It is spiritual health week of Balance Challenge 2018! Now when I say spiritual life, some of you may think of your church or Bible study or you may not have any idea what spiritual health actually is! Let me first start off by saying that I am in no way an expert on spiritual health. To me, spiritual health is about becoming more like Jesus; I am striving everyday to learn more and to become more like Him, but I am definitely not an expert!
When we think of the word “health” we normally think of eating healthy and working out, but I believe that spiritual health is the most important health of all. I believe that to have a healthy spiritual life, all three of the past weeks must be addressed as well. So let’s take a look at the past three weeks...
WEEK ONE: MENTAL HEALTH -
First let me start off by saying that if you struggle with your mental health in any way, shape or form - know that you are not alone. And know that you are so loved and you can come to Jesus and He will accept you exactly the way you are.
As Allie talked about during the first week, mental health sometimes gets pushed under the table because it isn’t valued or isn’t understood. But for those who are striving for spiritual health, mental health is very important (to read more on mental health from week one, click here)! When you picture mental health you may be thinking of a disorder of some sort, but mental health also includes stress and anxiety and depression. Among Christians, it has become easy to dismiss the talk of these emotions because we are told that in Christ there is joy and peace and patience! While that is true - Jesus does bring joy and peace and patience - Jesus also tells us that we live in sinful, human bodies. Therefore, we have to fight the temptations of our sinful, human nature everyday. If we are not facing our emotions and the things that are happening around us, we cannot be mentally healthy and therefore cannot be used to the fullest extent by Jesus.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” If we are allowing the things of this world to influence our mind, then our emotions and feelings and mental health will all get pushed deep down inside. Jesus calls us to live a healthy mental life by allowing ourselves to feel and by doing that alongside Him, not alongside the world.
A few ways you can fight for mental health in relation to spiritual health is to read your bible, pray, practice gratitude, and rest. All of these things are key to your mental health and all of these things are directly affected by each other. When we are reading our bible, praying will come naturally. And when we are letting the words we read and the prayers we pray change us, gratitude will naturally flow out of that. And after all of that, REST is key. Without rest, we cannot sustain ourselves.
WEEK TWO: PHYSICAL HEALTH -
There are a few scriptures in the Bible that talk about your body being a temple…
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (Don’t just take my word or this one verse - you can also read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Romans 12:1 and 1 Timothy 4:8)
At first when I heard “your body is a temple…” I admit that I was a little confused. I mean, how is MY BODY considered a temple of the Lord? But the truth that comes with these scriptures is that Jesus only gave us one body to live in on this earth. We are told to treat this body as a temple of the Lord, because as believers, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. When we are eating whatever we want, not exercising and not getting enough rest, we don’t feel good and therefore we are sluggish. But when we are eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting the proper rest, we feel all around better and are therefore honoring our bodies. Kaitlyn talked all about physical health on the blog and how society views our physical appearance and how each person is different when it comes to a balanced diet / exercise routine (read it here).
So, when it comes to physical health in relation to spiritual health, it is less about what you look like and how much weight you can lift, but more about what you’re putting into your body and how you’re honoring it. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy the occasional indulgence! But, eating right and truly honoring your body in all you do with it is going to take sacrifice. We are told time and time again that sacrifice is a necessary factor in the life of a believer of Christ. An article I read about honoring our bodies said this….
“If we will but follow the example of our Savior, and focus on the joy--the joy of a long, healthy life, the joy of the security we can offer our loved ones, the joy of helping others and touching many, many people's lives, and the joy Paul described in 2 Timothy 4:7: ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ --then we will find the changes much easier to make and stick with.”
If we are focused less on what we can’t have and more on what we can have with Jesus, physical health will not be how we look outwardly, but more about how we truly feel inwardly.
WEEK THREE: SOCIAL HEALTH -
Community: noun - a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals.
The bottom line when it comes to social health is that we were made for community. God Himself IS community. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all in one! Now, I can’t go into all of the deep theology right here, mainly because I still have a hard time trying to explain it and also because the Trinity is truly impossible for any human to actually understand. But I can give you some scripture about community…
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” -Genesis 2:18
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -John 15:12-13
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:4-5
I could go on and on for pages with more scriptures about community, but I hope with just those three you can see the importance of community. By the way, in the NIV version of the Bible the word community appears 84 different times! God Himself even said that it was not good for Adam to be alone so He created Eve. Kristin talked all about social health and the balance between work, family, friends, and even social media (read it here if you missed it last week).
The bottom line is the community is encouraging, it fosters love, it is life-giving and it is fun! Without community we have no one to confess our sins to, and when we find ourselves alone, that is where the enemy feeds us the most lies. So I encourage you to visit a local church if you aren’t already and get plugged in, go join a running group or a knitting group (or a group somewhere in between, ha!), but whatever you do - find community.
Now that we have talked about how important our mental, physical and social health is in relation to our spiritual health, let’s move on to the reason we’re here - spiritual health. To me, spiritual health is about more than just meditating or praying and reading your bible everyday. Spiritual health is about a true, deep relationship with the God of the universe. While it does involve praying and reading your bible everyday, it is not just a set of rules and restrictions. Now, there are things that we should and should not do, but it comes out of our love for Jesus that we don’t want to do those things. I once read that there are SIX healthy habits that lead to being spiritually healthy….
Prayer and listening to God
Private AND corporate worship
Bible-reading and studying
Fasting (this doesn’t always mean food)
Fellowshipping with other believers
I am not saying that if you do these six things your life will immediately get easier or that you will have the best relationship with Jesus and everything else will just magically fall into place! What I am saying, is that if you practice these six things consistently and intentionally, your spiritual health cannot help but continue to grow and to flourish.
I want to touch briefly on one of these habits in the list above. I feel like sometimes the second one can be overlooked. Private AND corporate worship. Okay, but what does that mean? Let's start with private worship. To you, this may look like turning on music and singing at the top of your lungs. It may also look like sitting still and listening to music. Or it may also look like no music at all. Private worship looks different for every person individually, but I believe that corporate worship should always look the same.
When it comes to corporate worship, we do not all have to be singing the same songs or have the same instruments. But I do believe that every song that is sung needs to be biblically sound; and that the music being sung is not sung for the people who are leading it, but that the songs are being sung to glorify Jesus and His name and His name alone. Being married to a worship pastor, I have come to learn that corporate and private worship truly does look different for everyone. I used to think that we all had to look the same in corporate worship - hands raised at all times and knowing every word on the screens. I have come to learn that everyone has their own way to worship and that it is about the position of your heart as you worship, not your body. I do believe though that as we sing and praise the Creator of the universe, we can't help but lift our hands in surrender to Him and in awe of who He is.
Our lead pastor, Miles Fidell, says this a lot, “Church is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.” The Church is a huge part of your spiritual health, so I hope and pray that you will get plugged into your local church. If you don’t have a place to go for corporate worship this Sunday and you are in Auburn, we would love to have you join us at Auburn Community Church! If you are somewhere else or you are already in a church, that is great and I hope that you truly enjoy your church and indulge in the community it has to offer!
I would love to hear from you if you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat! Comment below or shoot me an email at email@example.com! Remember to always be true to who you are and love yourself for who you are - Jesus already does!
Thanks for reading along with me! -Caitlin Cole, True40 Marketing and Online Coordinator