The Healthy Soul

We live in a time of perhaps unprecedented fixation with being healthy

“Spiritual health, on the other hand, is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and the one to come (1 Tim. 4:8). So, simple math indicates that one ought to give the most effort to that which pays the highest dividends. With that, here are a few signs of spiritual health in our lives.”

 

In a recent effort to diversify my smoothie recipes (I currently know of two), I accidentally made one that was actually good and healthy (so I thought). When I shared it with a good friend, they suggested that it was, unfortunately, sub-par on the “healthy” scale. If I would have added things like collagen and other forgotten-phrases from ninth-grade, Oregonian biology, then it might have passed the healthy test.

But it was a reminder that we live in a time of perhaps unprecedented fixation with being healthy. It’s no longer enough to eat fruit and veggies. Now, you have to eat organic, sustainable, raw, uncooked, not-in-the-dirty-dozen fruits and veggies. It’s no longer enough to eat a balanced diet. You have to eat a gluten-free, paleo, superfood diet. It’s not enough to eat eggs. You have to eat eggs from a free-range quail, with a name, fed on organic wheat grass in a gentle-noise barnyard. And it’s no longer enough to moderately exercise a few times a week. You have to do HIT, P90X, or Crossfit. And I’m sure people could find something wrong even with the things I’ve mentioned. It’s nearly become a form of salvation. In many circles, various views of healthy eating become a form of imposed righteousness.

Now, those things are not necessarily bad, in and of themselves. It’s good to put in effort to steward our earthly tents. But, none of them will deliver physiological utopia. That will only come through a spiritual upgrade. Bodily discipline is only of some profit (1 Tim. 4:8). And “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).

Spiritual health, on the other hand, is beneficial for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and the one to come (1 Tim. 4:8). So, simple math indicates that one ought to give the most effort to that which pays the highest dividends. With that, here are a few signs of spiritual health in our lives.

  1. A high, reverent view of God.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).

An accurate view of God is the sine qua non of spiritual health. A healthy Christian trembles at the thought of God’s glory, holiness, sovereignty, power, righteousness and wrath. He or she stands in awe of God’s love, patience, wisdom, and omniscience. And the healthy soul shudders at the thought of personally offending God. Consequently, the reality of God’s omnipresence provides them with the best presence of accountability.

Further, one’s personal salvation is understood in terms of privilege extended purely from divine prerogative. The healthy soul understands that salvation, sanctification, the church, serving God, and going to heaven one day as things which God graciously allows me to do. I get to know God, be his child, and serve him. And in eternity past, God initiated my permission to know him.

  1. Frequent brokenness over personal sin.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).

Spiritual health fundamentally possesses a sensitivity to that which is unhealthy. The sound soul responds quickly to the contaminants of sin.

And more than mere external sins, the healthy soul experiences the exposing and eradication of sins of motivations, worship, and thought. One who understands little about their personal sin can hardly possess spiritual health.

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