Some time ago a friend and I were reminiscing about our first year in college, when everything seemed so fresh, new, and exciting. There we were, on a huge campus, with hundreds of new people we could meet every day.
Being Grown-up Christians
A Christlike character begins with taking care of ourselves
By Elizabeth Camps
Some time ago a friend and I were reminiscing about our first year in college, when everything seemed so fresh, new, and exciting. There we were, on a huge campus, with hundreds of new people we could meet every day. The possibilities had seemed endless, and we were excited, to say the least.
My friend and I also talked about all the things we experienced for the first time when we came to college. From living in a dorm room with a roommate to cooking our own meals and remembering to do a load of laundry every now and then so we had clean clothes.
Something else was significant. For the first time, we were responsible for ourselves in every way. We were truly on our own; we no longer had Mom and Dad waking us up every morning, making sure we ate regular and healthy meals, and pushing us to go to bed early every night. Now in college, for the first time, we decided when to wake up, when to eat, and when to go to bed. Although we may not have realized it at the time, being completely accountable for oneself is a big responsibility! In the same way that we had full responsibility over ourselves as young adults, God has entrusted us with the full responsibility of taking care of our bodies.
Being Adult Christians
The phrase “Christian behavior” evokes a number of ideas and concepts. We may think about how we should treat and interact with others. We may also think about how we are a reflection of God and the church whenever we interact with those who have never heard the three angels’ messages. Because of this, we often pay careful attention to how we act, and keep in mind to always be a positive influence. But if we take a closer look, we can find that the concept of Christian behavior does not refer only to our relationship with others but also to the way we treat ourselves.
A quick review of the actual wording of fundamental belief 22 is instructive. “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects.” In other words, we practice being followers of Jesus in every part of our lives. This involves not just our interaction with others but also the way we dress. We recognize that clothes can transform appearance, but can never change our character.
This Christlike character does not only represent inner beauty; it also involves our own bodies. It seems that God wants us to not only treat others in a Christlike way but also treat ourselves in a Christlike way.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20, we read that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, meaning that Jesus lives in us and is represented to the world through us. We are called to honor God with our bodies.
How better to honor God than by taking care of this temple He has entrusted to us? This means taking care of our basic health needs, such as making sure we get enough sleep every night, eating well, and drinking enough liquids throughout the day. Paul emphasizes the necessity of taking care of our physical needs in 1 Corinthians 10:31, saying, “If you eat or drink, or if you do anything, do it all for the glory of God.”* Eating and drinking has something to do with our walk with Jesus.
Being an Adult Is Hard
When I entered college as a young adult, the last things on my mind were my sleeping and eating habits. In the hustle and bustle of brand-new classes, work, and many new responsibilities, I often forgot about getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. It was a similar story when it came to my eating habits. I got so caught up with all the busyness of life that I forgot about food and neglected to consciously plan my eating. I just bought or made something that kept me going—quickly.
Even after college, taking care of ourselves is often not our first priority, and it proves to be just as difficult. Our lives become even busier with work projects, families, and church events that keep us occupied. It seems that no matter what stage of life we are in, we have to fight to care for our bodies.
Yet in the midst of all the responsibilities of life, I am drawn to John 14:15: “If you love me,” Jesus tells me, “you will obey my commands.” My motivation for living a Christlike life involving my character, my body, and my mind must be love-driven. If we love God, we will want to honor Him; and God has asked us to honor Him by caring for our bodies. By focusing on God and loving Him, we will have the desire and willingness to care for ourselves.
It’s good to know that God cares about every part of us: the spiritual, the emotional, and the physical. He thinks of even the smallest details for us, and reminds us of it again and again in the Bible, His love letter to us. So when He calls us to live a Christlike life, we must remember that it not only touches those around us—it affects us as well.
* All scriptures in this article are from The Holy Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.