May 17, 2022 Orange Street church of Christ

How to Be (Spiritually) Healthy

How to Be (Spiritually) Healthy

I am not a doctor, and the following is not medical advice.


It seems like now more than ever the world is focused on health and longevity. Three basic things always seem to be included in the popular view of how to be healthy: diet, exercise, and supplements. While these are not groundbreaking and are common sense for most, the same three things help us spiritually. Our spiritual health and longevity matter even more than our physical health. Here are three things we should keep our eye on and be sure to practice for spiritual health and longevity. 


Eat Right


Pretty much every doctor has something to say about how we eat. We all know that certain foods can be good for our health or bad for our health. What we eat (and how much of it) can affect our health for good or bad. The same is true spiritually. What we “eat” (ingest/consume) matters for our spiritual longevity and wellness. 


If we do not have a steady diet of God’s Word, our spiritual health will undoubtedly decline. Jesus reminds us from the Old Testament that men should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). In the context, Jesus was responding to Satan’s temptation by affirming that God’s Word is more important even than physical food! Christians are instructed to, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Pet. 2:2-3 ESV). We should give attention to ingesting that which is spiritually good for us!


Just like there is good food and junk food, there is good spiritual food and junk spiritual food. That which is brings us closer to God, builds our faith, and helps us be more like Jesus is good spiritual food! The Word of God will always do those things. However, that which drives us further from Jesus, causes us to sin, makes us scared and doubtful, and takes away our peace of mind is spiritual junk food. Spiritual junk food should be avoided while God’s Word is prioritized in how we spend our time and what we allow our mind to ingest. A regular diet of God’s Word is vital to our spiritual health. Hopefully, as we feast on the Word of God, we can transition from the “milk” of the Word to the “sold food” of the Word as we mature and grow. 


Exercise


Along with diet, one of the most popular and longstanding pieces of advice for physical health is exercise. When I was a kid, we were told in school that, to be in good health, we were supposed to exercise 30 minutes a day. Of course, that is nothing for a kid! We all know that some sort of regular exercise is vital to our physical health, but it is also vital to our spiritual health! 


As Christians, our responsibility is to “work out” our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) while God works in us to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Just like in physical exercise, to work out our own salvation requires training and discipline. We must train ourselves for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7), “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).


Exercise is rarely pleasant, but it is done for the sake of the future. So it is with spiritual self-control, discipline, and training for godliness (see 1 Cor. 9:24-27). Sometimes we will have to say “no.” Sometimes we will have to deny ourselves something our flesh really wants. Sometimes we will struggle just to keep afloat. But such is the will of God. Like physical exercises, spiritual exercise is never easy, but it is worth it! Remove the sin in your life, focus on Jesus, and run with endurance (Heb. 12:1-2)!


Take Supplements


Popular modern medical advice usually includes supplements because very few of us receive the complete nutrition we need from food alone. Whether the supplement is a general multivitamin or something specific our doctor says we are lacking, supplements are a mainstay for many who seek to have a healthy lifestyle. 


Similarly, supplements are a requirement for spiritual health. Because God has saved us by his grace, Christians should “make every effort to supplement” their faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-7). It is only by supplementing our faith with these Christian graces that we can prevent being “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:8) and make sure that an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is richly provided for us (2 Pet. 2:11). 


If you have faith, that is great! But you need to supplement your faith. Look for ways to serve more, know more, love more, and be godlier. If we take our spiritual supplements, we will “never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10), but to neglect them is to forget that we were cleansed from our former sins (2 Pet. 1:9).  


There is an interesting overlap between advice for physical health and what the Bible says about spiritual health. God made our bodies and our spirits alike, so it makes sense that there would be some parallels. Let’s ask ourselves if we are spiritually healthy. If not, it’s not too late to start!