As I grew in Christ, I also grew in mental and physical health. I realised that the more I cared about my health, the more easily I grew in Christ, and it became easier to resist the wants of this world.
I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I knew the truth about the Sabbath, the state of the dead and the health message.
I didn’t know why and that’s what tripped me up.
My mum (God bless her) used to send me to school with creation-science magazines in hand and a salad sandwich in my backpack. I reckon I was the cutest “catholic denouncing, carob eating, soy milk drinking 7-year-old” you could meet. It wasn’t all sunshine though, and after a few years of bullying and a need to fit in with everybody else, I found myself with a pornography addiction at 11.
By the time I was 19, I was drinking, sleeping around, watching pornography, and playing videogames excessively. After two years of this, I eventually spiralled out of control. My mind-numbing job made me dwell on the things I did in my spare time, and the thoughts of my mind felt like they were “only evil continually.” Daily thoughts of suicide were the new normal for me, and I thought that it was my only way out.
So what changed? What does this have to do with our identity?
Picture this: It’s Sabbath morning, I’m driving my younger brother to Brisbane Big Camp while rapping Logic and Childish Gambino. My younger brother glares at me with unapproving eyes and makes comment to put some Hillsong on instead. I agree, and although my heart isn’t in it, I decide to stay for the day. As we go to leave on sunset, I run into an old friend from Townsville Big Camp. She asks for my contact details, and I grab her number with the intent of texting her but hold off since I didn’t really want to be invited to church.
A few months go by and I was at rock bottom by this stage. Thinking that a new job will fix my problems, I decided to ask her if she knew anyone who was hiring. She replies, “not sure, but come over for dinner tonight.” I opened up to her and her husband about my struggles and in return, they shared God’s love with me. I started going to church with them and realising I lived 500 metres or so from the nearest SDA Bookstore, I started to buy books on mental & dietary health.
After a while, I kept seeing this acronym everywhere: NEWSTART. As I grew in Christ, I also grew in mental and physical health. I realised that the more I cared about my health, the more easily I grew in Christ, and it became easier to resist the wants of this world. It didn’t take long for me to realise that the Sabbath was also one of the biggest blessings I had overlooked my entire life! No matter how exhaustive my week is, I know I can find true rest in His rest for us!
When we understand who God is, we can rejoice in His guidance. When we follow what He says it will improve our lives. We can escape the darkness of pornography, drinking, and more!
I’ll leave you with a quote from Aunty Ellen herself: “Blessed, blessed Jesus. I love Him because He is comfort and hope and opportunity and resource to me; to individual me and individual you. I want that you will consider yourself His property. Set your faces as a flint toward Mount Zion. Be determined that there is a treasure there that you can get.” —Manuscript 17, 1894.