Isn't it time we recaptured the zest, the bubbling energy and radiant health intended by the Creator?
LOOK AROUND you especially at the people, their faces, their eyes, their bodies. How many radiate an energetic zest and joy for life? How many have well-formed faces, are strong and vibrant? What about you? Are you bubbling over with energy and enthusiasm? Are you free from pain and sickness? Do you have the drive and consistent good health to lead, to produce, to accomplish — to fulfill the purpose of your life successfully? Make no mistake! Poor health can adversely affect your job, your marriage, your social life — everything! Your bodily health greatly affects your drive and zeal — even in spiritual matters. It affects your warmth and friendliness — your whole personality. You simply cannot afford to remain sick or "below par" most of the time. You need to find the cause of sickness and the WAY to build radiant health.
Cause of Illness
People do not just happen to get sick! There is a cause for every effect. And there is a definite cause for all sickness, disease and physical suffering that is so common in this modern world. Why, then, are so many sick today? We find the answer where most people have never looked. Right in your own Bible. There you will read, in I John 3:4, that sin is the transgression of law. That's the Bible definition of sin. Spiritual sin is the transgression of God's spiritual law, the law of love summed up in the Ten Commandments. But there are physical laws, too, that regulate physical health. If you break these laws, or if they are accidentally broken, it is a transgression of law — and a penalty is exacted. The penalty is sickness — or physical suffering of some kind. When Jesus Christ healed the sick, it was the forgiveness of physical sin. Notice how Jesus healed a man sick of the palsy (Luke 5:18-26). He said to the sick man on the bed, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Read this account carefully. In healing the man, Jesus forgave the physical sins that had caused the palsy. The cause of sickness is the transgression of physical laws that God has set in motion to govern the operation of our human bodies. These laws are just as real as the law of gravity, and the penalty for breaking them is just as sure. God has left it up to man to discover most of these laws. But God does reveal the basic principles we should go by, and, in addition, He specifically reveals those laws governing health which we would not otherwise be able to learn. (See, for example, Lev. 3:17) Yes, God does wish us all to "prosper and be in health" (III John 2). And through the apostle Paul, He commands us to "glorify God in our bodies." Using the health principles in God's revealed Word as a guide, and utilizing the results of man's observation and research into this subject, we can learn the definite laws that govern our physical health. By really understanding and obeying these laws, we can build the kind of radiant health that will enable us to live the kind of full, active and joyful lives that God intended. There is no excuse for feeling and being only half alive! The mounting rate of sickness, suffering and death clearly shows that this world has lost the way to health — the way to live. We need to learn how to really live! What, then are these physical laws that affect our bodies — and our lives — so much?
1) Build a POSITIVE Mental Attitude
One of the least understood factors governing health is the profound effect that the mind has upon the body. A large part of the common ailments of mankind are caused not so much by the body, as by the mind. Ulcers, indigestion, headaches, eyestrain, nervousness and a host of other ailments are often found to be directly caused by the condition of the mind, not the body. Physical nourishment and care alone are not enough. God inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 15:17: "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Haven't you known families who engage in a- "free-for-all-battle" during nearly every meal? Perhaps they are ignorant of the fact that fighting, nagging and quarreling at the table are almost certain to cause nervous indigestion and other ailments. Few people today have the sense of contentment and real peace of mind upon which good health is predicated. They need to learn to relax, and to put living faith in God to guide them in solving the little problems that plague so many people. This first requirement of good health is something that people who reject the knowledge of God can never fully hope to achieve. They may go to physicians and to psychologists and psychiatrists with their mental ills and fears. But it is God alone who can give real peace of mind. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7). And again, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (Prov. 17:22). Jesus said, we are to take no anxious thought for the morrow, but put faith in God for each day as it comes. Nearly all the really successful people in the world have a forward-looking, positive, enthusiastic approach to life. They dwell on what can be accomplished rather than on bad or depressing news, or on problems that "can't" be solved. Consciously or unconsciously, they build this attitude into their lives. The apostle Paul said: "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). Learn to become a "can do" person. Learn to be enthusiastic and positive about life. Learn not to allow your mind to dwell on negative or depressing thoughts. You must learn to be in control of your thoughts. By building a positive and enthusiastic attitude, you will be building a major part of the foundation for radiant health.
2) Food and Fasting
We are what we eat. The body is formed from the foods we eat. Yet the average person has very little knowledge of what he really ought to eat to build a strong, vigorous body. If the foods most of us eat were fed to a rat, the rat would soon die of starvation! Why? Many of the products commonly called foods are of little value in sustaining, nourishing or building the body. They often clog the digestive system, aggravate it and become a real burden for the body to eliminate. In many cases, they act as if they are poisons — not foods! The basic thing to remember in selecting foods is to be sure you eat as natural foods as possible that have been altered as little as possible in man-made "food" factories. Take care that your food is properly prepared so as not to destroy the body-building elements. Avoid starchy, greasy, sugary concoctions that may taste good at the moment, but that contain little of nutritional value and will in time wreck your stomach. Remember the principle that your foods should be natural foods — as God caused them to grow or be formed in nature. These could include genuine whole grain breads (without preservatives added) and cereals, fresh fruits and fresh vegetables — cooked at low temperatures so as to preserve their nutritional value, lean meats cooked without excess grease or fat, and dairy products — including certified raw milk when possible. Few people fully realize the con-sequences caused by such "refined" or "improved" products as white bread, white sugar, canned and heavily sweetened fruits and vegetables and pasteurized milk, when these are substituted for the natural products that God intended as food. So eat a balanced diet of natural foods. And learn to prepare all foods so as not to destroy their nutritional value. Under the heading of diet, we should also consider the health value of water. Pure drinking water and plenty of it is one of the greatest aids to eliminating body poisons and keeping the entire system clean. It is an aid in preventing or overcoming constipation — that source of so many bodily ills. Doctors have commonly recommended a person drink six or so glasses of pure water every day — preferably between meals. Never use it to wash your food down. Greatly restricting one's diet is known as fasting. The practice of fasting as a health measure is as old as the human race. Every animal when sick will refuse to eat. It loses all appetite. Governed by its instincts, it fasts until it is well — a sure cure provided by nature. But what about humans? Doctors and dieticians agree that we humans are in the habit of eating more food than our bodies require. If food is used in excess of bodily needs, it's bound to produce a clogging up of the vital processes, for if it is not needed it is invariably harmful and becomes productive of causes that lead to sickness and disease. The greatest number of sicknesses are caused by the presence of a poison in the bloodstream. Fasting enables the body to cleanse itself of the accumulation of the products of an imperfect diet. As food intake is retarded, elimination proceeds rapidly and the body is truly "housecleaning" itself. For many, many common sicknesses such as colds, headaches, fevers and stomach distress, fasting is an effective and often the only natural cure. In a strictly health fast, water only should be taken, or, in some cases, fruit juices may be taken to provide necessary strength. Jesus Christ said His disciples would fast (Mark 2:18-20). Fasting is not only a good spiritual practice, but it is a marvelous natural means of preserving health. Consult a physician, however, before undertaking any lengthy fast.
3) Cleanliness and Dress
It has been said that "cleanliness is next to godliness," and, while this saying didn't come directly from the Bible, the principle is certainly correct. To teach ancient Israel the habit of cleanliness, God instituted ceremonial regulations commanding the people to bathe or wash their clothes after coming in contact with likely disease carriers (Lev. 11:29-47). The physical lesson to be learned from these ceremonies is that we should keep our physical bodies clean. Regular care of the skin, hair, nails and teeth, and freedom from perspiration odor are essential to cleanliness and contribute to health. Waste products are eliminated through the pores of the skin, so regular bathing is important. Keeping your person, your clothes and your living quarters clean will not only aid in promoting vigorous health, but will tend to keep your thoughts on a higher level and keep you closer to God. Untold physical impairments are caused by the wearing of tight, ill-fitting or unsuitable clothing. Clothing should afford proper protection from the weather and should be loose fitting and comfortable. The wearing of extremely tight girdles or corsets by women often results in the cramping of vital organs and the weakening of muscles and tissues in the abdominal and pelvic areas — often causing physical distress in later life, and sometimes resulting in the inability to have children normally. It just doesn't pay. Also, high-heeled shoes that throw the whole body out of line often cause harm not only to the feet, but to the entire body. Another common fault among women is wearing unnecessarily tight-fitting shoes, which cause bunions, corns and in-grown nails.
4) Sunshine and Fresh Air
Exposing a good portion of the body to the sun's rays is beneficial. The sun's rays that provide the greatest benefit to health are the ultraviolet rays. These rays aid in the utilization of phosphorous and calcium, and vitamin D is formed primarily through this influence. Try to spend time out of doors in the open air and sunshine as you can. But remember that there is danger in sunlight if the body is exposed too long before it is conditioned to the sun. So, in acquiring a tan, you should proceed cautiously. And take deep breaths of pure,
The mounting rate of sickness, suffering and death clearly shows that this world has lost the way to health — the way to live.
fresh air. After all, breath is the stuff life itself is made of (Gen. 2:7). Breathe deeply to be healthy. We breathe to get oxygen into our systems. Every vital process in the body depends on oxygen for its performance. The more you breathe pure, fresh air, the more pep you will have, the brighter will be your color, the more alert you will be and the better posture you will have. Most of us take in enough air to sustain life, but not enough to live it vigorously.
In this day of push-button gadgets and automobiles, millions of people are only half the physical specimens they ought to be — because of a lack of exercise. Notice a crowd of people some time. Observe the various sizes and shapes. Am I talking about a need for huge, bulging muscles? No. Except in a few cases, they are entirely unnecessary in modern life — and constant expenditure of time and energy would be necessary to keep them in that condition. But many people today do need an intelligently planned program of exercise. Exercise stimulates deep breathing and increases blood circulation; it aids in the expelling of poisons from the system, and tends to produce normalcy in all bodily functions. While work leaves one tired and sometimes enervated, proper exercise is of remarkable assistance in building up energy. The body is often recharged after systematic calisthenics, and this form of exercise can include all of the muscle groups of the body — whereas regular work or games often neglect some of these, while overtaxing others. Especially for young people, games and sports naturally afford an enjoyable opportunity to get needed exercise. But these should be supplemented with calisthenics or some form of exercise at home as one grows past that stage in life and tends to neglect physical exercise. Walking and hiking are excellent forms of exercise for people of all ages and occupations. But vigorous young people should supplement even these with some form of activity that directly utilizes the arms, shoulders and torso. One of the very most important types of exercise is called aerobic exercise. The word is taken from the Latin and means simply "with wind." It means the kind of exercise where you are forced to do regular, continuous deep breathing. This kind of exercise is vital in building and maintaining your cardiovascular system — your heart, lungs and liver. Nearly every coach in any major sport knows that this is the type of exercise to get athletes into condition. "With wind," it means. Deep and continuous breathing and panting with the corollary vigorous workout for the heart muscle that this involves. So football, basketball and baseball players "take their laps" and do a lot of running in the conditioning period. Swimmers take their laps. Boxers do their "roadwork" — running and jogging — and continuously skip rope besides. Do you have to become a jogger? No, although in certain cases that is ideal. You could swim a number of laps each day — slowly working up to at least a quarter mile daily. Or you could get a bicycle and go cycling for several miles nearly every day. Buy a good book on aerobic exercise. Some local "YMCAs/YWCAs" offer free aerobic dancing classes or similar programs. If you are past middle age or have a heart condition, start slowly and work up a vigorous walking program — preferably under a physician's guidance. You probably can build up to where you are vigorously walking at least two miles nearly every day! But do something. For the increased energy and stamina, the sense of exhilaration and the better all-round good health will be more than worth it! Don't overdo and wear yourself out or get shin splints. And be careful. Don't get hit by a truck! Because of the tendency in the Apostle Paul's day to glorify athletics and idolize athletes, Paul wrote Timothy: "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things" (I Tim. 4:8). Notice that Paul did not condemn physical exercise, but merely showed that it does profit a little, or for a little while, as compared with godliness which will profit through eternity. But few of us in this age are inclined to get too much exercise, and we do need a proper amount to build the kind of abundant, radiant health we should all enjoy. Building a strong, supple, graceful body does require effort. But it is eminently worthwhile — especially in this day when we are inclined to let machines do everything while our own bodies stagnate.
6) Sleep and Rest
Many people, especially students, are inclined to delude themselves with the idea that they can drive themselves on in work or play, then catch up on sleep later on — and be none the worse for it. Nothing will take the place of regular sleep and rest in its recuperative effect on the human body. Man can go much longer without food than he can without sleep, and sleep becomes unbelievably necessary after long periods of sleeplessness. Sufficient, regular sleep for most adults ranges from seven to nine hours each night. This is definitely not wasted time. It will enable one to be fully alive during his work
In depriving yourself of sufficient sleep and rest you will accomplish not more, but less.
and play, and to live a longer and fuller life in the end. However, too much sleep is not a benefit. Rather, it is depressing and causes sluggishness and a state of lethargy. We are warned in Proverbs against oversleeping and laziness (Prov. 24:33-34). In addition to regular sleep, many health authorities recommend one or more short periods of rest throughout the day to recharge our worn nerve batteries. When God said, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work," He was giving a law of health — as well as a spiritual principle — that will never grow old. Both physically and mentally, we need to rest every seventh day — and so. God gave the Sabbath rest as a great blessing. Thousands of years ago, God knew and enunciated what many men still haven't found out — that in depriving yourself of sufficient sleep and rest you will accomplish not more, but less, in the end.
You now know six of the seven basic laws of radiant health. Here they are summarized: 1) Quit worrying, arguing, bickering. Maintain a tranquil mind — a positive attitude. 2) Be sure you have a balanced diet of natural foods. Learn the value of drinking plenty of water, of fasting and of avoiding constipation. 3) Remember that cleanliness is vital to good health, and that suitable clothing is also necessary. 4) Derive the maximum benefit from sunshine and fresh air. 5) Plan a program of regular, sufficient exercise. And stick to it! 6) Let your body recuperate from work and play through proper sleep and rest as God intended. Remember these six basic health laws; study them in detail; and most of all, practice them! You must put them to work and LIVE by these laws! It will take some effort, but the reward of a strong, graceful, vigorously healthful body will more than repay your efforts. Of course, if you have already broken these laws most of your life, you will not attain as great benefits as if you had started early. And in all honesty, we must realize one factor that we have nothing to do with — our heredity, and the fact that some of us have inherited certain weaknesses that may never be fully overcome. But nearly any physical condition can be greatly improved if the right steps are taken. So put your shoulder to the wheel! Radiant health is worth working for. And applying these physical laws is important spiritual training.