December 10, 2021 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Hello, friends! During the past two years, as the COVID pandemic has swept around the world, people have become more conscious of their health and have been looking for ways to increase and maintain good health.

Unfortunately, sickness, disease, and death are part of living in this fallen world, and eventually, unless the Lord comes during our lifetime, we will all face death one day.

However, Jesus said, as recorded in John 10:10— ” The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jesus longs not only to give us eternal life, but to give us an abundant life here on earth as well.

The very first chapter of the beautiful book, The Ministry of Healing, opens with these words: “Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He ‘took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,’ that He might minister to every need of humanity. . . . The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character” (p. 17).

While on earth, Jesus healed many diseases, and in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy He has given us much counsel on how to live healthy lives. While studies have shown that Seventh-day Adventists tend to live at least 7 years longer than the average population, we not only strive for quantity of years, but quality as well! We seek for that abundant life that Christ came to give, not only for ourselves, but so we will be able to do the work that He has called us to do.

So, for the next few minutes, let’s quickly review some of the health habits God has given to us through His inspired writings.

When we think of health, it’s important to remember that God created us as wholistic beings–mind, body, and spirit are interrelated, and how we treat one affects all of the others. To have a clear mind, for example, helps us to have a healthy body. This is why we are told to stay away from harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and caffeine.

Unfortunately, many people like to drink caffeinated drinks as a short-term relief for tiredness or drowsiness, but this doesn’t solve the problem of fatigue. In fact, it can lead to or worsen other health problems, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness, osteoporosis, headaches, and more.

Rather than drinking harmful substances, how much better to drink fresh, pure water! Did you know water makes up about 60 to 70 percent of your body weight?! Every system in your body depends on water, so it is very important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. The ideal amount of water varies with individual circumstances, such as weight of the person, activity level, and climate. However, a good rule to follow is to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day.

Exercise, preferably in sunlight and fresh air, is one of the most important things we can do to gain and maintain good health! Just a few of the many benefits of exercise include: lower risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, lower risk of many cancers, improved bone health, improved sleep quality, reduced symptoms of depression and better cognitive function, healthier body weight, healthier skin, less flu and fewer colds, and much more!

And while we all recognize that exercise is important, it is sometimes difficult to incorporate exercising into our busy lives. One thing I enjoy doing is walking in the morning while listening to inspired material, such as the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy.

It’s important to find a type of exercise that you enjoy doing, and then try to do it at the same time each day. But to be really beneficial, I encourage you to live an active lifestyle, incorporating as much movement as possible throughout the day.

The food that we put into our bodies has a tremendous impact on our overall health, and the Bible encourages a balanced plant-based diet consisting of grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes. There are many studies confirming that a plant-based diet is far healthier and safer than eating meat. Here are just a few results of those studies:

  • Vegetarians had 24 percent less risk of dying from coronary heart disease as compared to non-vegetarians.
  • A study in Japan showed that women who eat meat daily are 8 1/2 times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who rarely or never eat meat.
  • Studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters.
  • Those who ate “white meat,” particularly chicken, have approximately 3 times the risk of getting colon cancer compared to vegetarians.
  • No wonder Ellen White wrote more than 100 years ago that “Many die of diseases wholly due to meat eating, while the real cause is not suspected by themselves or by others” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 315).

Friends, I want to encourage you, if you have not already done so, to prayerfully consider adopting a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet. Many resources are available online for delicious recipes and menu plans, and I believe you will be surprised at how well you will feel!

Getting enough rest on a regular basis is vitally important to good health. Doctors recommend a minimum of 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Without enough rest we are at risk for a number of health challenges, including obesity, diabetes, lowered immune system response, mood disorders, higher risk of injury, and impaired mental function. So, let’s be sure to make sleep a priority.

And in addition to nightly rest, it is also important to practice the God-given weekly rest provided on the seventh-day Sabbath. This is a very special time to refresh and rejuvenate from the week’s work as we worship our Creator and fellowship with friends and family. Take time to enjoy the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual rest that God provides through His Sabbath day.

And finally, we are invited to trust in divine power. Studies show that those who have a strong relationship with God experience less stress in their lives, have lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease and reduced incidents of depression. No wonder Jesus invites us to: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Friends, Jesus has provided a way to have a more abundant life here on earth, and in the future life an amazing eternity with Him! I invite you to claim His promises and power now as you practice these wonderful health principles the Lord has provided for us. If you would like more information about how to live healthfully, I invite you to visit: adventist.org/health/

Let’s pray together. Father in heaven, please guide each one as they consider these beautiful health principles to keep them healthy and strong to keep their minds in good condition, so that they can be in contact with you. So that the Holy Spirit can influence the frontal lobes of our brains and guide us in all the decisions we need to make. And in our relationships with others, helping them to know this marvelous wonderful God who is not only our creator, but our Savior, our redeemer and our coming king. Thank you Lord for hearing us in this prayer. Help us to take seriously a wonderful promise that you want us to live life abundantly, in every aspect physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. We ask all of this In the name of our powerful Savior, our Creator, our Master Physician and our coming king Jesus Christ, amen.

 

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