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Ephesians 4:17-24, Old to New Life

Scientific Evidence Supports the Benefits of Following Christ

We know by experience that stress is not good for our health. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of stress can affect our bodies, emotions, and behaviors.

"Common effects of stress on your body

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

Common effects of stress on your mood

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression

Common effects of stress on your behavior

  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often"

To me, this is simply scientific evidence of what Jesus taught us 2000 years ago: that how we show up in the world matters. When we proclaim to be followers of Christ, but behave as followers of the world, the effects are measurable. Living by the ways of the world has profound effects on us, the people around us, the environment, the church, and culture. Living by the ways of Christ also has profound effects on us, the people around us, the environment, the church, and culture. 

According to Psychology Today, symptoms of prayer can also affect our bodies, emotions, and behaviors. People who pray have greater self-control, are nicer, more forgiving, more trusting, and prayer "offsets the negative health effects of stress"! It's not just an abstract, immeasurable concept -- there's science to back it -- leave the ways of the world behind, and follow the ways of Christ. Be a measurable statistic that proves the positive effects of being a follower! You'll be glad you did.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 4:17-24

Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. That is not the way you learned Christ! For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.