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Body and health-- parallel illustration & comparisons

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Alcott, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2002
    The parallel, that is, to the inherantly more important spiritual dimension of human existence. We read and discuss much about how our bodies are not our own, that we are responsible for taking care of them .... but sooner or later it comes down to comparing smoking to overeating, drinking alcohol to eating sugar and fat, sometimes even refusing daily exercise to refusing daily prayer.

    But what is the purpose of such comparisons? In most cases, it approaches the line of trying to convince ourselves that my shortcomings arent as bad as yours-- i.e., one guy smokes but doesn't drink, the next guy drinks but doesn't smoke, and the third guy neither drinks nor smokes but eats his fill of pork chops, fried foods, and cake, pie and ice cream and needs to lose 70 pounds. Well, nobody's perfect-- Jack LaLanne, the original 'live longer and feel better' exercise and nutrition proponent, died last January at 95, and cigar-smoking George Burns made it to 100. Winston Churchill smoked 16 cigars and drank a pint of whiskey a day, and ate who knows how much of what, and yet he lived to 91.

    So proper diet, exercise, and abstinence of harmful substances are no guarantee of a longer, more useful life. So if we don't take care of our bodies, that means we are gambling, hoping to beat the unlikely odds and live useful lives anyway-- or else we don't care, which probably means we don't really see the reason to live longer with greater physical abilities, and everything that produces, like our attitudes and diligence about almost anything.

    The point is, though, do we miss the most complete, most elementary picture that God supplies for us? The Bible does tell us to take care of our bodies, but it also says, somewhere in Timothy, that physical exercise profits little, with the context being in comparison to the spiritual dimension. The body, to function effectively, and certainly to a reasonable maximum, must be nourished with good foods that build and maintain it, must be kept reasonably free from substances that harm it, and must be used [exercised] to stay in top condition. On the parallel spiritual side, we have the food of every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; refusing the harmful of compromising teachings, trends, or fads; and we maintain by Bible study, prayers, fellowship, and contributing our abilities and entrustments. But, like the physical body side, we can do some of these things and ignore others, and convince ourselves we are better than someone else who fails in what we do, but shines better in our failures. With either dimension, we want to get caught up in our self-righteous disputes and something like it's better to eat a quart of ice cream than to drink one beer, or if you don't tithe then daily prayer and Bible study are useless.

    The illustration is simpler than that, and should be looked upon for what it shows us personally; not what we want it to show about someone else in order to elevate ourselves. So such questions as "Why put more taxes on cigarettes instead of new taxes on French fries?" mean little as far as what this outstanding illustration is meant to show us. Comparisons may be 'human nature'-- all the arguments on this board among us whose goals and beliefs are not really that different shows that-- but we should care for our own body and our own soul regardless of what we see anyone else doing.
  2. Benjamin

    Benjamin Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2004
    I recently finished my physical therapy clinical practicum at a skilled nursing facility where I performed interventions with patients who mostly ranged between 75-95 years of age. A majority of these patients were injured from a fall, others had been bedridden for various illnesses, but all had a decrease in strength and had lost their functional independence. It was my job to help them restore their functional independence through strength, balance, coordination and endurance training. A few things I encountered was that my patients often came with just as many emotional needs as physical and there is more need for consoling, empathy and finding words of encouragement than I had expected as I treated people who are entering new chapters in their lives.

    Some would work really hard because they wanted to be independent once again and to go back to their homes and I did everything possible to help them reach that goal and to remain safe there. Some would never be safely independent but the goal was to improve their mobility and transfer skills for a better quality life. Unfortunately, for a few it boiled down to their cognitive skills fading so even if we made great improvements in their physical strength they were still at risk to be at home alone. But the saddest situations is where they had good cognitive skills but their physical bodies had been neglected too long and they typically had co-morbidities that prevented them from making the significant strength gains they would need to be functionally independent.

    It is eye opening to see and work with people first hand who are for the first time in their lives are struggling to improve or just keep some kind of quality in their life by taking care of/exercising their bodies because they suddenly are realizing that life as it was will be no more without it. Don’t wait till it’s too late to make that decision to keep your body fit.

    I just finished an in-service project report about the importance of maintaining walking gait speed because of its relationship to maintaining functional independence and one’s life expectancy. Walking speed (WS) measurements are becoming known as the sixth vital sign and in recent studies have proven to be very accurate at predicting future functional independence levels. By one maintaining the physical ability to walk at a good pace the odds of keeping a quality lifestyle are greatly improved!