You Are You Podcast: Your Health Matters (S2 Ep 4)
Take a moment and think about the ideal you, health wise. We might go to our physical bodies first and think about our ideal weight or level of fitness. We might go to our mental health and consider our stress levels or emotional health and how we’re feeling. As Christians surely we’d also consider our spiritual health, maybe if our prayer life is satisfying or if we’re reading our Bible regularly. All of these things are good but our health is about so much more than just good habits. Are we bringing our health to God and seeking him for healing and wholeness?
Welcome to Season 2 of the You Are You Podcast! This season, we’ll be doing something a little different. Each month, we’ll release a new chapter of a book called You Are You: Celebrate Your God-given Design and Pursue Your Kingdom Calling. It’ll come as an audiobook chapter, through this podcast, and an e-book chapter, through theyayproject.com.
*Listen to the chapter on You Are You Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.*
We are triune beings, having a spirit, soul and body. Let’s take a look at God’s will for health in these areas.
1. A healthy spirit
There are seven habits for spiritual growth that are often quoted:
In order to grow we need to eat - Read the Bible
In order to grow we need to breathe - Pray
In order to grow we need good spiritual hygiene - Confess sin
In order to grow we need a caring family - Fellowship
In order to grow we need regular exercise - Service
In order to grow we need protection - Resist Temptation
In order to grow we need to give - Stewardship
When we don’t do these things — things God is calling us to do — we often become numb or hardhearted. This makes it harder for us to sense the Holy Spirit and thus obey God quickly. We can become confused about what is God’s voice and our own. But when we spend time with God, we become more and more sensitive to the things that are and are not in line with God’s will.
It can be a painful process.
In my life, there have been a few seasons where I knew I wasn’t walking in God’s will and it was painful to sit in front of him, be honest, and admit it. Dating an athiest was definitely one of these seasons. I knew God said to break it off but I just didn’t want to. Instead I pleaded, reasoned, probably begged God to change his mind and then just flat out rebelled. Let me tell you it didn’t turn out well but God lovingly picked up the pieces and put me back together. If you’re going through something similar, I pray you learn from my mistakes. Your heart is precious, your life so valuable Jesus died for it. Walk under God’s protection and let him shelter you from damage. Don’t do things you know are wrong, whether they are flat out sinful or just wrong for you.
Starting these habits might feel overwhelming. Very different from how you’ve been living your life. Painful to unlearn certain habits and choose this better way. But remember you can always call on the Holy Spirit for help and be expectant. He will amaze you and in following God and trusting him, things will turn out infinitely better than you think.
Our very best plans without God pale in comparison to his plans for us.
And the closer we are to God, the less sin appeals. Actually, I often pray for sinful things to lose their appeal. For example, once I was struggling to quit watching an old favourite show about New York City lawyers. The lying, backstabbing, and manipulation were offending my spirit but oh the clothes were pretty and the main characters were so charming. I prayed that the show would lose its appeal to me… and what do you know! It did. God is with us in this battle, ready to help us choose him every day.
2. A healthy soul
“the application of God’s grace and forgiveness in those areas of our inner lives that hold us back from experiencing the abundant life. With these obstacles fully removed, people are freed to live fully for God” (Power Healing, p. 61).
This includes being healed and released from the effects of hurtful memories and bondage to their emotions, effects like guilt, shame, rejection and depression .
One of my first experiences with inner healing was through a course I took at my church called Single Life Workshop by Nothing Hidden Ministries which came out of Bethel. At first I thought the name of the course was a bit embarrassing but felt God kept nudging me to sign up. So I did. The 10 week course covered various practical dating-related topics like pursuing relationship with the opposite sex, taking away the horribleness of ‘no’, listening well, and how to bring God into the relationship. But what impacted me most of all was learning to live shamelessly with nothing hidden.
I went into the session on living shamelessly thinking I didn’t have any shame … and left it realising I just wasn’t acknowledging the shame I felt because it was too painful.
I learned that shame’s biggest asset is hiddenness and that it tries to isolate you and get you to hide. It goes right back to Adam and Eve, and their hiding from God after the fall (Genesis 3:1-24).
At that point, I’d been single for almost a year but was still dealing with the after effects of an unhealthy relationship. I thought time would heal but it wasn’t doing it effectively… but seeking the Holy Spirit for ten weeks straight had me coming out of the course feeling like a new person. Week after week, God’s truths about my identity and his desire for me to live in wholeness and hope sunk in deeper.
No matter what mistakes we’ve made in the past, we can confess and give them to Jesus — he washes us white as snow.
If it still feels hard to give it all to God, I love this insight from Professor Charles H Kraft. Professor Kraft is one of the world’s experts on inner healing and deliverance. He spent 40 years on staff at Fuller and is now the President of Deep Healing Ministries. He says:
I minister to victimized, abused and defeated people whose lives are often characterized by severe hopelessness or depression. Yet they are often brimming with hidden talents and untapped spiritual gifts given to them by God from the time they were conceived. The enemy, knowing what these gifts and talents are, has done his best to keep these people in the dark about their abilities and their relationship to God. In so doing he has destroyed or nearly destroyed their awareness of who they are intended to be. My aim is to get them cleaned up from their emotional problems and any demons they may be carrying, and to bring them to a new understanding of who God made them to be.
There are many ways to experience inner healing. Your church may have an inner healing ministry - a few years after attending Single Life Workshop, I went through a more detailed inner healing and deliverance session at my church, and go through annual brush ups. You may be interested in online courses - Single Life Workshop is available as an e-course. I haven’t gone through these organisations myself but I’ve heard good things about Elijah House and Ellel Ministries. There are also books on inner healing with practical tips — one of Professor Kraft’s most popular books is Two Hours to Freedom. Pray and ask God to lead you to what’s right for you. Whatever the avenue, believe it is absolutely his will for you to live in the freedom Jesus died for you to have.
3. A healthy body
Culture today convinces us to spend a lot of time on our bodies. There are so many different diets, exercise routines, ways to keep fit. It’s natural in some ways given society’s preoccupation with staying young and beautiful. Who doesn’t want to be viewed as attractive? We all want people to think we’re beautiful, healthy, on top of our lives. In his sermon Toys “R” Us Ministers, Pastor Mike Todd of Transformation Church says:
Your spirit health and your physical body should be equally as strong. I know there’s a lot of people right here that do a lot for their physical body and their spirit man is scrawny and weak. And there’s a lot that do a lot for their spiritual body. I know people that can pray the heavens down but will die 20 years early from diabetes. Because they won’t make sure their soul is in health and their body is in health. What God is saying to all of us is that ‘I’ve got big plans for my ministers. You’re going to be out in the world, you’re going to be changing stuff, but I need something from you. I need you not to think immaturely about this. We’re playing for the long haul.
We are all influencers to God. In God’s kingdom, there’s a specific purpose for everyone. Everyone will love their specific purpose because it was tailor made for them and them only… we’ll find it if we seek God. In this sense, I think the reminder not to waste time is really important. Yes, God can redeem any situation but ideally we wouldn’t waste weeks, months, years lost in sinful habits, broken relationships, the wrong direction. We’d be walking with him day by day, following his lead, living under his protection and carrying out his plans together. We’d be having so much fun!
Doesn’t this sound like the best kind of fun? God has amazing plans for us and the closer we walk with him, the more we get to live them out. We get to be in a relationship with God (loved by him, given advice by him, blessed by him), serve him, and be a part of his plan. How amazing that he wants to partner with us. We are the most blessed.
The Message version of Romans 13:11-14 explains this vividly,
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
Let’s take care of our health so we can honour God and excitedly partner with him on his good plans, amen? There’s nothing like seeking God and moving into our God-given purpose with confidence! If the wisest person on earth was all of a sudden giving our free advice for guaranteed success, we’d all be lining up right? Praying we seek God in all areas of our health and bloom under his care.
Make sure your perspective of what’s healthy honours God
God wants your body and soul to be as healthy as your spirit
The seven habits for spiritual growth are reading the Bible, praying, repenting, being in fellowship, serving, resisting temptation, and being a good steward of your God-given resources
Embrace the freedom Jesus died for you to have
God, how can I improve my health?
God, where could I use inner healing?
God, which of the seven areas do you want me to grow in more?
God, help me to lose my appetite for things that displease you.