Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on January 1, from president of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. Elder Wilson will release a new video each week. You can see past messages here.
Happy New Year, friends! Everyone likes to have a new beginning—especially after experiencing such challenges as we faced in 2020! And while we don’t know exactly what the new year holds, we can be assured that God does, and we can be confident and secure in Him as we trust and follow Jesus in 2021.
A new year is a gift—an opportunity for a new beginning. It’s a time to try new things, change old habits, and make better choices—especially when it comes to health—both physically and mentally.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we have known for a long time about the important connection between mind and body. In 1875, Ellen White wrote:
“Between the mind and the body there is a mysterious and wonderful relation. They react upon each other. To keep the body in a healthy condition to develop its strength, that every part of the living machinery may act harmoniously, should be the first study of our life. To neglect the body is to neglect the mind. It cannot be to the glory of God for His children to have sickly bodies or dwarfed minds” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 485, 486).
Adventist health practices have been noticed around the world and studies show that those practicing the Adventist lifestyle of eating a plant-based diet, getting regular exercise, abstaining from harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating nuts regularly can significantly increase a person’s life expectancy by several years.
Getting off to a good start can go a long way in maintaining healthy habits. I was fortunate that from my childhood, my parents were very careful about living a healthy lifestyle. I’ve been a vegetarian all my life. Water, rest and exercise were all important aspects in our home.
I believe it is vital parents provide a healthy lifestyle at home. It lays a foundation that will last throughout their children’s lives. And providing not only instruction, but, more importantly, a daily, practical living demonstration will speak volumes to young people in the home. Parents, you have an enormous influence on your children.
Throughout my life, I’ve continued to practice what I learned in my early years. I haven’t had any problem eating a plant-based diet, and research has shown that this diet provides much more physical stamina and greatly reduces the chances for heart disease and stroke.
Nancy is a great cook and has found many ways to provide very tasty and delightful vegetarian, plant-based meals.
For exercise, I really enjoy walking, and try to walk at least 2 miles (3 kilometers) each day. Although walking takes longer than jogging or cycling, it’s so easy and you can notice many wonderful things around you as you walk. In addition, you can download and listen to the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy or other uplifting material while you walk. To find time for devotions and exercise, it’s important to plan ahead for these important aspects of a strong, healthy life.
Sleep is another very important component to healthy living. Doctors recommend adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, with children and teens needing even more. Getting enough sleep has numerous health benefits, including boosting our immune system and helping us to think clearly. When we don’t get enough sleep, it affects us in many negative ways that are detrimental to good health. It’s so important to get adequate rest and sleep.
Other ways of staying healthy include drinking plenty of water—at least 8 to 10 glasses a day. You’ll be amazed how refreshing this is, and what an energy boost simple, clean water can give! Being outside in the fresh air and sunlight is also important for good health. Even when it’s cold, you can dress up warmly and go out for a brisk walk or other enjoyable outdoor activities.
As followers of Christ, it’s important to choose carefully what we eat and drink, to take time to exercise, to drink plenty of water, to be sure to get our much-needed rest, and to consider how we look at life in general as we lean on Christ each day.
It’s interesting to note that the spiritual and physical aspects of life are very much bound together. We are reminded of this in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20: "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” I encourage you to read God’s Word and see how many health blessings are provided in Scripture. I also encourage you to read books such as The Ministry of Healing, Medical Ministry, Counsels on Health, and Counsels on Diet and Foods. All of these books and more are available for free download at egwwritings.org.
As we submit to the Lord and follow His health laws outlined in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, we become healthier, happier, and holier—all through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, none of this is possible. But God will add His incredible blessings when you ask Him to help you to live healthfully, enjoying life to the fullest. Jesus said, in
John 10:10, '” . . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
May you have a happy, healthy, abundant life in this new year!
Let’s pray together. Father in heaven, thank you for the marvelous instruction you given to us in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy about living healthfully, that our mind and our body are so tied together in a marvelous way and that we are to eat properly, drink appropriately and exercise and keep our body in good condition, getting enough rest and trusting in you for all things. Lord bless us as we enter the New Year, give us an understanding of your mission and vision for our lives, as we help people to focus upon the tremendous messages of Revelation 14 those Three Angels Messages with Christ and his righteousness at the core, drawing people to the true worship of God and helping them to prepare through the grace of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for Christ soon Second Coming. Thank you for hearing us and thank you for your blessing during the New Year of 2021, in Jesus name we ask it, Amen!