Spiritual Health Check: Putting the Time In
“My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; Open your ears to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; Keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing and health to all their flesh. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23, AMP)
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this recently, but my husband and I just went through a big milestone: buying our
first house. Not only buying our first house– and, if you’ll allow me to brag for a second, within our first year of marriage– but also moving from New York to North Carolina.
I’m sure this goes for anyone, but when I go through big life changes like this, I tend to try to create a new routine for myself. I try to get back to the basics. My life in New York was going out with friends on the weekend, working from home during the week, and spending time with my husband and trying to be productive in between. Now, being in North Carolina, our friends are all too far away to hangout with on a Friday night… there aren’t that many things to distract me. Most of my time is put towards trying to be productive, so I might as well make the most of it.
So the routine I’ve fallen into is trying to improve my health, both physically and spiritually. In the weeks before our move, everything became about the same three things: making time to say goodbye to people, packing, and planning to do the actual thing. I have to admit, my daily devotion time went down to zero. Towards the end, my husband and I were so tired, that when we weren’t moving, we were sleeping. That, compiled with the fact that everyone we knew wanted to go out to dinner with us and say goodbye, meant that after a very long year of gaining the “quarantine fifteen,” I wasn’t doing myself any favors in the weight-gaining department.
So when we got unpacked in the new home, I fell into a routine of reading the Bible and praying during the hour I eat my breakfast just before clocking into work, and working out 30 minutes a day while trying to be more mindful about what I’m eating.
Here’s the thing with both those goals: in order to see results, you have to do them daily. If you want to shrink your body and build muscle, you have to be intentional about exercising those muscles every day and eating things that will help you reach your goal. You have to drink your water, eat your protein and veggies, and take a little time to sweat it out each day. If you take breaks or cheat, you delay the results.
And the same goes for your spiritual health. If you want to see the spiritual results of being close to Jesus, you have to spend the time drawing nearer. If you want to train your “inner spirit man,” as Psalty the Singing Songbook would say– you won’t remember him if you were born after 1996– you have to exercise him. You have to do the things that urge your spirit to draw nearer to Jesus: pray, read the Bible, meditate on Him, and worship.
And when we study, we can’t just gloss over the verses without ever studying them. That would be like lifting a barbell with no weight on the bar– it might burn a few calories from exertion, but it won’t build your muscle in the way you want to. No, instead, we have to really read the scriptures, asking God to open our ears to what it says. Paying attention to the words and asking the Lord to show us what they mean. We have to make sure our hearts are in the position where we want to learn so that when the scriptures are illuminated to us, we can tuck them away within so that we can apply them to our lifestyle.
Like our key verse today says: Scripture is life to those that find them, healing and health to our whole selves. And that’s not some prosperity gospel, live-your-best-life-now, mumbo jumbo. True, reading the scripture may not heal our physical ailments. There are Christians out there with physical and mental disabilities that God may never seek to heal for only reasons He knows. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Bible is God-breathed, and has the ability to breathe that same breath into your soul, healing the things deep within you that are broken, desperate, and lost.
Because there are things within you, even if you don’t feel you’re very broken right now, that are still struggling and in need of repair. The fact is, if you’re not opening your heart to the scripture on a regular basis, then that only allows your flesh to move in and make footholds in your life. Your heart is either full of God, the only one who can bring us life more abundantly, or it’s full of the world, which will only lead you to destruction.
I have to say, after just about a month of falling into a routine that promotes more health in my life, I feel more centered, both physically and spiritually. I feel like my body is more in tune with what it needs and is growing stronger, and my little spirit man is fed and watered. And together, that makes me feel more grounded, confident, and sure that this little house that God gave us is exactly where we need to be at this point in time.
And it feels really good to know that. It feels good to know that God has me exactly where He wants me, and this new life we’re making might be a little lonely without all our friends in New York, but thank God, He’s filling all that freed up time and energy with more and more of Himself and that feels all the more worthwhile.