The story of the three little pigs (prior articles) continues as they wax philosophical and ask themselves “why does their health or their diets matter anyway?” You see they are good little Christian pigs who are looking forward to a new heaven and new earth, expecting that they will be renewed in a perfect pig body free of disease and a pig spirit free of sin. Are they just being too worldly in caring about their physical bodies which will die in the grave to be resurrected at Christ’s return?
For that matter, why should WE care about the bodies which convey our eternal souls about this world? Won’t they be renewed in heaven anyway? Aren’t we supposed to focus on the eternal things rather than worldly things?
Romans 8:29 could be used to argue that we are to focus our energies on spiritual transformation so that we can be made into the likeness of Christ as could other verses. However, working for the eternal does not mean ignoring or harming the physical body crafted for us by our loving Creator. There are several reasons Christians should care for their physical bodies.
First, Christ cared for our bodies by healing the lame and the ill. In doing so, he showed compassion on those suffering from physical illness while proving his identity as the Son of God. If Christ spent so much time healing those with various illnesses, we should care for our physical health and that of others. Phillipians 2:4 tells each one to “look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (my emphasis). Many other Scriptures indicate some importance to caring for the gift of our bodies.
Second, other authors of Holy Scripture cared for the physical health of those under their care. Though only a brief mention in 2 Timothy, Paul took a moment to urge Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach, seeming to indicate that Timothy was having a health issue. John also took a moment to pray for the physical well-being of the readers as well as for their spiritual health (3 John 1:2)
Third, God’s care for man’s physical condition is seen in his healing, such as with Naaman’s leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27). God also cared for the physical health of both individuals like the widow with Elijah (I Kings 17:17-24) and with groups of people such as when Moses lifted up the bronze snake for healing in the camp (Numbers 21:9).
Finally, if we are to be transformed into the image of Christ, we cannot ignore physical bodies gifted to us, but must act as stewards of the gift. Our bodies can then be used to glorify God in body and Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20). If we are neglecting the care of this gift, we will not be prepared for this work of glorifying God and will be less able to love our neighbor.
After studying God’s Word together, the three little pigs agreed that physical health matters. They saw how God shows us his care for the physical body and that He will restore it in the new heavens, so we should care as well. Not only that, but our bodies are the instruments God uses to care for others during this life. For this reason we should work to keep them as healthy “as possible” for serving God and neighbor. At this, one little pig asked, “But what about serving God in our weakness?” They all said “Hmmmm?”… (until next time)…