“I have been a compulsive person, always working and eating more than I should”. John Wimber: Evangelist and Founder of the Vineyard Church
John Wimber was an evangelist, musician, author and founder of the Vineyard Church. He led many to Christ and his teachings touched many lives. He believed in healing, yet died at 63 years old. He admitted in his own words that he was compulsive, working all the time and eating too much. Sounds like so many of us today, doesn’t it? In 1986, Wimber had a heart attack and in 1993, Wimber was diagnosed with sinus cancer. In 1997, he had a triple by-pass. He admitted that he struggled with depression and with his theology on healing during his treatment for cancer. He went through radiation weighing 280 pounds. He fell in November 1997 and died of a brain hemorrhage on November 17, 1997.
What happened to John Wimber is happening to many in the Body of Christ today. We are living stressful lives and eating too much of the wrong things. The enemy has conned us into believing that we can live, think, and eat anyway we want to under grace and still not get sick. So many of us are dying before we complete our destiny. I wonder how many more lives would have been impacted by Mr. Wimber had he lived longer?
More than 87% of illness is stress related. Overeating is a stress related disorder. This topic was discussed in an article entitled: Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity. The study stated that stress “tends to alter the pattern of food consumption and promotes cravings of nutrient-dense ‘comfort foods’. Many OF US use food like AN ALCOHOLIC uses alcohol. We use food as a comfort and a stress reliever. Somehow we don’t see eating as a problem but obesity is rampant in the church. Food addiction is no different that addiction to alcohol, cigarettes, pornography, work, television, video games, approval, shopping, or exercise. All of these practices are attempts to fill a void in our souls that can only be filled with Christ. We criticize our brothers and sisters for drinking occasional alcohol but we are overweight and addicted to sugar, caffeine and salt. Chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Coronary Artery Disease, and obesity are rising. Medical studies have revealed that these diseases can be prevented by diet.
The other piece of preventing illness is our mind. Meditating on the wrong things can also bring physical illness. Every negative thought produces a negative affect on the body. The University of Virginia Medical School has found that our immune system is connected to our brain through small vessels. So an unhealthy thought life can affect our immune system making us more susceptible to illness. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body. We need to change our mindset about food and the business of our lives. This mindset change starts with the renewing of our mind. Our primary goal should be to seek the Lord for wisdom and allow Him to show us how to live the abundant life and fulfill our God-given destiny. The pursuit to know Him will also require obedience on our part. Radical obedience will lead to radical blessings!
The book of Daniel gives us keys to being battle ready. Our culture today is much like the Babylonian empire. This empire was wealthy, focused on attaining knowledge, and appreciative of physical beauty. They had plenty to eat and drink. The people of Israel were captured by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. King Neb (my chosen name) ordered young Israelite men from the nobility and the royal families to be trained to serve in his courts. These men were to be without defect, good-looking, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well-informed, and quick to understand. They were to be taught the Babylonian language and literature. They were to be given food and wine from the King’s table and to be trained for three years before they could stand before the King. Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the King’s food and wine. He approached the Chief officer asking not to eat the King’s allotment of food and wine. The Chief officer was concerned that if he gave into Daniel’s request, He would look worse than the other men and the King would have his head. Daniel requested that the Chief officer give him and his friend only vegetables and water for 10 days. At the end of 10 days, he could judge for himself their condition. The Chief officer agreed. At the end of 10 days, Daniel and his friends looked better and stronger that the rest of the young men. The bible tells us that God gave knowledge and wisdom to Daniel and his friends. Daniel was able to interpret dreams and visions. The King found them 10 times better that the enchanters and magicians.
The word “resolved” means to firmly determined to do something. Daniel made up his mind to honor God and not to defile himself with the Kings food and wine. Later, King Neb has a dream that troubled him greatly. He call all the magicians and enchanters asking then to interpret the dream without him telling them what the dream was. He said that if no one could tell him the dream that he would kill them all and their families. The magicians and enchanters told the King that this was an impossible task. Daniel heard about the decree and immediately went to his friends and they began seeking the Lord and his mercy. That night the Lord gave Daniel the interpretation of the dream. Daniel gave praise to the God of Heaven who reveals the secret things. Daniel came before the King saying “the magicians and the enchanters can not interpret your dream but there is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries.” He gave King Neb the interpretation saving himself and all the magicians and the enchanters.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court. Daniel 2: 46-49
As I studied the book of Daniel, I began to see that Daniel had common practices or disciplines. He fasted, prayed, searched scripture, and interceded for his people but above all he believed (trusted) and honored God. He was also excellent in his job and even those who opposed him could find nothing against him. He was trustworthy and neither corrupt or negligent (Daniel 6:3). He was known by others as the man who has the spirit of the holy God in him. His goal was to seek the Kingdom first and by doing so all these things were added–knowledge above all others, ability to solve problems, interpretation of visions and dreams, high status, and supernatural protection. He did not lose his peace when the decree went out that all should worship the king for 30 days and those who did not would be thrown into the lion’s den. He simple did as he always did. He went into his upper room, opened the window and prayed to God. We are told that it was his practice to pray three times a day. Fasting and searching scripture were also something he practiced:
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the books the number of years which, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the desolations [which had been] pronounced on Jerusalem would end; and it was seventy years. So I directed my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. Daniel 9:2-3
In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I ate no tasty food, nor did any meat or wine enter my mouth; and I did not anoint (refresh, groom) myself at all for the full three weeks. Daniel 10:2-3
Daniel was highly esteemed by God and men. His goal was to honor God in all that he did and to seek Him for answers. He humbled himself in prayer and fasting. He confessed his sins and those of his people before God and God gave him wisdom, honor and divine protections. I believe that we can have this same life but it requires that we get on that narrow road. The narrow road is the road of seeking the Kingdom first and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you (Matthew 6:33). Daniel and his friend resolve to believe and trust God no matter the cost even unto death. I encourage you to read the book of Daniel.
How does this apply to health? I believe our physical health is influenced by our spiritual health.