By A.W. Pink
Now it seems to us that we should begin with the subject of health, for prevention is better than cure. O what a priceless boon is a sound body and good health: a boon which is denied to some from birth, and which few really appreciate till it be taken from them. It has long impressed the writer what a remarkable thing it is that any of us enjoy any health at all, seeing that we have six thousand years of sinful heredity behind us! It is due alone to the goodness and kindness of God that the great majority enter this world with more or less sound bodies and reach youth in the bloom of health. But sin and folly then take heavy toll and the constitutions of millions are wrecked before middle life is reached. Nor is it always brought about by wicked intemperance and dissipation. Often it is the outcome of ignorance, through failure to heed some of the most elementary laws of hygiene. Alas the majority of people will learn in no other school than that of hard and bitter experience and consequently most of them only discover how to live when the time comes for them to die. True we cannot put old heads on young shoulders, yet if the inexperienced are too proud to heed the counsels of the mature then they must reap the consequences.
Now surely, other things being equal, the Christian ought to enjoy better health than the non-Christian. Why so? Why, because if his walk be regulated by God's Word he will at least be preserved from those diseases which are the fruit of certain transgressions. The English word "holiness" means wholeness, soundness. The more we are kept from sinning the more shall we escape its consequences. "Godliness is profitable unto all things (the body as well as the soul), having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:8). One of the basic laws of health is the Sabbatic statute. "The Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27), for his good, because he needed it. It was made for man that he might be a man, something more than a beast of burden or a human treadmill. His body needs it as truly as does his soul. This has been unmistakably demonstrated in this country. When France collapsed and the British Isles faced the most desperate crisis of their long history, the government foolishly ordered that those in the coal mines and munitions factories must work seven days a week, but they soon learned that the workmen produced less than they did in six days--they could not stand up to the additional strain.
By resting from manual toil on the Sabbath man is enabled to recuperate his strength for the labors of the week lying ahead, yet that cannot be accomplished by attending one meeting after another on that day, nor by exhausting one's strength through lengthy walks to and from the services--moving the tent nearer the altar is the remedy--still less by profaning the Sabbath in carnal "recreation." Another Divine precept which promotes health is, "he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isa. 28:16). Side by side with the speeding tempo of modern life we behold the multiplying nervous disorders, and those who are murdered or maimed on the highway. For many years we have avoided motor cars, buses and trains whenever the distance to be covered was not too great to walk, not using them more than two or three times in a twelve-month. Rushing around, hurrying and scurrying hither and thither, is not only injurious but a violation of the Divine rule: "He that hasteth with his feet sinneth" (Prov. 19:2)--which means exactly what it says.
"Take therefore no anxious thought for the morrow" (Matt. 6:34). How good health is promoted by obedience to this precept scarcely needs pointing out. It is carking care and worry which disturbs the mind, affects circulation, impairs digestion, and prevents restful sleep. If the Christian would cast all his care on the Lord (1 Pet. 5:7) what freedom from anxiety would be his. "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10)--physically as well as spiritually. What a tome to a wearied body and tired mind it is to delight ourselves in the Lord: "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine" (Prov. 17: 22). "My son, attend to My words . . . for they are life unto those that find them and health to all his flesh" (Prov. 4:20, 22): do we really believe this? "Fear the Lord and depart from evil: it shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones" (Prov. 3:7, 8).
Godly living is conducive to healthiness of mind and body, and other things being equal that will be one of its bi-products. By "other things being equal" we mean: as in the case of one who is not suffering for the sins of his father; who did not ruin his constitution by debauchery before conversion; and who exercises ordinary common sense in attending to the elementary rules of hygiene. One who is "temperate in all things" (1 Cor. 9:25) will escape many or all of those ills which is the price which has to be paid for intemperance. Scripture does not require us to be either Spartans or Epicureans but to "let our moderation be known unto all" (Phil. 4:5). God "giveth richly all things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17), yet not to abuse. "Every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused" (1 Tim. 4:4) providing it is used aright, but His choicest creatures p rove harmful if used to excess. God has provided great variety in nature, and each one has to learn for himself what best suits him and deny himself of that which disagrees.