Why I Love the SDA Health Message

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I love the SDA health message. Now before I tell you why, allow me to make one thing very clear. When talking about health and what foods we should eat or shouldn’t eat I am not talking about salvation. I don’t believe anyone will enter heaven because they ate or didn’t eat certain foods. Salvation is by grace through faith not works; therefore, a healthy lifestyle will not add one grain of sand to what Jesus did on the cross for me. Apart from Christ a healthy person is just a sinner with longevity.


So why talk about it? Suppose someone pointed a gun at your head and told you, “either you deny Jesus Christ or I’ll kill you.” What would you do? Would you choose to die for Christ? My question then is, Why would you choose to die for Christ? Dying for Jesus is not a requirement for salvation. If you are not going to be saved by your “dying for Christ” then why do it? Most likely your answer would be something like, “While being a martyr doesn’t save me I love Jesus too much to deny him.”

This is precisely the same reason why I talk about health. It doesn’t save me in the least bit but out of my love for Jesus I choose to be healthy. Why? If it doesn’t save me then why do it? Again, because I love Jesus and I want my life to be a reflection of his love for others. I want to live as long as possible and be as strong as possible so I can reach as many people as possible for Him. Not only that, but Jesus commands me to be healthy. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”[1] “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”[2] “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”[3]


Are there people who take health too seriously to the point that they are legalistic about it? Absolutely. Growing up I experienced that a lot in my church and family. These are the people who are, in my way of putting it, “health Nazis.” For them, everything is evil and all you can eat is a raw vegan diet that only a rabbit would enjoy.[4] However, the Bible says that Jesus came to give us an abundant life. Walking around all day fretting about what you can and cannot eat is neither abundant living nor is it what Jesus has in mind when He commands us to be healthy. Jesus wants us to have an abundant life – the best life possible. Even secular, non-religious people recognize that the best life is a healthy life. TV shows like the Biggest Loser or Extreme Makeover Weight-loss Edition make millions by documenting the journeys of unhealthy, overweight people as they fight to get their lives back. In the end, those who succeed are always happier than they were when they were living however they wanted to before. In light of this, I find it troubling that so many Christians live however they want and eat however they want in the name of “freedom in Christ.” Christ didn’t come to set us free so that we could dig ourselves into an early grave. He came to set us free so that we could rise above the addictions and habits that ruin our lives. Of all people, Christians should be the healthiest, happiest, and most vibrant. God has given us principles for healthy living that promise us a more enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding life. Again, this has nothing to do with earning favor with God or with gaining salvation. It has to do with allowing God to restore us to the best us that He wants us to be.

I have some friends in New Jersey who are SDA. They have never embraced the health message. They are in their 60’s now. Between the husband and wife they have had several strokes, are overweight, and practically live in the doctor’s office and hospital. Instead of spending that time with their grandchildren or sharing Christ with their neighbors, they are sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for him to give them medication and some health tips (which the Bible has without a price tag on it). What a difference that is from Stan Will my old landlord. When I met him he was 92 years old, healthy as an ox, and independent. No health problems whatsoever. He even lifted weights and would do a push up for every year of his life (92!) three times a week. He preached at my church, and man! What a sermon! He gave us Bible studies and he could still quote scripture from memory. There are people who at 50 years old can’t even do half of what Stan could do. Stan’s secret was no secret at all. He lived the health message. If I have to choose how to spend my twilight years, like my friends in New Jersey or like Stan Will, I would much rather spend them like Stan Will. God knows best. Be healthy! Enjoy your life to the fullest.

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[1] 1 Cor 6:19-20
[2] 1 Cor 10:31
[3] 1 Cor 3:17
[4] There’s nothing wrong with being a raw vegan. What I am contesting here are those who not only eat this way but think everyone else should also. 

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