The Health of an Earthen Vessel

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”


I ended the last post with “to be continued.” Well, it has taken me long enough to continue! I was preparing to tell a bit about what I’ve learned about health from my studies and experience. But what has kept me from this blog? I have been completing my doctoral research project.  I’m now revising my final draft and should graduate in two months! Before I discuss my doctoral research, I need to share some thoughts about personal health. Does your earthen vessel require much attention? If not, how blessed to be able to take it for granted!


My mind always thinks in structures or frameworks first and then places the data. That’s why curriculum design was such a good career focus for me. As I’ve sought to figure out my health over my adulthood, I’ve wanted to find patterns. Dealing with fibromyalgia in the 1980s – 2005 was like wandering though a dark maze. I received very poor guidance from the medical field. In the last ten or so years, the medical world has made some progress with this health dilemma.

I’ve come to recognize that every principle that applies to someone with fibromyalgia applies to someone with any other health issue and to someone with no apparent health issue. Yes, individual distinctions and plans must be made. However, the bottom line is the need is to align one’s way of living with God’s design for the human body, housing the human spirit/soul/heart — on planet earth! The results vary because of our compromised genes and environments, and because of various lacks in knowledge and opportunity — all encompassed by God’s emphatic design for the brevity of our earthly lives. Nonetheless, we are stewards of what we are given.

I’ve read and studied, experimented, tried numerous treatment programs, worked under various doctors, and so on and so on until I’m exhausted.

For me, a good framework can be found in the life of Christ in Luke 2:52. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” This verse is typically applied in education as the four areas of human development: mental, physical, spiritual, and social/relational. To be physically healthy, we must seek holistic health — well rounded and not compartmentalized. Each area integrates with the others. The word health means wholeness. To heal means to be made whole.

Conventional health care, as I’ve experienced it, has proved to be too reactionary (and narrow in scope) rather than proactive, nurturing, educational, preventative, and team-building. From the chaos and failure of conventional medicine, alternative healthcare is burgeoning. The broad world of alternative healthcare seeks to work with the ways of nature. The hard part for Christians is the evolutionary, non-biblical (often a nature-worshiping) spirituality of alternative approaches to health. Yet, most of conventional medicine is evolutionary also (worshiping and serving the creation (nature) rather than the Creator; Note Romans 1: 25), while trying to be purely empirical, material, and evidence based (non-spiritual in orientation when it really cannot be).

Our food supply also impacts our health. Our grocery stores are impacted by giant agricultural businesses that are willing to compromise the best interests of human health in order to serve their primary goal of financial profit. Also, owners of health food companies may have leanings that do not align with my biblical worldview. What do I do?

I do not throw the baby out with the bath water. If I did so, I’d be, as it were, alone on my own island (and would have to commit suicide). Hmm. When you are on a path that leads you to give up, you are on the wrong path.

Principles from Romans 14 and I Corinthians chapters 8 and 10 on meats sacrificed to idols (as well as other passages on related issues) may offer some applicable principles in dealing with our food supply and health care. Wow. A whole series of discussions would benefit us.

My bottom line: I aim to be a good steward of my life (which is His) and the resources God gives me or makes available to me. God can provide for me through companies operating from bad motives and for bad causes. God does not ask me (although some are called to fight such battles) to attempt to fix those things any more than he asked first century, Christian slaves to correct the social injustices of the Roman Empire. They were to serve their masters with integrity, for they were serving Christ and would be rewarded by God. Yes, there’s a difference here, but also a similarity. Ironically (Is it really ironic?), the gospel of Christ did change the ways the cultures it infiltrated viewed many social issues, but that’s another topic. Read From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth A. Tucker. Fantastic.)

So, I sort through available resources about health, learn what I can, pray, experiment, and live as healthily as I can in order to love and serve God and people in some specific ways. Within my many limitations, I find opportunities. Hopefully, this is part of growing in wisdom.

Here is some of the health wisdom I’ve learned. Oh, you may find this to be ridiculously obvious, but it is often the obvious that we overlook.

1. Foremost, real food equals fuel and house cleaners.

2. Clean water cleanses me and keeps my cells happier.

3. Deep breathing oxygenates my cells, helping to lower pain.

4. My body needs to move in planned and natural ways.

5. My mind needs to be active on multiple levels: aware of God’s presence (“in Him I live and move and have my being”) and focused on an assortment of daily tasks. Menial tasks can be as missional as any others and thus satisfying.

6. To the degree that I can control my environment, it should be orderly with controlled clutter, as well as visually pleasant, and auditorily calming or pleasing. (Here is my favorite online station: Majesty Radio plays classical music and traditional Christian; I like it all except when I hear the bells, the bells, the bells!)

7. Since I am created to love and serve God and others, each day’s goals, to varying degrees, should serve these purposes. The yummy fruit that grows are peace and joy.

I try to live by these are fundamental principles. There are others, but these are basic to my life. However, these are principles, not pictures; they are life maxims, not recipes nor narratives. What do these principles look like when lived out? That’s where we’re headed for my next post.

Blessings to you.


Thank you for your patience as I have been occupied with completing another degree. I am looking forward to a better schedule of posts.

In case you did not read my last post, or it’s been a long time since you did, the following is the latter part of it, which introduces today’s post. I was encouraged by re-reading it. Yes, I forget what I’ve written, and God speaks to me at times when I re-read! Chuckle.


. . . I’m talking about sending treasures ahead to heaven. Crazy idea. I got it from Jesus. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus explains,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust        destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Jesus is not asking us to be “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good,” as some say religious folk are. He is claiming the opposite. The more we do good, unselfishly, the more we lay up treasures in heaven. That is, our Christ-like character is what we send to heaven. It is core to the eternal part of us — the shaping of our spirit-soul to reflect God as His image bearers as we were meant to be/do. The context of what Jesus said (Matthew 6:16-24) is fasting and what people do in secret that God sees. Jesus said God repays us according to what we do in secret!

This is so encouraging, because when we are very sick, even immobilized, we can be growing in what God treasures most about us — our inner person being transformed. II Corinthians 3:18 says,

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 

When we are very sick, we can grow and glorify our Lord. When we have health to serve others, we can grow and glorify our Lord. Either way, we are laying up treasures. God sees to it that His work is done.

So, I’ve been growing in health and want to use what health I have to bless others through the simple contributions I am blessed to give.  One way I want to do that is to share what I’ve learned about growing in physical health, as well as spiritual health, with you!

Sending treasures to Heaven is satisfying, but first, God has sent His treasure to us, empowering us to send treasures to Heaven. Ahh! Beautiful!

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”



Categories: Being Like Jesus, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

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