Charles Stanley - A Healthy Body
We oftentimes overlook a very key factor in helping us reach our potential in life. And so oftentimes we are very strong in our desires to sharpen our skills and our abilities and our talents and our gifts. And we'll do most anything to, in fact we'll overturn every stone possible to help us to overcome any opposition that we think will help us to get where we need to be in life. We ignore criticism, we build relationships around us that we believe will help us to overcome and achieve what God has for us. And sometimes when we think in terms of becoming what God wants us to be and achieving the things He wants us to achieve in life and reaching our potential that we're always thinking about out yonder in the future than in the ultimate. But the truth is that every single day of our life we have the challenge of reaching our potential for that day.
And so when we think about what makes it possible oftentimes we overlook one of those key factors. And we're in the series entitled "How to Reach Our Full Potential" and we've talked about "A Clean Heart". We've talked about "A Clear Mind," "A Balanced Schedule" and this morning I want to talk about "A Healthy Body".
Now, we can't reach our full potential unless we do take care of our bodies because our bodies are very important. And so I want you to turn to First Corinthians chapter six for a moment. I want us to read a passage here and I just want us to read this as a, as a jumping off place because I don't want to expound the passage except to say The Apostle Paul had been dealing with the Corinthians and they misinterpreted something he said, twice he said, for example, in the twelfth verse of that sixth chapter, He said, "All things are lawful for me". He said it twice here and he said it twice in the tenth chapter.
Well, as some of those Corinthian believers took that to say that they had all kinds of freedom. In other words, Paul said all things are lawful for me. He didn't say anything was. But He was speaking of a certain aspect of the Christian life and things that the law required and so forth. And so what they did is they decided that since they were free in Christ, they were free to have any kind of sexual relationships they wanted in life. And so what He's writing about here is to clarify that. And so he comes down to the last couple of verses and he says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body".
And so he ends the passage that way and I simply wanna emphasize those last two verses when he says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and he says it's not your own and it never will be. That is, our bodies have not been our own and they're not our own today and they never will be our own. We're His possession created by Him and as He says to bring Him glory and honor. So when we think about this whole idea of reaching our potential and the importance of our body, oftentimes we're interested in other things and we think other things, education, skills, talents, abilities and gifts and opportunities and all the rest is so very important. But the truth is, if we don't remain healthy then we cannot reach our potential.
And so with that in mind I want us to think about that as the theme of this message today. And I think about how often we see people indulging their lives in situations and circumstances and then they wonder why they feel the way they feel or they wonder why they can't reach their potential, wonder why they don't have their motivation and oftentimes are willing to be satisfied where they are in life and then blame it on the way they feel. Well you can't always control your feelings and we've said enough about that. That we don't live by feelings, we live by our faith and our trust in God because He will enable us to achieve and accomplish whatever His will is. But we do have a responsibility when it comes to our part.
We've said God's responsibility of course is to give us the skills and abilities and talents. It is His responsibility to give us a sense of direction in our life. We said we wanna line our life up with God's will for in His purpose in our life, that's what we're living for. Our body, He says, is to bring Him glory and honor. So that's could be our desire and God's gonna do His part but we have a part that we have to do and one of those areas we said is a clean heart to keep our life pure. We said a clear mind to be able to think the way God thinks which He has made it possible for us to do. And certainly keep our, our schedule balanced so that there's time for God and seeking direction for our life. But also there is this whole circumstance and situation of our own physical bodies. We have responsibility.
So, with that in mind, I wanna say first of all that God's plan for enabling us to reach our potential certainly and of necessity involves our body. And I think the greatest affirmation of that is the Incarnation. The Incarnation is the fact that God became man, walked among us, lived as a man among us and assumed a human body. And a human body that could hurt and feel pain just like ours can hurt and feel pain. And so probably when you think about the human body, the greatest affirmation of its value is the fact that God took upon Himself a human body just like any other man's except without sin and lived among us. He walked among us. He knelt and prayed. He reached out with His hands. He was with His disciples and many of the things that they were doing. He held children. He touched people.
That is the hand of Jesus was like an extension of God's awesome love. Wherever He was, He was ministering, pouring out His life, walking among men as a man in a physical body. Which ought to say something to us about it. Because if you'll think about this. That holy, perfect, sinless, pure God was willing to place Himself in a human body and walk among man to realize and to help us to understand what God is all about, in a human body. And He said, "These bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit". Somebody says. "Well, but suppose a person's not a Christian. Is that still the temple of the Holy Spirit"?
Well, let me ask you a question. If you didn't show up this morning would this still be a church building? It sure would. It'd be empty but it'd be a church building. Every single human body God created to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. That is that He would indwell that person. That in itself as I think about it should say something to us about the sacredness of the human body. And we can talk about a lot of things about how people treat their bodies but think about it. God Himself placed Himself in a human body in order to reveal Himself to mankind. And as you think about that, you think about for example that as He lived and as He walked among men, He demonstrated to us the kind of life a person would live, but you know what? If He hadn't come in a human body how would we know?
You think about this. When people watch the way you live, and you live a godly life, they see Christ in your life. They get a glimpse of God that they would not get any other way. The human body is God's living, walking, visible temple of what He's like as He is expressed through us. And if you'll think about it that when God created Adam, He created him with awesome potential. So when you look at the life of Jesus and we've said it before, He lived His life out, the full potential of His life of what? Becoming, He was the Son of God. He became the Savior of the world and He lived it out in a human body. In those thirty-some years that He lived on earth we saw and we see as we read, here is God walking among men in a human body. Well, when He created Adam, how did He created him? He created him with a full potential of what he was to do.
Now think about what he was to do. Go back to Genesis chapter one for a moment and notice what he said to him. He created Adam with his full potential. That is, here's what he could do. Jesus came with a full potential and lived it out every single moment of it. Listen to what He said to Adam. Creating the first man He said, verse twenty-six, "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness," and then here's what He said to them, "let them rule over the fish of the sea over the birds of the sky over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" Verse twenty-eight, "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea over the birds of the sky, over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"
That is, God gave Adam and mankind an awesome responsibility. He's given all of us a responsibility. And so when I think about the kind of potential that was wrapped up in Adam when He said, "Adam, this is your job. Your job, Eve's job, and the families that come after you, here's what you're to do". So that God has created every single one of us, knows our personality, knows what we are made of. He's given you, placed within you the potential of becoming everything He had as in mind. And so this is why we've said before, you can't look around you at somebody else and say, "Well, this is what they're doing, here's what I'm gonna do". No, the ask, the question is, what is it that God wants you to do in your life? How does He want you to fulfill His purpose, His will in your life at this time to this physical body that you and I have?
Now we said [url=http://|https://sermons.love/charles-stanley/15957-charles-stanley-a-clean-heart.html]a clean heart[/url], clear mind, a balanced schedule, but you also have to realize that, that a healthy body makes a great contribution to being able to reach your potential. And I think all of us have felt bad enough at times to know when we have felt that we could not do our best, were not able to do our best. Then we have been at our best at other times and so we recognize how very important is the body.
The body is very important when it comes to fulfilling our potential. Because if you don't feel like it or if you're sick or whatever it may be, have abused your body in some fashion, then you can't do it. And remember He said that He has given us these bodies to bring Him glory and honor. Living on the inside of these physical bodies, not only is it yourself, your personality, but indwelling these physical bodies is the Living God Himself as He says we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And so He has made us for Himself. And I keep emphasizing that for the simple reason that's why He's given you this awesome potential and because that potential is there, we ought to discover what it is and then be able to live it out to bring Him honor and glory in our life.
So, think about this, what he says in First Corinthians, that sixth chapter, we're His possession. That is, "our bodies belong to the Living God". Now if it belongs to God, I have to decide whether I'm gonna take care of it or I'm going to ignore it or abuse it. But it belongs to God. And I think none of us would walk in this place, no one would come in here and just deliberately and maliciously paint with red paint or black paint all over the place and just make it look like just a big mess. We wouldn't do that. Why? We respect it because of what it is. It is a place where God's people worship. Far more important than every single church building there is the human body indwelt by the Spirit of God. Because God doesn't necessarily dwell in this building. God dwells in the hearts of the people who indwell this building.
And so when we think about there's a difference between what is natural, nature, God, people who believe that well, you know, God is everywhere and God is in everything. Well everywhere and everything is in the presence of God, but God isn't in animals and trees and rocks like He is in the human heart. He doesn't dwell in buildings like He does the human heart. Your body, your soul, your spirit, you are the temple of the Living God. And therefore we have a responsibility to take care of these bodies. And so when you look at the fact that Jesus's body was the was the Living God walking among us. He gave Adam and Eve this awesome potential, the responsibility they have then He's given us the same.
What we have to ask is, will we cooperate with Him in such a way that He'll be able to bring Himself honor and glory through our lives and these bodies through which we live because this is who you are. In other words, whatever you are. And we could, all of us have a different body and all of us have a different personality. But the truth is God's chosen every single one of us as He says to bring Him honor and glory. We're His possession, created for His purpose, and He says, indwelt by Himself. Now, with that in mind, let's think about this. There is an undeniable relationship between our potential and fulfilling our potential and these bodies that we have. And when you think about it for example, that an unhealthy body prevents us from reaching our potential oftentimes.
So let me say two things at this point. Number one, there are people who have had, who have been sick for years and years and years who have an awesome potential to influence multitudes of people. So I'm not saying that it's always and every, every single case that if a person is sick or ill or has some kind of broken body that they can't reach a potential in their life. Some people can, and I'll give you a beautiful example of that.
There was a pastor who was a pastor, had been a pastor a long time before I ever met him and he would call me at least four or five times a week. He was confined to his bed, lived here in Atlanta, confined to his bed and he would call me and he would talk sorta 'bout like this is the most he could talk. Called me four or five times a week. Asked me what He, what I want him to pray for. Called me on Sunday morning oftentimes or Saturday evening and asked me what I was gonna preach about and asked me what he could pray about and how I was feeling and so forth and give him something specific to pray about.
Now here's a man and he'd been a pastor for years, confined to his bed. With his unwavering faith and his powerful intercession and his broken confined body, I would never say what kind of, what kind of potential this man had because you and I could not judge somebody else's potential. And so he's a perfect example of someone whose awesome faith and whose commitment to prayer and whose belief in God was so unwavering, in spite of what he had to suffer, that his potential was beyond my description. For the simple reason nobody knows the power of somebody else's prayers.
And I think probably when most of us, or most probably all of us get to Heaven, we're gonna look back one of these days, if you look back and see those things, that it's somebody's prayers out there that were the most powerful things that went on in your life and mine. And we say, for example, what's more powerful than a godly mother's prayer praying for her son or her daughter, her children? There's something about that's indescribable so we can't say that this person reaches their potential, that person does not. So we don't, we're not judging other people at that point. I'm saying there are certainly rare exceptions and there are exceptions where people in their confined broken bodies, probably may reach a potential they would not have if they would not if they were not broken and confined and gone through difficulty and hardship and pain in their lives.
Now, let's think about it for a moment and think about the whole idea of what affects these things. In other words, why is it, why is it that we allow our bodies to get in the position they're in, and oftentimes it starts very young in some people's lives, sometimes later. And the idea that we think that we can treat this body any old way we want to and somehow we're gonna make it, and we forget the fact that it's the temple of the Spirit of God. We don't belay, it doesn't belong to us, it's the possession of God. And I think we certainly need to teach our children that. Your body does not belong to you, it belongs to the Living God who created you. You do not have a right to drink alcohol. You do not have a right to put drugs in there. You do not have a right to destroy your physical body. It's not yours, it belongs to God. And you do not have the right to smoke. It's God's body. That's not your privilege.
Say, "Well, I have the privilege of doing anything I want to with my body". No you don't. The government may give you the right to do it. Your family may give you the right to do it, but God doesn't give you the right to do it. God doesn't give us the right to do anything that harms the human body to keep us from reaching our potential. And somewhere we have the idea that we have this freedom to do what we choose. And this is what Paul was talking about. He said, you know, He said the Corinthians were saying, "Well, you know we have freedom in Christ. We can do anything we want to". But the body doesn't belong to us, it belongs to the Living God. And when I think about that, here's what I have to think about. Anything now watch this. Anything that's an enemy to my body is an enemy to my potential.
For example, let's name 'em. If you're not guilty, you can relax. If you are, that's your problem. For example, alcohol is an enemy of the human body. No matter, somebody says, "Well, I just take a little sip". It's an enemy of the human body. It affects the brain and there's no doubt about it. It's interesting how we will get on tobacco. And I'm gonna get on that in a minute, but it's interesting how we get on that and nobody wants to mention alcohol. You know why? It's not a sacred cow, it's a very profitable cow. That's what it is. The whole thing is greed, money, and profit. And so what happens? And just this past week or so someone was telling me about the son who was arguing with his dad about drinking.
In fact, I heard it again last night, or yesterday, arguing with his son about drinking. And his father was telling him why he shouldn't even drink a beer, shouldn't have anything to drink like that. And in the refrigerator was a six-pack. Now, somebody says, "Well, I don't drink. I just have a beer". Well let me ask you, what does beer have in it? There is absolutely no question about its affect upon the brain, upon the liver, upon the heart, and many other things. Alcohol is an enemy of the human body. Tobacco is an enemy of the human body. It affects your lungs, it affects your lungs, affects your heart. All these things and people say, "I can do anything I want to my human body". You do not have that privilege.
Now if you don't care about what happens, you don't care about the fact it's a temple of God, you don't care about your potential, it doesn't make any difference, smoke and drink all you want to. All you're doing is destroying what does not belong to you. We just decide we're gonna fill our lungs with smoke, or some people do and say, "You know, this is my body; I have the right to do what I please". You do not have the right to do anything deliberately that damages the human body. You do not have that right. Drugs, for example, when I think about what's happened to this country and the whole issue of drugs, it's all greed and money. And yet, listen, regardless of that, the people who take the drugs are guilty. They're destroying their brain, their body.
Now whether it's drugs bought on the street or oftentimes drugs bought at the prescription. Overdoses of this that and the other. What you have to ask is this. If it's not good for my body, it is the enemy of the temple of the Living God. It is a sin against the Living God to defile the body. Now we think that defiling the body can be just sex. That's one way. But to defile the body with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, whatever it may be is to defile the temple of the Living God. It is the, it is an enemy, it is the enemy of God's body, not our body but God's body. Happens to have your name on yours, but it's an enemy.
Well, let's look at a few other things. It's getting real quiet in here at this point and I understand that. For example, tobacco industry spends six billion dollars a year on advertisement. Alcohol, two, over two billion dollars a year. And all, I'm thinking, seventy percent of the drama shows on television, you got alcohol, drugs, and tobacco in almost all of them. And the people who are the most successful, all the ones who are always doing all this. It's the big lie. And what we if you think about this. We are the most progressive nation in the world and we're one of the sickest. We spent two trillion dollars in two thousand and one on health. Two trillion dollars on health?
When I think about two trillion dollars I can get the gospel to every single person on the face of the earth, every single person on the face of the earth. Two trillion dollars. Because we have the idea that we can somehow abuse these bodies and it's okay. You think about the sexual sins, for example. AIDS and all the things that go on. Somebody says, "Well, I can do what I want to do with my body". No you can't. You do not have the privilege, you do not have the privilege of desecrating the body of the Living God. These bodies created by God for the purpose of God to fulfill the will of God, to bring glory and honor to God, period. Anything that's an enemy of the human body, listen, is a violation of the use of that body.
For example, what about stress? You say, "Well everybody has stress". That's right, little bit of stress or sometimes a whole lot of stress, but when it's on and on and on and on, what does it do? Affects the heart, affects the mind, affects many aspects of the body. And any doctor sitting in here knows that he could give you a list of the reactions in the human body of any one of these things we're talking about. And, for example, there are millions and millions and millions of people who live under stress, all kinds of stress. Some of it is stress they place on themselves because of the guilt they live under or the kinds of situations or circumstances. And what do they do? Instead of going to God they go to the pill bottle, or to something to drink or whatever it may be.
And oftentimes because of different situations and circumstances, one person goes to the God and the other person goes to the bottle. It doesn't make any difference, the issue is what am I doing with what doesn't belong to me? I don't have the right to do that, I don't have the privilege to do that. And you see if it were only unbelievers who were guilty, that'd be one thing. But Christians oftentimes are just as guilty. And somehow we have the idea that we can separate this body from the Living God. And you cannot because He indwells the body of every single believer. And therefore He has the right to tell us what we can do and what we can't do. I think about the diet for example.
Now I'm gonna be careful here. Obesity. Affects your heart, affects your liver, affects strokes, diabetes. Three hundred thousand people die a year just related to overeating, not just related to obesity. I know that some people have physical problems, but here's the issue is this. If it's there and there are thirty-three billion, listen, thirty-three billion dollars spent yearly on the whole issue of losing weight. Can you imagine that? Thirty-three billion dollars over losing weight. Thirty-three billion dollars a year. And every time I have a figure like that, I think, "How many people oughta get the gospel to for thirty-three billion dollars"?
Now somebody says, "You think about all these diets," and you've heard me mention this before. You go through the grocery store and there's always magazines on how to lose weight. If somebody had the ultimate, everybody claims, "This is it! This is it. How to lose weight. This is it". Well, next week there's another one out there and that's it. You know, the world has their way of a good diet, losing weight. You know what God's is? One simple word: discipline.
You say, "Well, it's not that easy". There are a lot of things in life that are not easy. I understand that. And all I'm saying is simply this and I hope you'll get angry enough that you'll do something about what you're hearing. 'Cause I don't wanna, I'm not asking you to accept what I'm saying, I'm simply say this. Your body belongs to God and we are responsible for what we put in it and how we deal with it. Whether it's overwork, stress, or whether it's what we eat, our diet, or whatever it might be. And then I think also a critical spirit. A person who has a critical attitude, a person who is negative about themselves for example.
Another thing they did, another research, over a period of they took people, six hundred people who between their fifties and their sixties and for twenty-three years they tested them. The people who began with a positive attitude about being healthy and having good health, at the end of that twenty-three years the people who had the proper attitude, positive attitude, lived seven and a half years longer than the people who did not, on the average. And so our attitude makes a difference. In other words, the, if you understand that your body is the temple of the Spirit of God and you belong to Him, and what you put in it and how you treat it makes a difference.
And some people abuse their bodies. And some people ignore their bodies. And some people take good care of their bodies. And you know what? Sometimes you take the best care you can, you still have problems but you know what? I think God certainly will honor when you and I honor the fact this belongs to Him. And it, and it's here to house Him. You see, the truth is our bodies are habitats. That is, we, we house the Living God along with our personalities. That's who we are, it's what we are. And what we have to ask is, how am I gonna treat it? 'Pends on what I think it is. 'Pends on who I think it belongs to and 'pends on what I think the purpose of it is.
The purpose of the human body is to house the personality and the Spirit of God who lives within us to bring honor and glory to God, to complete His purpose, fulfill His plan, His purpose in life. When I get that kind of a perspective on the human body, then I'm gonna say, "All right, what am I doing? Or is there anything that I'm doing here that would be a problem here"? And oftentimes there is. So you think about how you treat yours and I wouldn't tell you how to treat your body. I'm just simply saying I want you to get the point that you belong to God. And listen, He had something special, personal in mind when He created you. And only you and God will know what that is. But the issue is will you be able to fulfill your potential, live it out the way God wants you to live it out.
Listen, be blessed the way God wants to bless you, if you keep living the way you're living or treating your body the way you're treating it. And I simply wanna say to you this morning we're responsible. And you know what? Watch this. As an adult, nobody else is gonna be responsible for us. In other words, we're adults. Our children, we're responsible to give them a good example and to guide them. But we as adults are responsible to the Living God for what we do with these human bodies. And if you're gonna reach your potential in a day, or in your lifetime, keeping your body as healthy as you can, as pure as you can, is a God-given command. And to abuse it, deliberately and willfully is a sin against the Living God. And I want to encourage you this morning, plead with you today to think seriously about what you've heard. Because you only get one. Just one. Amen?
Father, I pray the Holy Spirit convict every single person in this place today who's tasting alcohol, rationalizing it, or tobacco, or any kind of drugs that's not right. Or any kind of sexual activity that's not right and godly. Anything, Father, that we know does not contribute to this temple, convict us of it, Father, that we might be holy before You and walk holy in Your presence and in Your power, accomplishing Your purpose is my prayer today, in Jesus's name, amen.