There’s a phrase going around that “health is the new wealth.” When asked something you are most grateful for, health may be your first response, followed by another phrase, “because when you have your health, you have everything.”
What Does Health Mean Anyway?
According to the World Health Organization, health means, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The only thing missing from this definition, and it’s a huge thing, is spiritual well-being.
How Healthy are You Physically?
It is true that when you are suffering from an illness, it affects your life. You can lack energy and thinking clearly depending on the severity of it. You also may be forced to isolate yourself from others. This was certainly true during the COVID pandemic.
So, it’s important to take good care of yourself physically to avoid developing a disease. According to the CDC, the most prevalent chronic diseases are:
Many of these diseases can be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a variety of nutritious non-processed foods, exercising 150 minutes a week, not smoking, not drinking excessive alcohol, and getting enough sleep.
God Wants You to Be Physically Healthy Too
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NRSV)
The Holy Spirit dwells within you! Do you treat your body as a temple, or is it a worn-down shack?
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 (NRSV)
God gave you life and the body you and the Holy Spirit live in. Are you feeding your body with good nutrition, moving your body, and getting enough rest? Do you stop and think that your body is a holy, living sacrifice to God? It is a sacred responsibility.
How Healthy are You Mentally?
Being mentally healthy means being able to manage our emotions. During the 1970s, psychologist Paul Eckman identified six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger.
Managing these emotions determines how you handle stress, interact with others, make decisions, and navigate life.
Your mental health may be negatively affected by some factors that are outside of your control such a being exposed to trauma or abuse, having biological factors that affect brain chemistry, or a family history of mental illness. But that is where a mental health professional can help through counseling, drug therapy, and other cognitive therapies to help you make a full and healthy recovery.
Here’s an interesting resource to assess your mental health from Psychology Today.
God Wants You to be Mentally Healthy Too
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 (KJV)
Jesus tells us: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 (NRSV)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NRSV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
The world will give us a lot to be anxious about! But we are told time and time again not to worry, not to fear. Sometimes, however, those worries can be caused by an imbalance in the brain or trauma that has been locked inside the body. Don’t hesitate to seek help. Begin by talking to a trusted friend, family member, or pastor.
How Healthy are You Socially?
According to Harvard Medical School research, social connections attribute to our long-term health and well-being as good sleep, a good diet, and not smoking.
Conversely, a lack of good social connections is tied to depression, cognitive decline later in life, and mortality.
One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.
Those social connections are especially life-giving when they are with other healthy people.
God Wants You to be Socially Healthy Too
We were not created to be alone. God is not alone in the Trinity. We were created to be in community.
We are better together. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 21:17 (NIV)
As the body has many parts, we are part of the body of Christ. We each have our talents and purpose.
But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 (ESV)
How Healthy are You Spiritually?
We are made up of a body, mind, and spirit. How healthy we are spiritually will flow through all areas of our lives improving our physical, mental, and social health.
Just as we can’t thrive without social connection, we can’t thrive without a loving relationship with God. The stronger that relationship is, the more we can live with joy, flow, and ease.
In a loving relationship, each person wants to please the other. We want to please God by taking care of the body we were given, being mindful of what we allow into our minds, choosing and fostering nurturing relationships, and spending time with God through prayer, meditating on His Word, being in God’s presence, and giving God thanks and praise.
If you find yourself in a constant state of fear, anxiety, worry, or self-condemnation, you are not allowing God to love you and to provide for your well-being.
When you are conscious of your connection to God’s Spirit within you, when you tell God the desires of your heart, when you let go and trust God fully, you will live a life of peace, clarity, and direction.
God Wants You to be Spiritually Healthy
There are times when we will feel lost. We all feel worry, anxiety, anger, and the desire to give up hope. We love being in control because letting go and being out of control means we don’t know what will happen (as if we did anyway!).
But time and time again, God reassures us and instructs us how much easier life can be when we trust.
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost. Luke 19:10 (NRSV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28 (NRSV)
So, how healthy are you? Was there one area of health, physical, mental, social, spiritual that got your attention? Focus on that part for now. What can you do right now to take a step forward in a healthy direction? If that step is going to take practice, stay focused on that step and take a step each day.
As in the story of The Tortoise and the Hare, steady wins the race. And it’s really not a race against time, but a journey.