I learned early in my walk with Jesus, that God uses what He will to direct us toward the path we might otherwise miss. Case in point: inspired by my last post, “A Healthy Death”, I started thinking about how a biblical view of healthy living differs from the secular view of today. Several days into writing on this topic, I came down with a miserable flu that then morphed into a severe bronchial and sinus infection–the irony of it was difficult to ignore!
So, what is a spiritually healthy life and how does it differ from what secular culture teaches about healthy living? Where secular culture judges the state of our health by what can be seen or empirically measured, God’s primary concern is with our spiritual health. (This is not to say such things diet and exercise do not matter to God. Certainly we are expected to be good stewards of what He has provided for us–including the care of our bodies.) Also, while secular culture is far more concerned with an outwardly healthy self-esteem, God’s concerns go far deeper as He examines our hearts. Proverbs 3:7-8 provides a simple formula that effectively hits at the basics of what God prescribes for living spiritually healthy lives:
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
In practical, spiritual terms this breaks down as,
HUMILITY + FEAR/RESPECT FOR GOD + RESISTING WHAT GOD HATES (SIN) = A SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY LIFE THAT ENRICHES THE SOUL
So what are some of the earmarks of a spiritually healthy life? The first one might surprise you, but I learned its truth when I first began counseling:
- A spiritually healthy life is often messy as it reaches out to others.*
- Lives daily in relationship with Christ through prayer and seeking to live out the Scriptures.
- Maintains an attitude of gratitude for God’s Presence, Provision and Plan for our lives.
- Recognizes that while life is not problem-free, steadfastly trusts in God’s Sovereign Goodness. (James 1; Hebrews 12)
- Bears good fruit that honors God.
- Looks for the good in others by loving and forgiving deeply.
- Takes sin seriously in self and then also in helping others.
- Rests fully in Christ.
- Speaks truth in love as a reflection of God’s Grace.
- Is not long impacted by adverse circumstances . . . . Just as a compass takes a few moments to adjust when a shift in direction is made, a spiritually healthy life can make whatever adjustments necessary to navigate toward the Hope we share in Christ.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
All to His Glory!
*I learned early in my career that many times, those outwardly perfect families and individuals are covering deep pain or insecurities others know nothing about.