge it or not, overeating is a way of saying “my desires are more important that what God wants for me.”
Our bodies are gifts from God. Just as it is important to demonstrate good stewardship over the finances and abilities God has given us, we ought to take care of our bodies by keeping them healthy. Along with exercise, making wise decisions about what we eat is the best way to do that.