Why does spiritual health matter? What is spiritual health, anyway? And why do so many Christ-followers struggle with it?
According to Scripture, we’re made up of spirit, soul and body: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess. 5:23 NIV)
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
This means that you ARE a spirit, housed in a body and interacting in this finite world as a “soul”. If your life is controlled by the body, you’ll become obsessed with either abuse of the body (gluttony, sexual immorality, addictions, etc.) or obsessed with physical culture (exercise, your appearance, diet, clothing, etc.).
If your life is controlled by the soul, you’ll emphasize emotional well-being, education, the arts, entertainment, success, etc.
But if your spirit reigns, then Scripture, fellowship with other believers, true worship, prayer, etc. will dominate your life. And along with this, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will manifest, becoming the prominent feature of your personality (See Galatians 5:22-23).
So, here’s why spiritual health is vitally important: If your spirit is weak and anemic, your soul and body will take the lead and dictate the direction of your life. When that happens, disaster follows. Such people fill our churches. They’re self-oriented and world-oriented but not God-conscious. And, they’re usually harassed by the turmoil that comes with the flesh’s dominance (Galatians 5:19-21)
Example: Demas had the honor of working directly with the Apostle Paul, who labeled him one of his “fellow workers” (Philemon 1:24). Yet later Paul writes about him, “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” (2 Timothy 4:10 NIV) The English phrase “this world” comes from the Greek “this present age”. Demas’ body and his world-oriented soul had crowded out the influence of his spirit, which diminshed the Holy Spirit’s Presence.
Example: When the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in deep trouble, he diagnosed the members as spiritually anemic. His evidence? – chronic division in the congregation: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB). (Scripture often calls the twin tyrants of body and soul “the flesh” or “the carnal man”.)
So, how does a believer cure these spiritual illnesses? By spiritual exercise – prayer, Scripture reading & meditation, worship, and fellowship with other believers – all of which keeps us linked to His Divine Spirit. The Presence of God is the key. His Presence solves all issues.
If there’s no prayer, there’s no Presence.
By the way, what has helped you grow spiritually?