Caring for Your Heart in a Body-Driven Culture

Kim Greenleaf

Kim has been on the ministry team at Washington Alliance part time for seven years, and one of her greatest passions is kids and families and seeing them find Jesus irresistible.

Healthy eating, exercise, and getting more sleep have been on my mind lately. With each passing birthday, I am reminded that I am not in my twenties any longer! Even if I try to ignore this fact, my body quickly reminds me! Gone are the days of staying up all night and still being able to function on little to no sleep. Gone are the days of a high metabolism that allowed me to not worry about how much I was eating. 

So, now, I am more conscious about how much sleep I get, what food choices I make, and how much exercise I can squeeze into my week. Do I fail miserably at all of these things some days…definitely! However, each day is a new beginning that allows me to start over and try again. 

Focusing on our bodies is very popular in our culture today. People are often seeking the latest diets, exercise regimens, or vitamins and supplements that can improve their quality of life.

None of these things are evil at all. In fact, our bodies are magnificent creations of our God. We were knit together in our mother’s wombs. We were created in His image. Our bodies are called the temple of the Holy Spirit once we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior. Taking care of our bodies is one way we can glorify our Creator.

The problem lies when our sole focus is on our earthly bodies and not our eternal souls.

While attending the Alliance National Council with my husband this month, I witnessed many interesting interactions of people. The Conference Center was a massive venue that was able to house thousands of people all under one roof. The Alliance Council, that included over 2,500 people, was only one of the conferences being held that week. 

There were several other groups at the venue, including a large group promoting a popular dietary supplement. This group also had several hundred if not more people in attendance. Since we were all staying at the same location, we “rubbed shoulders” with each other on a regular basis throughout the week. 

Often, during simple observations of the mass of people around me, I witnessed stark contrasts. At one glance I would see people decked out in athletic gear taking countless selfies and then look but a few feet away and see a small group of other people praying earnestly together. 

I must admit it was almost comical at times to see such different interactions. There were times that I even felt guilty for eating my carb-laden banana in the elevator instead of drinking a protein shake like those around me.

These observations got me thinking: How much emphasis do I put on my physical health as compared to my spiritual health? Do I worry more about my body than my heart?

As I pondered these thoughts, I recalled verses I have heard and read countless times. 

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

What does God think of MY HEART?  Is he pleased?

Proverbs 4:20-23 (ESV)

My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Am I being attentive to God’s Word? Am I vigilant about the condition of my heart? 

These reminders from scripture spoke to me so personally that week. Sure, I will still be concerned about my physical body with each passing birthday. However, more importantly, I will remember the encounters I had while here at Council and strive to keep my heart in “tip, top shape”!  

A heart that pleases the Lord and brings life to those around me is my goal, with or without wearing the latest athletic apparel and drinking the next popular dietary supplement!