Christian physician Dr. Ray Strand, M.D., says many believers are allowing stress, frustration and worries to impact their health.  In his new book, "Living by Design: Discovering the Spirit, Soul, and Body Connection" (Real Life Press, 2006), the doctor explains the relationship not only between mind, body and soul but also between well-being and the Word.

Strand, one of the leading authorities on health and nutritional medicine, says people of faith are often stressed out because they try to do things using their own strength, instead of relying on God's power. "Many Christians are just in what I call this vicious cycle of self effort,"  he explains. "They're willing to receive Christ and salvation by grace, but then they want to do everything in pleasing God by themselves."

This self-reliant lifestyle creates "a tremendous amount of stress," the Christian doctor notes. "Really, what God teaches is to 'seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness,' and all this other stuff will be added," he asserts.

"And the way to please God is to abide in Him and walk in the Spirit," Strand continues. "When we're apart from the Vine, if we're not attached, we can't accomplish anything that pleases God," he says.

Another reason many believers become ill, the health and nutrition expert contends, is because they harbor unforgiveness.  In "Living by Design," he tries to instruct believers in what God's Word says about fighting off illness by living according to scriptural principles, which include forgiving others, being thankful, rejoicing, and being obedient to God.

"We need to take care of this physical body," Strand emphasizes. "This is the Earth-suit, the tool that God has given us to live His life out in this world and to touch other people in our world," he notes, and yet many Christian patients are allowing stress and unhealthy lifestyles to rob them of physical well-being.

Among the commonsense elements that Dr. Strand advocates for a healthy lifestyle are a sensible diet, exercise, proper rest, and the use of quality nutritional supplements. However, in his book he makes a point of driving home to readers the fact that God has a design and a plan for each individual's life, and therein lies the key to good health.

Those people who go against God's design and plan for them will know stress, frustration, and premature illness and disease, the doctor says. On the other hand, Strand contends, those who live as God created them to live will experience peace, meaning, and a full life that is as healthy as possible.


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