So, how are you feeling today? Any aches or pains in the joints? Difficulty breathing? John, in writing to Gaius in 3 John, expresses particular concern for his physical wellbeing. In verse 2, he says, â€œI wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.â€ Interesting, isnâ€™t it, that John referred to Gaiusâ€™ spiritual condition as an issue of â€œhealthâ€? Not only that, but John implies that he is in a state of excellent spiritual well-being! I wonder how we would describe our own spiritual condition today?
The only way to attain spiritual strength and vitality is to put forth effort, just as we would if our goal was to shape up our body through exercise and good eating habits.
I believe that every Apostolic truly wants to please God and maintain a healthy spiritâ€¦ therefore, Iâ€™m going to share with you a prescription from the Physicianâ€™s Desk Reference (PDR) of the Great Physician. So, read on and letâ€™s get on the road to Spiritual Wellness together!
Since our spiritual being is so similar in many characteristics to our physical being, weâ€™ll look at parallels between the two.
A Strong Immune System
In order for our spirit to ward off disease, it is imperative that our immune system is strong and doing its part. If it is deficient, even very small threats can become deadly to us. We need to evaluate how capable our spirit is of withstanding threats like temptation, persecution, false doctrine, lust, etc.
Itâ€™s inevitable that we will face difficult circumstances in our life. Jesus himself said, â€œIt is impossible but that offences will come.â€ (Luke 17:1) Since we are in this world (though not of it) we are going to experience contact with things like temptation, offence and other spiritual hardships. So we must, spiritually speaking, build up our resistance to these things.
When our immune system is strong, weâ€™ll be able to, â€œtake heed, lest we fallâ€, to â€œlive circumspectlyâ€, and to â€œwithstand the wiles of the devil.â€ (1 Cor 10:12, Eph 5:15-17, Eph 6: 10-11)
The only way we will thrive spiritually is to remain active. The principle of health coming through activity isnâ€™t just physical. It is paramount in our spiritual life as well. Paul instructed his fellow Apostolics in Hebrews 6 to, â€œshow the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.â€ We must be diligent and activeâ€¦ getting the spiritual blood pumping brings a surge of refreshing to the entire body.
Scripture is filled with instruction on being active for God, such as walking in good works, and serving others, to exercise unto godliness and work while there is an opportunity to do so.
How can you be active? Why not start in your home church? Look for roles to fill in outreach, evangelism, brotherly support and other needed areas like teaching a class or Bible study and visiting those who are sick.
But thank God that your spiritual health is not all about work! (and the church said, â€œamen!â€) Thereâ€™s something else thatâ€™s important to our wellbeingâ€¦
A law of nature is that there is an equal and opposite reaction to every action taken. Use energy, and it will be depleted! It is important for us to take some time to replenish the strength and prayer-power that weâ€™ve used up. Otherwise, weâ€™ll become discouraged and exhausted very quickly.
Jesus took time to find a place alone, away from other people, to regroup and rest. There is value in finding both a place and time to rest, reflect and meditate. We must plan for these times, and take advantage of themâ€¦ donâ€™t you know that weâ€™re wired in a way that we need this?
But be careful that you donâ€™t spend too much time restingâ€¦ otherwise, youâ€™ll become too comfortable with it, and not be able to withstand the urge to spiritually â€œlay around the house.â€ Alternate your work and rest at regular intervals.
And keep this in mind; Spiritual rest doesnâ€™t mean â€œdoing nothingâ€. It means doing something different that will restore and bring refreshing to your energy. Things that will build this energy up are prayer, Bible study and sharing encouraging words with other Apostolics.
A Healthy Diet
â€œYouâ€™d better eat everything on your plate, young man!â€ The words are as clear today in my memory as they were at the dinner table at 7 years old. Back then my wise mother knew the value of a healthy diet for her children. Do you think God is any different?
Jesus said that we cannot live by bread alone, but by the Word of God. If we want to have spiritual sustenance, then we must consume the Words of Life. Itâ€™s by the milk of the Word that we grow spiritually.
And for your spiritâ€™s sake, lay off the junk food! Anything that teaches contrary to the word of God, even if it sounds like â€œa good ideaâ€, is junk. It may appeal to â€œitching earsâ€, but we must be sure that we are consuming â€œsound doctrineâ€! (2Tim 4:2-4, Titus 2:1)
Nourishment that provides health will always involve the consumption of nutrition and the avoidance of toxic things!
So, itâ€™s as simple as thisâ€¦ if you want a healthy spirit, youâ€™ll need a healthy diet, periodic rest, and regular exercise. These things combined will ensure a good, strong â€œSpiritual Immune Systemâ€.
If we follow this prescription, it will be evident that our spiritual health has grown. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 to, â€œMeditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.â€ He went on to say that by doing this we wouldnâ€™t only save ourselves, but even those around us who we minister to!
So, where do we stand on the Spiritual Growth chart? Are we deficient, and in need of a little Rx? Letâ€™s determine to follow the Great Physicianâ€™s â€œPrescription For Spiritual Healthâ€. Come on, Apostolics! Letâ€™s become spiritual Health nuts! You can do it!