When I first became a Christian I was an independent, fundamentalist, King James Bible-only Baptist. The only thing in life that was important was telling someone “how to get saved.” Every person I met I had to tell about Jesus and “how to get saved,” because if I didn’t tell him, then “his blood would be on my hands,” I would say. When I became an Anabaptist (for lack of a better description) a few years later, the only thing that was important was making sure I love Jesus. In both situations, earthly things were evil. Pursuing practical things, preparing for the future, desiring to make my community, state, or nation better, or seeking a healthy lifestyle were prohibited thoughts. All that mattered were “eternal things.” Jesus was coming back soon anyway right? Why bother with any of these unimportant, worldly pursuits?
Anyhow, now that I am Reformed, I have come to see the importance of glorifying God in everything we do even if it’s just in how we live our day to day life. I hope to explain here three helpful principles my family lives by.
1) To live as healthily as possible
2) To be as thrifty as possible
3) To be as independent as possible
Of course, all of the above must be done in a balance so that they do not conflict with higher principles, but the end goal of all these principles is to advance the kingdom of our Lord by glorifying him on the earth with our lives. I will summarize the three principles briefly here in this article. The next few articles of this series will cover the details of each, highlighting practical things that my wife and I have implemented over the ten years of our marriage. Believe me, we didn’t learn everything at once! We are still learning. It has actually been a fun adventure, trying to incorporate more and more healthy living while trying to save more and more money at the same time. It’s quite challenging, particularly since the upfront cost of many healthy choices are much higher than the standard way that most folks live.
I hope to encourage you all to start engaging in a better way of life. For example, many people that I talk to would well be on their way practicing healthy living if only they were better informed. Many mainstream people will have you either believe false ideas about healthy living completely, or ignore such issues as if they were not important pursuits to undertake. Christians have bought into this mindset also. But like good Jesus-followers, modern Christians love to find a Bible verse to justify what they are already intent on doing, especially if it makes it ever-so convenient and comfortable for them.
It’s easy to quote from the Bible about how we should be concerned about spiritual things and not earthly things, as we chow down absolute junk like McDonald’s “food” and ignore other verses about being good stewards of what God has given us – including our bodies. “It doesn’t matter,” he says. “All that matters is that I’m going to heaven when I die. I need to focus on the more important things like getting people saved, brother!” And the people of the world look at the guy like he’s an absolute moron. These Christians are going to die early, or get cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions. But it doesn’t matter because “he’s doing it for Jesus”!
And how many Christians do you know that are absolutely horrible when it comes to responsibility in finances and how they handle their spending? Shouldn’t Christians, with a proper understanding of what being a good steward of what God has given us means, be at the top of the list of people who are wise with finances? People should be looking at us and pointing to us as examples of people who do it the right way. What better way to bring people to an understanding of the gospel than to relate to them in real life evidence of things that work. Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to financial issues; Biblical wisdom in this area is much needed.
One of the outgrowths of living healthily and being wise financially is independence. Independence in the godly Biblical sense of the word. If you have the ability to not be in debt and to make the good decisions in monetary issues, and if you are able to take control of your health, then you are going to be less dependent upon others, particularly big government and big corporations and will have resources left over to be able to help others in need. For example, if you can grow a lot of your own food, raise chickens for eggs and meat and goats or cows for milk, if you can use herbs skillfully when your family is ill and avoid illness because of your excellent health choices, then you do not have to be dependent upon some government-controlled doctor except in extreme or unusual circumstances. And if you can persuade, convince, and teach others to do the same, you are building a foundation for freedom where you live and a real community of like minded people who can support each other.
Here is a preview of what is to come, things we have adapted into our lives:
- Making homemade laundry detergent, using cloth diapers, cloth “paper” towels, natural soaps, toothpastes, lotions, etc.
- Making homemade peanut butter, mayonnaise, vanilla, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Using natural, homemade, or herbal remedies for sickness and discomfort
- Using whole wheat and grinding fresh wheat for daily cooking
- Growing your own food, preparing “convenience” foods, spices, and mixes
- Selecting durable long-lasting products to maximize your dollars and increase health benefits
- Survival and food storage techniques
- Thrift methods, second-hand shopping, and ways to get things for free
We will be covering much more in this series of articles. In each of the aforementioned practices, there are varying degrees of benefits, whether they be health benefits, financial benefits, or benefits regarding independence and survival. Everyone’s situation is a bit different and some of these practices may not be practical for you at this point in time, but at the very least we hope to be able to instill in you a mindset of pursuing health, thrift, and independence to the greatest degree possible in the situation God has placed you. It is our hope that you will be able to glean from things we have learned over the years and be able to apply as much as possible in your own situation. Perhaps even just getting started in this direction will inspire you to pursue and accomplish far more than what we will be able to.