Three Angel's Messages shared with the world

Chapter 18. Being a Temple of the Spirit

Arrow to previous topic BACK
NEXT Arrow to next topic

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

All of the beings God has created are designed to be a temple in which God can dwell. When humanity sinned, it separated them from God. The closeness of that relationship is what God desires and offers to restore to you. When you chose God, you received the divine implant of a new heart as His Holy Spirit came inside you. That is why you started producing fruit of the Spirit as we discussed in the previous chapter. He is working to cleanse your heart of every defilement, so that you can be a permament dwelling place for God.

"In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple... His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21, 22. {DA 161.2}.

Spirituality includes physicality

The term "Being a Temple of the Spirit" encompasses many concepts, but emphasizes the physicality of this incredible situation. You have now become a temple or a sacred place. In other words you are a house for the Holy Spirit. This involves physical contact and the cooperation of the whole body. Remember, your mind is a part of your body! Your thoughts, emotions and impulses are generated from physical body parts; brain functions are influenced by various biological processes, chemical reactions, neurotransmitters and hormones. As such, it is vitally important to keep the physical machinery in as excellent condition as possible.

"The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers" (Conflict and Courage 249.5).

"Since the mind and the soul find expression through the body, both mental and spiritual vigor are in great degree dependent upon physical strength and activity; whatever promotes physical health, promotes the development of a strong mind and a well-balanced character. Without health, no one can as distinctly understand or as completely fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow beings, or to his Creator. Therefore the health should be as faithfully guarded as the character. A knowledge of physiology and hygiene should be the basis of all educational effort" (Child Guidance 360.4)

The extent of physical involvement in character transformation goes well beyond what most initially think. Recall that God creates a new heart in you, which we previously learned involves an actual creative act or physical alterations in the brain as a divine-human union is formed. Also, we've seen that the emergence of a new creature involves a new formation. In order for the Holy Spirit to merge with you and dwell in you, He must have contact with your physical body. If the body isn't cared for properly, it can inhibit His work.

Being a temple of the Spirit: Welcoming and giving the Holy Spirit full access to your entire being, and maintaining your physical body, which includes the mind, in the best health possible so that the Holy Spirit's work within and through you can be maximized.

We've been studying how God places you on a path of spiritual and character restoration as soon as you accept Him. This is also true of physical restoration. The more you study His word and learn from the Holy Spirit, the more you will learn of God's health laws and be able to follow His plan for you.

God Intends For You To Have Good Health

God created us to be healthy and has given us the information and tools we need to maintain health.

"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh" (Proverbs 4:20-22).

"The Creator of man has arranged the living machinery of our bodies. Every function is wonderfully and wisely made. And God has pledged Himself to keep this human machinery in healthful action if the human agent will obey His laws and co-operate with God... We may behold and admire the work of God in the natural world, but the human habitation is the most wonderful. From the first dawn of reason, the human mind should become intelligent in regard to the physical structure. Here Jehovah has given a specimen of Himself, for man was made in the image of God" (Child Guidance 103.2).

"I have been instructed by the Lord to say that He has endowed you with the power of reason, and He desires you to understand the laws that affect the health of the being, and to resolve to obey them. These laws are God's laws" (Selected Messages Volume II 226.2).

Reasons To Care About Health

It helps you understand spiritual matters

"While men and women professing godliness are diseased from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet, while their physical, mental, and moral energies are enfeebled through gratification of depraved appetite and excessive labor, how can they weigh the evidences of truth, and comprehend the requirements of God? If their moral and intellectual faculties are beclouded, they cannot appreciate the value of the atonement or the exalted character of the work of God, nor delight in the study of His word" (Counsels on Diets and Foods 50.3).

"Thus were revealed to Adam important events in the history of mankind, from the time when the divine sentence was pronounced in Eden, to the Flood, and onward to the first advent of the Son of God. He was shown that while the sacrifice of Christ would be of sufficient value to save the whole world, many would choose a life of sin rather than of repentance and obedience. Crime would increase through successive generations, and the curse of sin would rest more and more heavily upon the human race, upon the beasts, and upon the earth. The days of man would be shortened by his own course of sin; he would deteriorate in physical stature and endurance and in moral and intellectual power, until the world would be filled with misery of every type. Through the indulgence of appetite and passion men would become incapable of appreciating the great truths of the plan of redemption" (Lift Him Up 324.3).

You are better able to do the Lord's work

"All should have an intelligent knowledge of the human frame that they may keep their bodies in the condition necessary to do the work of the Lord. The physical life is to be carefully preserved and developed that through humanity the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. The relation of the physical organism to the spiritual life is one of the most important branches of education. It should receive careful attention in the home and in the school" (Christ's Object Lessons 348.1).

It enables your character transformation

"The heart cannot possibly maintain consecration to God while lustful appetite is indulged. A diseased body and disordered intellect, because of continual indulgence in hurtful lust, make sanctification of the body and spirit impossible. The apostle understood the importance of the healthful conditions of the body for the successful perfection of Christian character. He says, 'I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.' He mentions the fruit of the Spirit, among which is temperance. 'They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.' " (Counsels on Diet and Foods 44.2)

"The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have moral power to gain victory over every other temptation of Satan. But slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death, as its fruits.--Health Reformer, August, 1875" (Temperance 16.4).

"Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin, and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature. The standard of virtue is elevated or degraded by the physical habits. . . . Any habit which does not promote healthful action in the human system degrades the higher and nobler faculties. Wrong habits of eating and drinking lead to errors in thought and action." (Temperance 17.6).

Ill health hurts those around you

"If we are sick, we impose a weary tax upon our friends, and unfit ourselves for discharging our duties to our families and to our neighbors. And when premature death is the result of our violation of nature's law, we bring sorrow and suffering to others; we deprive our neighbors of the help we ought to render them in living; we rob our families of the comfort and help we might render them, and rob God of the service He claims of us to advance His glory. Then, are we not, in the worst sense, transgressors of God's law?" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 21.2 - 22.1).

You will be joyful and peaceful

"Health, life, and happiness are the result of obedience to physical laws governing our bodies. If our will and way are in accordance with God's will and way; if we do the pleasure of our Creator, He will keep the human organism in good condition and restore the moral, mental, and physical powers in order that He may work through us to His glory. Constantly His restoring power is manifested in our bodies. If we cooperate with Him in this work, health and happiness, peace and usefulness, are the sure results" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 2 648.2).

You can help make God's health blessings known to others

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations" (Psalms 67:1-2).

Causes of Ill Health

Your Own Poor Choices

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Galations 6:7).

Our choices cause bad things to happen. If you were to choose to eat cardboard and chalk every day, there would be definite results. Unwise choices and an unhealthy lifestyle brings about all sorts of bad consequences, that we, of our own free will, bring upon ourselves.

"God has formed laws which govern our constitutions, and these laws which He has placed in our being are divine, and for every transgression there is affixed a penalty, which must sooner or later be realized. The majority of diseases which the human family have been and still are suffering under, they have created by ignorance of their own organic laws. They seem indifferent in regard to the matter of health, and work perseveringly to tear themselves to pieces, and when broken down and debilitated in body and mind, send for the doctor and drug themselves to death" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 19.1).

"Knowledge must be gained in regard to how to eat, and drink, and dress so as to preserve health. Sickness is caused by violating the laws of health; it is the result of violating nature's law" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 21.2).

Your Ancestors' Poor Choices

"...visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation" (Exodus 34:7).

"Their offspring are compelled to be sufferers by disease transmitted to them. Thus disease has been perpetuated from generation to generation. And many charge all this weight of human misery upon God, when their wrong course of action has brought the sure result. They have thrown upon society an enfeebled race, and done their part to deteriorate the race, by rendering disease hereditary, and thus accumulating human suffering" (Selected Messages V2 423.2).

"Let old and young remember that for every violation of the laws of life, nature will utter her protest. The penalty will fall upon the mental as well as the physical powers. And it does not end with the guilty trifler. The effects of his misdemeanors are seen in his offspring, and thus hereditary evils are passed down, even to the third or fourth generation... We are suffering for the wrong habits of our fathers, and yet how many take a course every way worse than theirs!" (Reflecting Christ 142.4).

Evil Spirits

"Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face...And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life." (Job 1:9-11, 2:6).

The Bible outlines a war going on between good and evil; between God and Satan and their angels. Satan has accused God of not being fair and since Adam and Eve chose to distrust God, our entire world is in the middle of this battle. In order to prove once and for all that God is just, Satan is being allowed to play out his hand so that all can see the consequences. Thus we know that Satan is the cause of bad things in this world. This is illustrated in the story of Job where Satan directly caused all kinds of pain, suffering and death for Job and his family. Even though God allowed this to happen, it is clear that God didn't cause the suffering, and that it wasn't brought about because Job had sinned.

"Satan represents God's law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception" (The Desire of Ages 24.2).

"But under loss and suffering, even unto death, the Lord's children are to reveal the meekness of their divine Example. Thus will be seen the contrast between Satan's agents and the representatives of Christ" (The Desire of Ages 354.2).

"There is wickedness in our world, but all the suffering is not the result of a perverted course of life. Job is brought distinctly before us as a man whom the Lord allowed Satan to afflict." (MS 22, 1898).

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

He respects freedom of choice

As stated above, because of this war between good and evil and the need to prove to the universe that God's way is the right way, there is much suffering in the world. God created angels and humans with freedom of choice, which means that anyone can choose evil and bring pain upon themselves and others. However, even amidst affliction, God can use it for good if we cooperate with Him. There are several examples of this in the Bible as discussed below.

You might be saved

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations [Greek = pressure, anguish, trouble] also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience [endurance, constancy, fortitude]; and patience, experience [tested, approved, tried]; and experience, hope [expectation, confidence, faith]" (Romans 5:3-4).

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Hebrews 12:11).

"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word" (Psalm 119:67).

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (I Peter 4:12,13).

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (I Peter 1:6-7).

Our faith is somehow established through affliction. In fact, many texts seem to indicate that suffering is actually required, in order to become like Christ. If willing to be molded by God, you can see your character changing as you go through fiery trials. This understanding can help you have peace through affliction.

Others might be saved

"Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3).

The blind man was allowed to be afflicted, seemingly so that other people could someday be drawn to Christ by seeing the miracle of healing. Who knows how many countless souls have been saved through the story of this one individual.

We might be able to comfort one another

"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor. 1:4).

Everyone can clearly see the results of sin

"As far as evil extends, the voice of our Father is heard, bidding His children see in its results the nature of sin, warning them to forsake the evil, and inviting them to receive the good" (Education 27.3).

"If we are to have pardon for our sins, we must first have a realization of what sin is, that we may repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance" (Faith and Works 49.1).

"In sparing the life of the first murderer, God presented before the whole universe a lesson bearing upon the great controversy. The dark history of Cain and his descendants was an illustration of what would have been the result of permitting the sinner to live on forever, to carry out his rebellion against God. The forbearance of God only rendered the wicked more bold and defiant in their iniquity. Fifteen centuries after the sentence pronounced upon Cain, the universe witnessed the fruition of his influence and example, in the crime and pollution that flooded the earth. It was made manifest that the sentence of death pronounced upon the fallen race for the transgression of God's law was both just and merciful. The longer men lived in sin, the more abandoned they became. The divine sentence cutting short a career of unbridled iniquity, and freeing the world from the influence of those who had become hardened in rebellion, was a blessing rather than a curse" (Patriarchs and Prophets 78.2).

"Satan had been so highly honored, and all his acts were so clothed with mystery, that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, sin would not appear the evil thing it was. Heretofore it had had no place in the universe of God, and holy beings had no conception of its nature and malignity. They could not discern the terrible consequences that would result from setting aside the divine law" (The Great Controversy 497.2).

As you consider all these reasons why God may allow suffering, it is important to know that God does limit suffering, and He is also protecting us from untold dangers.

"God's care for His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon His children but such as is essential for their present and eternal good" (The Acts of the Apostles 524.1).

"God has shown me that He gave His people a bitter cup to drink, to purify and cleanse them...This bitter cup can be sweetened by patience, endurance, and prayer, will have its designed effect upon the hearts of those who thus receive it, and God will be honored and glorified. It is no small thing to be a Christian and to be owned and approved of God" (The Faith I Live By 317.4).

"God frequently answers our prayers in a way we least expect. He brings us into positions which are the most trying, to reveal what is in our hearts" (Our High Calling 313.3).

"I was shown that the time was in the near future that these whom God had warned and reproved and given great light but they would not correct their ways and follow the light, He would remove from them that heavenly protection which had preserved them from Satan's cruel power; the Lord would surely leave them to themselves to follow the judgment and counsels of their own wisdom; they would be simply left to themselves, and the protection of God be withdrawn from them, and they would not be shielded from the workings of Satan; that none of finite judgment and foresight can have any power to conceive of the care God has exercised through His angels over the children of men in their travels, in their own houses, in their eating and drinking. Wherever they are, His eye is upon them. They are preserved from a thousand dangers, all to them unseen. Satan has laid snares, but the Lord is constantly at work to save His people from them" (Manuscript Release 14 p.2 par.3).

"Nothing is more plainly taught in Scripture than that God was in no wise responsible for the entrance of sin; that there was no arbitrary withdrawal of divine grace, no deficiency in the divine government, that gave occasion for the uprising of rebellion. Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is 'the transgression of the law;' it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government" (The Great Controversy 492.2).

How To Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Be Converted

"The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. He needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. Before the physical malady could be healed, Christ must bring relief to the mind and cleanse the soul from sin. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, "Thy sins are forgiven." The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can impart would restore vigor to the mind and health to the body" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 2 614.2).

"Tell the suffering ones of a compassionate Saviour. . . . He looks with compassion upon those who regard their case as hopeless. While the soul is filled with fear and terror, the mind cannot see the tender compassion of Christ. Our sanitariums are to be an agency for bringing peace and rest to the troubled minds. If you can inspire the despondent with hopeful, saving faith, contentment and cheerfulness will take the place of discouragement and unrest. Wonderful changes can then be wrought in their physical condition. Christ will restore both body and soul, and, realizing His compassion and love, they will rest in Him. He is the bright and morning Star, shining amid the moral darkness of this sinful, corrupt world. He is the Light of the world, and all who give their hearts to Him will find peace, rest, and joy" (Medical Ministry 109.3).

Do What God Commands

"That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee" (Deuteronomy 6:2-3).

"Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers...Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee" (Deuteronomy 7:12-15) (see also Deut. 28:61-62).

The commands God gives His people are for their own good. Follow the teachings God has given you in His word, and a healthier body will result. It is a simple concept, yet so often resisted. The creator of our bodies knows how to best care for our bodies. The following points expound on acting out this key principle of obedience.

Educate Yourself

"The greatest cause of human suffering is ignorance on the subject of how to treat our own bodies" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 241.1).

"The only hope of better things is in the education of the people in right principles. Let physicians teach the people that restorative power is not in drugs, but in nature. Disease is an effort of nature to free the system from conditions that result from a violation of the laws of health. In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained. Unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system" (Counsels on Health 90.1).

"When a physician sees that a patient is suffering from an ailment caused by improper eating and drinking, yet neglects to tell him of this, and to point out the need of reform, he is doing a fellow being an injury. Drunkards, maniacs, those who are given over to licentiousness,--all appeal to the physician to declare clearly and distinctly that suffering is the result of sin. We have received great light on health reform. Why, then, are we not more decidedly in earnest in striving to counteract the causes that produce disease? Seeing the continual conflict with pain, laboring constantly to alleviate suffering, how can our physicians hold their peace? Can they refrain from lifting the voice in warning? Are they benevolent and merciful if they do not teach strict temperance as a remedy for disease?" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 448.2).

Eat Well

Since God not only wants to restore your character and nature to your original state before sin, but also wants to restore you to your physical state prior to sin, it would make sense that your diet should be transformed more and more to become like the diet of Adam and Eve before they sinned. This means eating a plant-based diet -- a variety of fruits, nuts, legumes, grains and vegetables.

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat" (Genesis 1:29).

"By precept and example make it plain that the food which God gave Adam in his sinless state is the best for man's use as he seeks to regain that sinless state" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 460.5).

Be controlled

"Intemperance in eating and drinking is on the increase. Tables are spread with all kinds of food with which to satisfy the epicurean appetite. Suffering must follow this course of action. The vital force of the system cannot bear up under the tax placed on it, and it finally breaks down" (Conflict and Courage 35.4).

"Many are so devoted to intemperance that they will not change their course of indulging in gluttony under any considerations. They would sooner sacrifice health and die prematurely than to restrain their intemperate appetite. And there are many who are ignorant of the relation their eating and drinking has to health. Could such be enlightened, they might have moral courage to deny the appetite and eat more sparingly and of that food alone which was healthful, and by their own course of action save themselves a great amount of suffering" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 2 511.1).

Eliminate harmful and unhealthy foods and substances

" countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God's people...If meat eating was ever healthful, it is not safe now...Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing. Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they could see the animals when living and know the quality of the meat they eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculous and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated" (Child Guidance 382.3).

"The common use of the flesh of dead animals has had a deteriorating influence upon the morals, as well as the physical institution. Ill health in a variety of forms, if effect could be traced to the cause, would reveal the sure result of flesh eating" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 383.3).

"Milk, eggs, and butter should not be classed with flesh meat. In some cases the use of eggs is beneficial. The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded...Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth. God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things" (CD 366.1). "If milk is used, it should be thoroughly sterilized; with this precaution, there is less danger of contracting disease from its use. Butter is less harmful when eaten on cold bread than when used in cooking; but, as a rule, it is better to dispense with it altogether. Cheese is still more objectionable; it is wholly unfit for food" (The Ministry of Healing 302.1).

"The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious. Fine-flour bread does not impart to the system the nourishment that is to be found in unbolted-wheat bread. Its common use will not keep the system in the best condition. Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 236.2).

"Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. . . . The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils; for they wear away the life forces" (The Faith I Live By 231.5).

"..tea, coffee, tobacco, beer, wine, and all spirituous liquors--are not to be taken moderately, but discarded. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful" (Last Day Events 81.3).

"The people must be educated to understand that it is a sin to destroy their physical, mental, and spiritual energies, and they must understand how to co-operate with God in their own restoration. Through faith in Christ they can overcome the habit of using health-destroying stimulants and narcotics" (Temperance 89.2).

God allowed the eating of clean flesh foods (see Deut. 14:3-20 for the distinction between clean and unclean meat) after the flood (Genesis 9:1-4). When Jesus was on earth He ate fish (Luke 24:42-43). These foods were the best foods available to them at that time and place. Now, in many countries, more people have ready access to fresh produce and whole foods that are plant-based. These nutritious foods were created for us and designed especially for our systems. It is also the case in modern times that disease is increasingly present in animal flesh, making it more dangerous. This has also recently been the case with eggs and dairy foods. The best diet to eat consists of the best foods available to you, returning as much as possible to the diet God gave humanity prior to sin. At the same time, temperance, control of appetite and gratitude will provide a place of rest and health for the Holy Spirit to dwell.

Omit Fornication

"Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body...Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:13,18).

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).

Staying away from sex outside of marriage is an unpopular commitment in today's society. In fact, doing just the opposite is encouraged on many TV shows, movies, websites, books and magazines. The Bible warns us against it. However, many do not directly associate disease and illness with their sexual conduct. But, it is directly linked. That is why the previous text says it is a sin against your own body (see also 1 Corinthians 10:5-12).

"It was the prevalence of this very sin, fornication, among ancient Israel, which brought upon them the signal manifestation of God's displeasure. His judgments then followed close upon their heinous sin; thousands fell and their polluted bodies were left in the wilderness" (Counsels on Health 567.3)

"Men and women, you will one day learn what is lust and the result of its gratification. Passion of just as base a quality may be found in the marriage relation as outside of it. What is the result of giving loose rein to the lower passions? . . . The bedchamber, where angels of God should preside, is made unholy by unholy practices. And because shameful animalism rules, bodies are corrupted; loathsome practices lead to loathsome diseases. That which God has given as a blessing is made a curse" (The Adventist Home 124.3).

Sexual acts that can hurt you include a much wider scope than many initially consider. While the Greek word for fornication generally means adultery, incest and harlotry, there are a number of sexually related acts taught against throughout the Bible. These include polygamy (1 Cor. 7:2, Tim. 3:1-2), homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27, Jude 1:7), prostitution (Prov. 7:7-27, Lev. 19:29, Prov. 23:27, Rev. 22:15), adultery (Ex. 20:14, 1 Cor. 6:9, Job 24:15-17, Jer. 29:23, Matt. 19:9, Ez. 16:32), incest (1 Cor. 5:1, Ez. 22:11), rape (2 Sam. 13:11-14), lust (Matt. 5:28, 15:19) and generally any sexual act outside of marriage (1 Cor. 7:1-2). Avoiding these acts, along with excesses within marriages, will promote better health and even save your life!

It is interesting to study the symbolism of intimacy outside of marriage as used in the Bible to figuratively show disloyalty to God. The church is said to be the bride of Christ (Rev. 19:7, Matt. 25:1, Isaiah 62:5). An apostasized church is symbolically called a harlot in Bible prophecies. Believers become one with Christ. Man and woman marry and become one flesh (Mark 10:8). The new creature begins to understand that it is a very serious matter to be disloyal to your spouse or to God. This is not only because you do great harm to your own body, but you do harm to your spouse's body, and also do harm to the body of Christ, His church.

Fortunately, part of the Holy Spirit's work to transform your character includes giving you power to overcome sexual addiction and perversions that harm you and your partner's body and mind. Remember, these things are temporary pleasures, but they fade, leaving you worse off then before. Instead, enjoy pleasure the way God intended (Heb. 13:4), which not only brings temporary pleasure, but continues its rewards into the eternal. You may have been born with a strong tendency towards one or more of the sexual acts listed above. But that doesn't mean you have to embrace that tendency or be forced to live in its grip. God will help you overcome any problem, no matter how impossible it may seem to you!

"Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and every one who receives Christ as a personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes" (Christ's Object Lessons 330.2).

"Many have to battle against strong hereditary tendencies to evil. Unnatural cravings, sensual impulses, were their inheritance from birth" (The Ministry of Healing 173.3).

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:16-17).

"When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:10-11).

Choose Medications Wisely

"By the use of poisonous drugs, many bring upon themselves lifelong illness, and many lives are lost that might be saved by the use of natural methods of healing" (Counsels on Health 89.3).

"The Lord has provided antidotes for diseases in simple plants, and these can be used by faith, with no denial of faith; for by using the blessings provided by God for our benefit we are cooperating with Him. He can use water and sunshine and the herbs which He has caused to grow, in healing maladies brought on by indiscretion or accident. We do not manifest a lack of faith when we ask God to bless His remedies. True faith will thank God for the knowledge of how to use these precious blessings in a way which will restore mental and physical vigor" (Selected Messages Book 2 289.2).

"People need to be taught that drugs do not cure disease. It is true that they sometimes afford present relief, and the patient appears to recover as the result of their use; this is because nature has sufficient vital force to expel the poison and to correct the conditions that caused the disease. Health is recovered in spite of the drug. But in most cases the drug only changes the form and location of the disease. Often the effect of the poison seems to be overcome for a time, but the results remain in the system, and work great harm at some later period" (Counsels on Health 89.2).

Natural remedies exist in abundance. Become familiar with the many benefits found in nature. At the same time, there are many modern medications prescribed by doctors that are nonpoisonous and can be a blessing to the recipient. Investigate and consider carefully what kind of drugs you are taking and why.

Care For Your Emotional Health

Emotions can be broken, just like bones. These mental wounds are painful and need to be cared for and healed as much as any part of the body. Abuse, loss, demon possession, trauma, and more can cause deep and widespread effects in your entire being. These emotional damages need to be addressed and included in your healing process and healthy lifestyle changes. Just like you would contact a medical professional for a broken leg, you can contact a mental health professional for a wounded mind. There are Christ-centered programs, godly professionals and Christian counselors available who can help.

"The wants of the mind should be cared for. It requires skill to apply the proper remedies to cure a wounded mind" (Testimonies For the Church Volume One 384.1).

"To deal with men and women whose minds as well as bodies are diseased is a nice work. Great wisdom is needed by the physicians at the Institute in order to cure the body through the mind. But few realize the power that the mind has over the body. A great deal of the sickness which afflicts humanity has its origin in the mind, and can only be cured by restoring the mind to health. There are very many more than we imagine who are sick mentally. Heart sickness makes many dyspeptics, for mental trouble has a paralyzing influence upon the digestive organs. In order to reach this class of patients, the physician must have discernment, patience, kindness, and love. A sore, sick heart, a discouraged mind, needs mild treatment, and it is through tender sympathy that this class of minds can be healed. The physicians should first gain their confidence and then point them to the all-healing Physician. If their minds can be directed to the Burden Bearer and they can have faith that He will have an interest in them, the cure of their diseased bodies and minds will be sure" (Counsels on Health 349.3-4).

"In cases of serious illness, a little neglect, a slight inattention to a patient's special needs or dangers, the manifestation of fear, excitement, or petulance, even a lack of sympathy, may turn the scale that is balancing life and death and cause to go down to the grave a patient who otherwise might have recovered" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 2 477.2).

Develop a Good Mental Attitude

As the new creature's habits and character are being transformed, the mental attitude will also change. Various studies have shown that a proper attitude greatly aids in the maintenance and restoration of health. When considering emotional responses and thought patterns within yourself, pay particular attention to nurturing the following areas.
  • Kindness:

    "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

  • Humblenes:

    "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8).

  • Wisdom:

    "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health" (Proverbs 12:18).

  • Gratitude:

    "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God" (Psalms 43:5).

    "The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death. Disease is sometimes produced, and is often greatly aggravated, by the imagination. Many are lifelong invalids who might be well if they only thought so. Many imagine that every slight exposure will cause illness, and the evil effect is produced because it is expected. Many die from disease, the cause of which is wholly imaginary. Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life. A contented mind, a cheerful spirit, is health to the body and strength to the soul. 'A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine.' Proverbs 17:22. In the treatment of the sick, the effect of mental influence should not be overlooked. Rightly used, this influence affords one of the most effective agencies for combating disease" (Counsels on Health 344.4).

Avoid False Science

"There is, however, a form of mind cure that is one of the most effective agencies for evil. Through this so-called science, one mind is brought under the control of another [hypnosis], so that the individuality of the weaker is merged in that of the stronger mind. One person acts out the will of another. Thus it is claimed that the tenor of the thoughts may be changed, that health-giving impulses may be imparted and patients may be enabled to resist and overcome disease" (Counsels on Health 344.5).

"The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to heal. They attribute this power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called "sympathetic remedies," or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few, even in this Christian age, who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified physicians" (Prophets and Kings 211.1).

Form Simple Preventative Habits

"Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power--these are the true remedies" (The Ministry of Healing 127).

"Open-air exercise should be prescribed as a beneficial, life-giving necessity" (The Adventist Home 510.2).

"A walk, even in winter, would be more beneficial to the health than all the medicine the doctors may prescribe" (Counsels on health 52.2).

Miracle Healings

It Is Possible

"Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God" (Luke 5:23-25).

"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people" (Matthew 9:35).

"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1).

"And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee" (Exodus 23:25).

Jesus has the power to heal! He also gave the power to heal to the 12 desciples. Miracles and healings have occurred throughout all times, including today. The power of God is always at work in the world.

It Isn't Always Instant

Remember that the power of God is also at work through His health laws all the time. He puts restorative power in our body, food, the air, in exercise, sunshine, etc. Following His commands and improving health over time is just as much a miracle as instant healing.

If you lived while Jesus was here on earth and sought Him out for healing, and He told you to go eat an apple every day for a year and you would be healed...would you do it? Surely! Making healthy choices is not out of reach today. Ask God to bring you knowledge of health laws, give you strength to choose the right, and purify your desires and taste buds so that you relish good food and want to do the things that do your body good.

"The use of natural remedies requires an amount of care and effort that many are not willing to give. Nature's process of healing and upbuilding is gradual, and to the impatient it seems slow. The surrender of hurtful indulgences requires sacrifice. But in the end it will be found that nature, untrammeled, does her work wisely and well. Those who persevere in obedience to her laws will reap the reward in health of body and health of mind" (Counsels on Health 90.3).

There Are Conditions of Miracle Healing

  • Faith

    "And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it" (Matthew 9:28-30).

    "But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour" (Matthew 9:22).

    "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief" (Mark 6:5-6).

    "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:14-16).

    Either the faith of the individual being healed, or the intercessory faith of another, is required for instant miracle healing. However, if healing does not occur, it does not necessarily mean that there was a lack of faith.

    "There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.' [REV. 14:13.] From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not, on this account, be judged as wanting in faith" (Gospel Workers 218.3).

  • Confession

    "To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God's law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken. The Scripture bids us, 'Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.' James 5:16. To the one asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: 'We cannot read the heart, or know the secrets of your life. These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty to make confession of them.' Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For 'if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.' 1 John 2:1. Every sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through Christ. Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' 1 John 1:9. When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God's love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better; for 'the eye of the Lord is upon them' 'that hope in His mercy.' Psalm 33:18" (The Ministry of Healing 228.1-229.1).

  • Obedience

    "Many have expected that God would keep them from sickness merely because they have asked Him to do so. But God did not regard their prayers, because their faith was not made perfect by works. God will not work a miracle to keep those from sickness who have no care for themselves, but are continually violating the laws of health and make no efforts to prevent disease. When we do all we can on our part to have health, then may we expect that the blessed results will follow, and we can ask God in faith to bless our efforts for the preservation of health. He will then answer our prayer, if His name can be glorified thereby. But let all understand that they have a work to do. God will not work in a miraculous manner to preserve the health of persons who are taking a sure course to make themselves sick, by their careless inattention to the laws of health" (A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education 35.2).

    "Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence. They have not lived in accordance with natural law or the principles of strict purity. Others have disregarded the laws of health in their habits of eating and drinking, dressing or working. Often some form of vice is the cause of feebleness of mind or body. Should these persons gain the blessing of health, many of them would continue to pursue the same course of heedless transgression of God's natural and spiritual laws, reasoning that if God heals them in answer to prayer, they are at liberty to continue their unhealthful practices and to indulge perverted appetite without restraint. If God were to work a miracle in restoring these persons to health, He would be encouraging sin" (Gospel Workers 215.3).

    "After man has done all in his power to insure health, by the denying of appetite and gross passions, that he may possess a healthy mind, and a sanctified imagination, that he may render to God an offering in righteousness, then he is saved alone by a miracle of God's mercy, as was the ark upon the stormy billows. Noah had done all that God required of him in making the ark secure, then God performed that which man could not do, and preserved the ark by his miraculous power" (Spiritual Gifts Volume 4A 148.2).

    "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3).

    If you are not currently following every health law that God has brought to your attention, make a commitment to turn to Him and follow His ways immediately. This is not only for your own good, but for the good of everyone you come in contact with. If you are seeking healing, show God your commitment, obey, ask Him for help and believe that He will do what is best for you.

  • God's Will

    If you are surrendered to God and you ask Him to do something that isn't in your best interests, then He may not do it. Remember, this is for your own good or maybe even for the good of someone you love, and if you could see the end result, you would agree with His decision totally.

    "Not without a purpose does God send trial to His children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning..." (In Heavenly Places 267.2).

    "In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that 'we know not what we should pray for as we ought.' Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: 'Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.'" (The Ministry of Healing 229.2).

Conditions for answered prayer

"Ask, and it shall be given you" (Matthew 7:7)

There are conditions to be met in order for God to answer your prayers:
  • a) Recognize that you need help (Is. 44:3, 2 Cor. 12:9-10, John 15:5).
  • b) Do not cherish any known sin (James 5:16).
  • c) Exercise faith that God wants to and is able to help (Heb. 11:6, Mark 11:24, Matt. 7:7-11, Rom. 8:32) .
  • d) Be willing to forgive others as you want God to do for you (Matt. 6:12, Matt. 18:23-35).
  • e) Presevere and be patient (Rom. 12:12, Col. 4:2, 1 Pet. 4:7, Phil. 4:6, Jude 20,2 1).
  • f) Be willing for your prayer to be answered in a different and better way, according to God's will (Rom. 8:26-28).

It Is Never Too Late to Reform

"...I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days" (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

"But God is all-pitiful, gracious, and tender, and when light comes to those who have injured their health by sinful indulgences, and they are convinced of sin, and repent and seek pardon, He accepts the poor offering rendered to Him, and receives them. Oh, what tender mercy that He does not refuse the remnant of the abused life of the suffering, repenting sinner! In His gracious mercy, He saves these souls as by fire" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 22.1).

"The Lord has let His light shine upon us in these last days, that the gloom and darkness which have been gathering in past generations because of sinful indulgence, might in some degree be dispelled, and that the train of evils which have resulted because of intemperate eating and drinking, might be lessened" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 22.2).

"The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. And while we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul" (Selected Messages Book 2 32.3).

No matter how old you are or how much devastation your body has experienced, you can still take steps to dramatically improve your health.

Popular trends of today have been towards health. Hollywood has contributed to this trend and many stars have become vegetarian or vegan. The value of a simple walk has been rediscovered. Much progress has been made over the past decades and knowledge of health laws have increased. Many people of all ages and backgrounds are becoming enlightened as to how to live a lifestyle that promotes good health.

God is With You Through Ill Health

"The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness" (Psalms 41:3).

"Whatever may be the circumstances of the Christian, however dark and mysterious may be the ways of Providence, however great his deprivation and suffering, he may look away from them all to the unseen and the eternal. He has the blessed assurance that all things are working for his good" (Lift Him Up 250.2).

"Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth" (Jeremiah 33:6).

There are many who suffer ill health for much of their life. Some of these suffer even while following healthy lifestyles. All can have hope and be assured that perfect health will be restored in the new earth. Whatever God's purpose for allowing the suffering, He did not cause the suffering and does not want anyone to suffer. He will soon wholly restore and put an end to all pain and death.

"While sin is forgiven in this life, its results are not now wholly removed. It is at His coming that Christ is to 'change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body' (Phil. 3:21)" (Selected Messages Book 2 33.3).

Each day lived in obedience to God's health laws improves the effectiveness of the Spirit's work within you. There is a direct correlation between how you treat your body and how well your mind functions. Character development is therefore hindered if you harm your body through an unhealthy lifestyle. On the other hand, by embracing good health habits, you can not only begin the path towards physical restoration here and now, but your mind can become more alert, effective and receptive to the Holy Spirit's communications and work of character restoration.

Having Christ live in you via the Holy Spirit is a great privilege. All sorts of marvelous things occur when this divine resident goes to work. There has already been a thorough sanitization of the premises, along with much housecleaning accomplished and new furniture brought in. But as we'll see next, He is also working on some very special artwork for every room.

Next Bible Term: Writing the Law On the Heart
Arrow to previous topic BACK
NEXT Arrow to next topic