The first person that a leader must lead, is him/herself. I know I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating… as Christians, we are ALL called to lead, in one capacity or another. We are asked to live with higher standards than the rest of the world, because we are to serve as an example of Him. Being that example is what makes us leaders… whether in our own homes, in our workplace, our place of worship, or our community in general.
As Christian women and men, leaders, and examples of Christ’s love, we are to be mindful of the things that impede our ability to lead. This requires discipline that is often hard to come by. (I may know this better than anyone.) But we are to glorify God in body and spirit. This means taking care of both. Living healthfully and in a way that nourishes the body and the mind. Paul explains it best in 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Paul notes that all things are lawful for the obedient Christian, but knew he needed to avoid those things that would keep him from fulfilling his calling. He says, “All things are lawful… but not all things are helpful.” In other words, the occasional adult beverage is okay for a Christian, but overdoing it doesn’t help you demonstrate that you’re living for the glory of God
(“… but I will not be brought under the power of any.”)
We are sinners, yes, each and every one of us. That doesn’t mean that we should intentionally seek sin, but rather it means we should avoid those things that make sin easier to accomplish. If you struggle with an alcohol addiction, do not go into a bar. If you struggle with sexual addictions, you will want to avoid the internet where pornographic websites are just a click away.
Know your own weaknesses and avoid putting yourself directly in the path of that which you struggle to resist. For me, that means not even walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store. I struggle with gluttony. But at the same time, I am full of gratitude for the body I was given that allows me to experience life on Earth and all that entails. The best way I know to demonstrate that gratitude is to take care of my body and recognize that it was bought at such a price! I keep going back to what Paul said about all things being lawful for the obedient Christian, but not to be brought under the power of any. The best example I can think of in my own life is coffee. I don’t believe that coffee in of itself is a sin. But the fact that it rules my morning is what is sinful. I seek coffee before I seek His face, and that is sinful.
What habits can you incorporate into your life that will demonstrate to our Father in Heaven that you understand your body is a temple? What changes are you willing to make for His glory? What things are you willing to give up as a show of appreciation and respect for the sacrifice made on your behalf?
(We will talk more about the struggles with sexual immorality later. For today, let’s think about how to live healthier with regards to nutrition, exercise and dropping bad habits (like smoking or fast food). This is a much longer conversation for sure, and should include how we care for our mental well being too.)
PS… you can read more from me regarding healthful living here: