Monday, September 29, 2008

One for All and All for One!

1 Corinthians 12:20, 26 But now indeed there are many members yet one body...And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.

On the surface this may seem like a "duh" rather than an "aha" moment. Which one of us can pray and worship God wholeheartedly when our head is splitting or our back is aching? It's very clear our physical condition impacts both our spirit and our soul, which is our mind, will and emotions and vice versa. If you are upset with one of your children or worried about something, you may experience the effects of that anxiety and tension in the form of a neck ache or upset stomach. Conversely, just try to sit quietly and read your devotional when you are angry or hurt by something your husband or a friend said - it is nearly impossible!

However, what has amazed me about the deeper truth of this scripture is that our bodies are created to work as integrated systems - each part works in concert with the others. When we are healthy, we are experiencing this harmony of cells, organs and systems. Our God is very big on wholeness (shalom - nothing missing, nothing broken).

Referring to the Body of Christ, this scripture points out that even we who make up His little toe are just as important as those who comprise His heart. It holds true physically as well. (Just stub your toe and you'll agree!) This was brought into sharp relief recently when a friend was experiencing dental problems. She had an infected tooth that was causing problems not only in her mouth, but in her sinuses, head, neck and eyes as well! Research now shows that gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems. Left untreated, that bacteria has been proven to directly cause heart problems, which another friend can certainly attest to. She related that her cousin was advised by her dentist after a checkup to contact a cardiologist immediately as she had advanced gum disease. She ignored the warning until she began experiencing alarming symptoms several years later. By then, her heart was so damaged, her only medical recourse was a heart transplant. Imagine, the impact of one tiny tooth! This may sound extreme, but it is true.

Perhaps a more obvious connection is how dental health affects digestion. Missing teeth may cause the inability to chew food properly which negatively impacts your digestion. Without proper digestion, your entire body suffers. Some health practitioners, particularly those versed in Chinese medicine, even see a connection between your dental health and your respiratory system.

We truly are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). God created every cell of our bodies for a specific purpose, just as He created each one of us to fulfill a specific plan and purpose with our lives. Let's honor God by caring for these amazing bodies He so carefully and lovingly created for us!

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