Just over three years ago, my young, healthy and joyful wife was diagnosed with the very same cancer that had attacked her father at the very same age. Her dad fought hard, but he died just two years after the diagnosis at the age of 39.
When the doctors told us the news, we could almost feel the fear enter the room as we began to look at the path ahead. But today, by the miraculous grace of God, my wife is cancer-free.
Cancer is something that affects us all. It’s everywhere! At a recent speaking engagement, I asked the audience if they had been personally impacted by cancer, and I wasn’t surprised when every single hand in the room was raised.
Obviously, cancer affects us emotionally as well as physically. It’s a word that invokes a gut reaction and can bring us to our knees with fear. It’s a battle, a fight, a war. And it can seem insurmountable.
Cancer is a powerful enemy, and I believe God calls us to be aggressive as we fight it–both in prayer and action. At one moment we are called to trust and surrender, and in the next to take up arms and fight. That’s what it means to be aggressive: daily doing battle in the heavenly realms, prayerfully asking God to move and do what only He can do. During our fight, we need God to do surgery inside us at the heart and soul level. We need Him to change our internal environment, both spiritually and physically.
But fighting cancer also involves doing battle at the street level, engaging it vigilantly. We have a responsibility to, as Scripture tells us, “rid ourselves,” “put to death,” and “take off.” We must “be ready” and “pick up our crosses.” Diligence and discipline must reign.
The best method of cancer treatment is, without a doubt, prevention. But in today’s toxic world, that can be difficult, regardless of how healthy we consider our lifestyle. My wife and I have counseled and coached many friends through cancer journeys, and we have witnessed the healing hand of God in some desperate situations. But we have also seen death.
Think the aggressive fight for health is optional? Think again! It’s part of our calling as followers of Christ.
From the Word:
“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Those who have defeated cancer often have two things in common. First, they were aggressive in the initial fight, incorporating prayer, surgery, treatment, nutrition and supplements. Second, once the cancer was gone, they all made the mistake of thinking the battle was over, and they relaxed. They stopped doing many of the things that had put them on the path to health, and as a result, the cancer returned to many of them.
Certainly, there’s never a guarantee that if we do all the right things cancer won’t attack us or return after a battle, but it makes sense to constantly pursue an aggressive, healthy path of prevention. Below are three main areas in which we must fight for health:
1. Fuel – We have to eat foods that promote good health by stabilizing blood sugar, improving digestion and boosting the immune system. Heavily processed foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber and nutrients must go. Fast food, sweets and unhealthy snacks create an unhealthy internal environment that can compromise our immune systems and open the door to illness.
Instead, we must turn to natural products such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish; add probiotics like yogurt and kefir; and incorporate supplements that boost antioxidant levels. (For encouragement, read Daniel 1:12, 15.)
2. Rest – Most serious illnesses thrive when we are worn down by stress and exhaustion. Our emotional tanks get low, our immune systems are compromised, and our chances for disease increase. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies can’t remove harmful hormones and replace them with ones that help our bodies recover.
3. Movement – Cancer patients and survivors generally have a far better prognosis when they are physically active. Exercise facilitates the removal of toxic material, and cardiovascular exercise increases oxygen throughout the body. And cancer does not do well in oxygen-rich environments.
Our bodies are temples that house the Holy Spirit, and Scripture specifically tells us that we are to care for them as sacred.
This month, honor your calling as a follower of Christ by taking care of your physical health and preventing disease before it starts. Be aggressive in transforming your internal environment—both spiritually and physically—for optimal health.
Live a fit life. C’mon—you can do this!