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, “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Interesting, isn’t it, that John referred to Gaius’ spiritual condition as an issue of “health”? 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 spirit… therefore, I’m going to share with you a prescription from the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) of the Great Physician. So, read on and let’s get on the road to Spiritual Wellness together!
Since our spiritual being is so similar in many characteristics to our physical being, we’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.
It’s inevitable that we will face difficult circumstances in our life. Jesus himself said, “It is impossible but that offences will come.” (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, we’ll be able to, “take heed, lest we fall”, to “live circumspectly”, and to “withstand the wiles of the devil.” (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 isn’t just physical. It is paramount in our spiritual life as well. Paul instructed his fellow Apostolics in Hebrews 6 to, “show 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.” We must be diligent and active… 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, “amen!”) There’s something else that’s important to our wellbeing…
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 we’ve used up. Otherwise, we’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 them… don’t you know that we’re wired in a way that we need this?
But be careful that you don’t spend too much time resting… otherwise, you’ll become too comfortable with it, and not be able to withstand the urge to spiritually “lay around the house.” Alternate your work and rest at regular intervals.
And keep this in mind; Spiritual rest doesn’t mean “doing nothing”. 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
“You’d better eat everything on your plate, young man!” 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. It’s by the milk of the Word that we grow spiritually.
And for your spirit’s sake, lay off the junk food! Anything that teaches contrary to the word of God, even if it sounds like “a good idea”, is junk. It may appeal to “itching ears”, but we must be sure that we are consuming “sound doctrine”! (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, it’s as simple as this… if you want a healthy spirit, you’ll need a healthy diet, periodic rest, and regular exercise. These things combined will ensure a good, strong “Spiritual Immune System”.
If we follow this prescription, it will be evident that our spiritual health has grown. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 to, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” He went on to say that by doing this we wouldn’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? Let’s determine to follow the Great Physician’s “Prescription For Spiritual Health”. Come on, Apostolics! Let’s become spiritual Health nuts! You can do it!