What is Spiritual Health? (It’s more important than you think!)
When dealing with health issues, it can be so easy to focus just on our physical health.
Managing the symptoms. Taking our medications. Getting to our doctor and therapy appointments. And all the other things that living with health issues requires of us.
And while it is important to take care of our physical health . . . we are not just physical beings.
We also need to take care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and most importantly . . . spiritually.
What is spiritual health and why is it important?
Spiritual health care is all about taking the time to focus on your soul.
It’s about making it a priority to spend time with God in prayer, Scripture reading, and worship.
Your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are all related to each other.
And each one affects the other.
This is why it is so important to do what you can to improve your spiritual health.
Because it will help improve your physical, mental, and emotional health as well.
Even science is beginning to wake up to the many benefits of focusing on our spiritual health.
Dr. Andrew Newberg wrote a book called, “How God Changes Our Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist”.
Now, Dr. Newberg isn’t even sure God exists but he says he can prove that believing God exists is good for you.
He found several things in his research including that engaging in reflection and prayer for 12 minutes each day makes an impact on our brains.
It helps strengthen a unique neural circuit that specifically enhances empathy and social awareness.
How cool is that?
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”-2 Peter 3:18 ESV
What is spiritual sickness?
If we are not spiritually healthy, then we can easily become spiritually sick.
Just as an illness or disease can weaken the body, spiritual sickness weakens our soul.
And spiritual sickness can happen in two ways:
1) Unconfessed Sin
When we are living in unconfessed sin it can affect us physically and emotionally. We see this in Psalm 32 where David says:
“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.”-Psalm 32:3-4 NLT
But when we confess our sins, it changes everything.
“Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”-Psalm 32:5 NLT
When we confess our sins, we can go from suffering to rejoicing.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” -Psalm 32:1-2 NLT-Psalm 32:1-2 NLT
2) Not Pursuing Spiritual Growth
The other way we can experience spiritual sickness is by not pursuing spiritual growth.
We need to study God’s Word. Spend time in prayer and worship. Sit under godly teaching. And learn how to abide in Christ.
Jesus said that He was the Vine. And we are the branches.
A branch that is not connected to the Vine becomes weak and useless.
It cannot do what it was designed to do.
Grow. Blossom. And bear fruit.
Which is why we have to do what we can to stay connected to the Vine. To not only spend time with Him in our quiet times.
But to stay connected with Him throughout the day.
Because God is the One who gives us the strength and sustenance we need.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” – Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV-Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV
Why is spiritual care important?
Spiritual care is important because it is how we learn to stay connected to the Vine of Christ who gives us life.
By taking care of ourselves spiritually we can learn how to do these five things:
1) View obstacles as opportunities.
When we take care of ourselves spiritually, we begin to see obstacles as opportunities.
To grow in our faith. To learn how to lean on God. And to bring comfort to others by sharing the reason for the hope we have.
We begin to realize that God can take every part of our life: the good, the bad, and even the downright ugly . . . and use it for our good and His glory.
2) Remember why we are here.
When we work on our spiritual health, we remember our purpose.
The reason God put us here.
There is a reason we live where we live. And work where we work.
God has put us in the perfect position so He can use us to shine His light into the lives of those around us.
3) Develop spiritual habits.
When we focus on our spiritual health, we begin to develop good spiritual habits.
- Like daily time in God’s Word.
- Making prayer a lifestyle.
- And finding new ways to worship God.
(See more ways to develop spiritual habits below.)
4) Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
When we focus on our spiritual health, we can learn how to turn our complaints into praise.
While we may still be upset about the mess our kids left in the bathroom; we learn to thank God for the people in our lives who made the mess.
We learn how to make LESS of the bad things, and MORE of the good things.
To count our many blessings.
And learn how to be content . . . in EVERY circumstance.
5) Learn how to be generous and serve those around you.
Just like we mentioned earlier, studies have shown that spending regular time in God’s Word actually increases our sense of empathy and social awareness.
By focusing on our spiritual health, we learn how to be more kind, loving, and generous.
We start to notice people. To see them the way Jesus does.
And we begin to pay attention to the many opportunities we have every day to serve those around us in love.
How do you achieve spiritual health?
We achieve spiritual health when we make it a priority and take the time to attend to our spiritual health needs.
Just like our body needs regular food, rest, and exercise to thrive . . . our soul needs these things as well.
- Eating from God’s Word through Scripture reading and meditation.
- Resting in God’s Presence through prayer and worship.
- And exercising our faith as we go out into this world and live for Jesus.
What are the five aspects of spiritual health?
There are five main aspects to our spiritual health. Five areas we need to pay special attention to if we want to thrive in our spiritual life.
1) Read Scripture and meditate on a few verses.
According to one study, while 56% of Americans claim to have a desire to read God’s Word, only 11% of Americans read it every day.
We cannot grow in our spiritual life if we are not spending time in the Bible.
We need to feast on the Scriptures. Gnaw on His Word. Meditate on verses.
By doing this we allow all the nutrients within the Bible to provide us with the sustenance our soul needs.
2) Spend time in prayer and worship.
After hearing from God through reading His Word, it is helpful to spend time in prayer and quiet contemplation.
- To rest in His presence.
- To think about what you have just read.
- To pour your heart out to Him.
- To be still and listen.
- And then to spend time worshipping Him.
3) Attend a Bible-based Church.
While there are many churches out there, there aren’t as many churches that truly teach from the Bible.
Many false teachers out there are unfortunately leading many people astray.
Before visiting a church, take some time to look at its website. Many churches will list a “Statement of Faith” (Read ours here!) so you can find out what they believe.
Many churches also allow you to listen to sermons online.
So, before you ever step foot in a church, read their “Statement of Faith” and listen to a couple of sermons.
And then ask yourself:
- Does what they believe really line up with Scripture?
- Is the pastor teaching from God’s Word? Or just airing his own opinions?
4) Gather with other Christians.
I’ve heard it said that we learn in rows. But we grow in circles.
While it is important to sit in rows at church to learn under godly leadership. That isn’t where we grow.
We grow as we sit with other Christians in circles and do life together.
As we study the Bible together. Hold each other accountable. (Proverbs 27:17) And help each other carry the burdens of life.
An important part of our spiritual health is spending time with other Christians who have the same beliefs and goals that we do.
This is how we encourage one another. And spur each other on.
We are better together.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”-Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
5) Live out your faith.
The last aspect of spiritual health is to put your faith into action.
Just like our body needs exercise . . . we also need to exercise our faith for the health of our soul.
As we live out what we believe, we see God do amazing things . . . which causes our faith to grow even more.
From serving those around us. To talking to others about Jesus. To doing the scary thing God is calling us to do.
All these things help us grow spiritually healthy.
Because when we see what God can do when we choose to move. When we choose to trust and obey even when we are afraid . . . we get to be a part of the work God is doing.
And that is nothing short of amazing!!!
The Ultimate Source of Our Spiritual Health and Well-being
Jesus said He was a doctor who came to help the sick. (Matthew 9:12)
And while He did heal many people of their ailments, the most important thing He did was provide a way for everyone to be forever cured of their spiritual sickness.
By believing in Him.
That He really was who He said He was: the Son of God.
And that His death paid for every sin every person has ever committed. Making the way for forgiveness and eternal life.
Jesus is the ultimate source of our spiritual health and well-being.
But once we have accepted His FREE gift of grace, Jesus doesn’t just walk away.
His death made the way for the Holy Spirit to come live inside us.
To continue to work in us. To change us from the inside out. To get us to grow.
And to help us to become spiritually healthy.
So, that while we live in this world, we won’t just survive . . . but rather learn to thrive in Him!
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