If ever there was a time that required and demanded the top point of efficiency in activities and endeavors, the present day does. This is so because all of us are under a stress and strain that our forebears little knew. The life they lived in a month, we crowd into a day. Ours is truly a speeded-up existence. The wear and tear of modern life is having its sinister results in the physical life of every human being. This is true of the three departments of human expression—body, mind, and soul.
1. The Bodily Forces.—Because of the nervous stress of our times, many are unable to stand the daily grind. The result is functional disorders of all kinds. Nerve exhaustion, worry, and emotional instability are taking their dread toll. As to organic disorders, the tale is pathetic. At a time when strong hearts are needed to meet the increased issues of life, heart disease is tremendously on the advance. And what is true of the heart, is equally true of the kidneys, the stomach, and other important body organs. There is only one way to keep the body fit for this heavy strain, and that is by giving personal and individual attention to our bodily forces, to see that proper care is taken of them.
The difficulty is with ourselves. We do not properly guard our health so as to secure the optimum of physical efficiency. If we would give half the attention to our bodies in the cause of health that we give to our autos for transportation, we would be a fitter generation to meet a fiercer environment. To the Seventh-day Adventist, this can mean nothing but a challenge to observe the principles of sound health reform.
2. The Mental Function.—Mentally, we are faced with the need of clear thinking in a confused and muddled world. Immersed as we are in a milieu of perplexity and uncertainty, decisive and crystal-clear thinking is imperative. The one way to get this is to have a proper balance between bodily function and mind function. Neglect of the body is the result of the neglect of the mind. The two cannot be separated. They form an unbreakable unity. A sour stomach makes for a sour mind. An aching tooth makes for a troubled mind. Much of the confused thinking of today can be attributed directly to indifference and neglect of that which must be the foundation of right mental operation—bodily vigor and strength.
3. Spirtual Values.—Religion and spirituality likewise owe much to proper physical health. While there have been saints of God whose bodies have been racked with pain and stricken with depressing disease, as a general thing, sainthood does not come through the path of physical disability and physical weakness. The example of the greatest character that ever lived, Jesus of Nazareth, ought to have much significance for all. We do not read that He was ever ill. The picture we get is a perfect and smooth functioning of bodily and soul forces in the great Galilean. It is no wonder that His life ran so smoothly on the road of moral and spiritual accomplishment. So far as His own relationship to human living was concerned, the interferometer of life recorded no appreciable hindrance to the attainment of His goal. That lesson is needed by all of us, to see to it that we, individually, function through our own right habits of living without self-caused impediment. These words of Sister White should be impressed deeply upon our hearts:
"I am instructed to bear a message to all our people on the subject of health reform; for many have backslidden from their former loyalty to health reform principles. God's purpose for His children is that they shall grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. In order to do this, they must use aright every power of mind, soul, and body. They cannot afford to waste any mental or physical strength."—"Counsels on Health," p. 127.
There is no equivocation here. The heavenly advice is that if we would be well-rounded children of God, we must "use aright every power of mind, soul, and body." We "cannot afford to waste any mental or physical strength." Again, the messenger of the Lord writes :
"Seventh-day Adventists are handling momentous truths. More than forty years ago the Lord gave us special light on health reform, but how are we walking in that light? How many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God! As a people, we should make advancement proportionate to the light received. It is our duty to understand and respect the principles of health reform. On the subject of temperance we should be in advance of all other people; and yet there are among us well-instructed members of the church, and even ministers of the gospel, who have little respect for the light that God has given upon this subject. They eat as they please, and work as they please."—Id., pp. 131, 132.
Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 that we are to present our "bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," which is our spiritual service. According to the apostle, to attend to the spiritual values of life is not enough. The responsibility includes more than that. It indicates the safeguarding of our bodily health, as well as the care of the soul. May God help us to meet the challenge in His way.