Fearing God Is Good For Your Health
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. - Proverbs 3:7-8
Fear the Lord, turn away from evil. I didn’t understand why doing this would bring healing to a physical body. I didn’t see the connection between soul and soma (the Greek word for body), until I observed Ellie on the playground the other day.
She climbed two flights of stairs to the top of a tower. Overlooking the edge from the top (as I ran over and held up my hands, along with my breath), she slowly backed away and decided to walk down the stairs instead. I breathed out a sigh of relief.
This fear of falling is a learned fear. As a baby, she would crawl close to the edge of couches and beds without any hesitation. As she matured, she developed this natural fear, mostly through experience. I am grateful for this kind of fear, because it protects her from being harmed when I'm not close or fast enough to catch her.
Humanity learned the fear of falling from experience too. After the fall into sin, fear split in two:
- A healthy fear of honoring God as a good Father
- A fear of God as punisher
These fears exist today. We can either believe that God is either for us or against us.
God Is For Us Or Against Us
Job is a man who feared and respected God as a protector:
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” - Job 1:1
Job knew God was not only sovereign but also his Savior throughout every painful experience. In the end, he was rewarded with God’s presence and his physical health was restored. Job knew that God was for him.
The man who buried his treasure was a man who feared God as a punisher:
"He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’" Matthew 25:24-25
This man missed out on what God gave him to be used for his joy and God’s glory because he was afraid. He lived his life in fear of God and suffered for it. This man believed God was against him.
Health To The Body, Refreshment To The Soul
Fearing God, or seeing Him as a loving Father, means trusting Him enough to obey His commandments and turn away from harmful evil. This is the path to life and vitality.
The Bible proclaims it:
"For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:6
Scientific studies confirm it:
“Patients who did not receive spiritual support cost $2,441 more for care in their last week of life than patients who said their spiritual needs were met. In addition, patients who relied on their faith to help deal with their health decline cost slightly less than the average patient. However, among patients who relied on their faith, costs were 174% greater when their spiritual needs were not met compared to those who felt supported spiritually. Aside from intercessory prayer studies, faith clearly has a huge impact on our health.” Rob Moll in What Your Body Knows About God
In response to the above statement in the book, Koenig agrees with Moll: “The ‘owner’s manual’ (the Bible) tells us how to live, believe, and treat others. When we do what it says, health is the result. I’d say that objective research supports that.”
Turning to God and running away from sin is not only health to our body, but refreshment for our souls.
For me, this looks like respecting God’s commands to observe the Sabbath and resist work one day of the week so my body can rest. It means turning away that second piece of cake or glass of wine for fear of gluttony, keeping my body from the evil effects of extra calories and debilitating alcohol. In those moments, I have to believe that God does not want to deny me of anything good. He is for me. He is for you. Believing this is the beginning of health.
What does this look like in your life? How can you fear God and turn away from evil? How does this impact your overall health?