Lesson 12: Healthful Living
This week’s lesson was an important one as it champions health. I am not going to summarize what was said as I assume you have read it. For this reason, I will discuss something that was not explored. A few times through the lesson, the term “healthful” or “healthful living” was used. It was always used in the context of food which is appropriate but not sufficient. Healthful living is so much more than that.
Healthful living is definitely about what we eat, but it is also about being active. Getting exercise to strengthen our muscles, boost our immune system, and a host of other benefits. Exercise was not mentioned in the lesson and it is an oft forgotten aspect in our health message. In a day of e-mailing, text messaging, iPod listening, and TV watching, people are not as active as they once were. We have many vegetarian and even vegan Adventists who eat the right foods but don’t couple it with exercise. And some of them are just as overweight and unhealthy as the non-believing meat eating person.
Beyond exercise, we must look to the condition of our heart – spiritually. There are some “great” Adventists who live by the health principles but don’t know how to smile when they are at church. The do not know how to extend a helping hand to someone in need. They do not know how to look at someone without being judgmental. They create rifts in the church and walk around with a sense of pride and arrogance because they can quote the most from Mrs. White and they follow the health principles. My friend, this type of person may be worse off than all the rest!
Please do not misunderstand me. I believe the health principles laid out by Mrs. White are important. I have read many of her books and she is, by far, my favorite author and I believe that she was a prophetess. However, our folly as church is that we sometimes put health before love. We put Testimonies to the Church before The Holy Bible. We put Mrs. White before Christ. That is what we must be careful of. Mrs. White amplified what was said previously but she by no means overrode the things of God’s Holy Word. She repeated that time after time in her writings.
In Mark 7, the Pharisees brought a charge against Christ’s disciples because they did not wash their hands in a special way before eating. To the Pharisees, the disciples were unclean because their hands were unclean which made the food unclean which made them unclean. To this Christ said, “Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:18-23).
I must note that when Christ said “purifying all foods” He was not saying all foods are now clean for us to eat. If you look at the context, you will notice that He is saying that the body cleanses these foods by excreting it from our bodies. Essentially he is saying, “Even if my disciples don’t wash their hands in your special way, whatever dirt enters their bodies because they did not wash their hands will be excreted from the body. ‘Thus purifying all foods.’ But that which comes from a man’s heart is not excreted.”