Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
~ 3 John 1:2
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
~ Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 21:5
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
~ 2 Timothy 2:4
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
~ Psalm 42:11, Psalm 55:22
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
~ Romans 5:15
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ Romans 6:23
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
~ Colossians 3:15
The Priceless Gift of Health, by Arthur W. Pink.
Oh, what a priceless boon is a sound body and good health—a boon that is denied to some from birth and that few really appreciate until it be taken from them. It has long impressed the writer what a remarkable thing it is that any of us enjoy any health at all, seeing that we have six thousand years of sinful heredity behind us!
It is due alone to the goodness and kindness of God that the great majority enter this world with more or less sound bodies and reach youth in the bloom of health. But sin and folly then take heavy toll and the constitutions of millions are wrecked before middle life is reached. Nor is it always brought about by wicked intemperance and dissipation. Often it is the outcome of ignorance, through failure to heed some of the most elementary laws of hygiene. Alas, the majority of people will learn in no other school than that of hard and bitter experience, and consequently most of them only discover how to live when the time comes for them to die. True, we cannot put old heads on young shoulders; yet if the inexperienced are too proud to heed the counsels of the mature, then they must reap the consequences.
Now surely, other things being equal, the Christian ought to enjoy better health than the non-Christian. Why so? Why, because if his walk be regulated by God’s Word, he will at least be preserved from those diseases that are the fruit of certain transgressions. The English word holiness means “wholeness, soundness.” The more we are kept from sinning, the more shall we escape its consequences. “Godliness is profitable unto all things (the body as well as the soul), having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1Ti 4:8). One of the basic laws of health is the Sabbatic statute. “The sabbath was made for man” (Mar 2:27), for his good because he needed it. It was made for man that he might be a man—something more than a beast of burden or a human treadmill. His body needs it as truly as does his soul. This has been unmistakably demonstrated in this country. When France collapsed and the British Isles faced the most desperate crisis of their long history, the government foolishly ordered that those in the coal mines and munitions factories must work seven days a week, but they soon learned that the workmen produced less than they did in six days—they could not stand up to the additional strain.
By resting from manual toil on the Sabbath, man is enabled to recuperate his strength for the labours of the week lying ahead. Yet that cannot be accomplished by attending one meeting after another on that day nor by exhausting one’s strength through lengthy walks to and from the services—moving the tent nearer the altar is the remedy—still less by profaning the Sabbath in carnal recreation.
Another divine precept that promotes health is, “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa 28:16). Side by side with the speeding tempo of modern life, we behold the multiplying nervous disorders and those who are murdered or maimed on the highway. For many years, we have avoided motor cars, buses, and trains whenever the distance to be covered was not too great to walk, not using them more than two or three times in a twelve-month period. Rushing around, hurrying, and scurrying hither and thither, is not only injurious but a violation of the divine rule: “He that hasteth with his feet sinneth” (Pro 19:2), which means exactly what it says.1
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow” (Mat 6:34). How good health is promoted by obedience to this precept scarcely needs pointing out. It is carking2 care and worry that disturb the mind, affect circulation, impair digestion, and prevent restful sleep. If the Christian would cast all his care on the Lord (1Pe 5:7), what freedom from anxiety would be his. “The joy of the LORD is your strength” (Neh 8:10)—physically as well as spiritually. What a touch to a wearied body and tired mind it is to delight ourselves in the Lord: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Pro 17:22). “My son, attend to my words…For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Pro 4:20, 22). Do we really believe this? “Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel,3 and marrow to thy bones” (Pro 3:7-8).
Godly living is conducive to healthiness of mind and body; and other things being equal, that will be one of its biproducts. By “other things being equal” we mean: as in the case of one who is not suffering for the sins of his father; who did not ruin his constitution by debauchery before conversion; and who exercises ordinary common sense in attending to the elementary rules of hygiene. One who is “temperate in all things” (1Co 9:25) will escape many or all those ills, which are the price that must be paid for intemperance. Scripture does not require us to be either Spartans or Epicureans4 but to “let (our) moderation be known unto all” (Phi 4:5). God “giveth…richly all things to enjoy” (1Ti 6:17), yet not to abuse. “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused” (1Ti 4:4), providing it is used aright; but His choicest creations prove harmful if used to excess. God has provided great variety in nature, and each one must learn for himself what best suits him and deny himself of that which disagrees.
1 While the author’s suggestions may not be realistic for modern readers, his primary notion of slowing down the pace of our lives is vital.
2 carking – anxious.
3 It should follow that righteous living will have a positive effect upon the body. The Hebrew term here translated “body” (in some translations) literally refers to the umbilical cord. The only other uses of this word are found in Song of Solomon 7:2 and Ezekiel 16:4. Such language seems odd to us. How would righteous living bring healing to one’s umbilical cord? It is possible that the navel is chosen because it harkens back to the original health of a newborn, when its first moments of independent life are experienced. It is more likely, however, that this is an example of synecdoche. This figure of speech employs a part of something to refer to the whole of which it is a part. So, “body” may not be a literal translation, but it captures the intent of the original language. (John A. Kitchen, Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary, 78)
4 Spartans or Epicureans – those who are overly strict in self-discipline or devoted to sensual pleasures.
Christ is a physician. It is one of his titles: “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (Exo 15:26). He is a physician for the body: He anointed the blind, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, raised the dead (Mat 8:16). He it is that puts virtue into physic (medicine) and makes it healing. And He is a physician for the soul: “He healeth the broken in heart” (Psa 147:3). We are all as so many impotent, diseased persons: one man hath a fever, another a dead palsy, another hath a bloody issue—he is under the power of some hereditary corruption. Now Christ is a soul-physician; He healeth these diseases.—Thomas Watson
It is well to praise the Lord for His mercy when you are in health, but make sure that you do it when you are sick; for then your praise is more likely to be genuine.—Charles Spurgeon