Today I feel great. I've got a smile on my face. I feel uncharacteristically outgoing. I'm normally very introverted, but today given the opportunity I would maybe even speak up and share my faith with someone. Maybe even a stranger! I'm feeling and acting like the most awesome Christian ever. And I owe it all to one thing. Is it an entire morning of prayer? Well, no, although I do pray quite often. Is it three Psalms, an Epistle, and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? No, although if you've been reading this blog you know that I'm working my way through the whole Bible this year. Have I been to an awesome Christian concert? Yes, recently, but not today. Did I hear a great sermon at church? Of course... at my church, it's awesome EVERY Sunday. But today is Wednesday, and I had to miss church tonight because my son had a makeup soccer game. Wonderful Bible teaching conference? Nope. Inspiring TV preacher? Nope, don't really watch preachers on TV much. I attribute my cheerful, pious mood to one thing: about 36 ounces of good old Coca-Cola!
Yep... I'm way buzzing on caffeine. I'm a computer programmer, and I had a demo to do at 2pm this afternoon, and the programming wasn't finished when I got there this morning; I went to a convenience store at about 10am and bought a 2-Liter of Coke and swigged it all day until I was programming like a madman. I worked straight through lunch, and got the code copied up to the demo area just a few minutes before the phone call was about to start. The demo went GREAT, and I think the client really liked what they saw! Afterward, I felt like a million bucks! The weather was beautiful, I left work early because I had worked during lunch, and with Coca-Cola coursing through my veins, I was on top of the world!
Did the caffeine really make me a better Christian? Of course not. The caffeine and sugar probably gave me a bit of a buzz, and the nice weather and successful work day almost guaranteed a cheerful attitude. So I was feeling happy, but is feeling happy what makes you a good Christian?
To all outward appearances, yes it does. And quite possibly it can lead to doing better deeds, better "works," and that is certainly part of a successful Christian life! I'll say with James, "Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." Doing Christlike things (like buying someone a coffee and listening to them when they need an ear, for example, or letting another driver into the flow of traffic during rush hour, or cheering up a sad friend with a prayer or Scripture or even just a smile, or whatever) demonstrates that you are a Christian, and I believe God expects that out of us. Being in a good mood makes it easier to do that stuff. But in reality, a cheerful sinner might be nice to someone, but his cheerfulness doesn't make him a Christian. And a crabby believer in Jesus is still a Believer, even if he's mean to someone.
Drinking massive amounts of soda is not a healthy lifestyle (I honestly try to go easy on that stuff most of the time), but you know what? A truly healthy lifestyle makes those "good mood" days much more frequent, even when it's not 75 degrees and sunny and you got off work early. You know, that whole "my body is a temple" thing isn't just something muscle-headed guys at the gym like to say; it's actually from the Bible. You are purchased by the blood of Jesus, and your body belongs to Him. And a healthy lifestyle makes it that much easier for you to "...glorify God in your body." You're in your body all of the time, so if you're going to glorify God at all, it'll have to be in your body!
Take care of yourself. Eat right. Get in some exercise. Read the Word and pray, of course! ...but don't feed your spirit and mind and neglect your body. If your body breaks down, it's not going to be able to bring glory to God, no matter how healthy your spirit is. Let's glorify God in every way we can!