Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Are you in need of convincing that God is on our side? The One who was before all creation cared so much about you and me that He didn’t spare His own Son. He could have. God could have chosen to keep Jesus in heaven. Who could have questioned Him? He’s God! But He sent His real Son in order to give us a chance to become sons through His sacrifice. Does that sound like someone who isn’t going to take care of His people?
In my experience, the richness of the gospel really became real to me when I began to better understand how God adopts us as His children once we’re saved. The inheritance we receive as sons and daughters of the great I AM are innumerable and indescribable.
If He would give us the greatest gift possible to give, why would He not also give us all things through Him? Why would He not meet our needs, not answer our prayers or not stand by us in times of trouble? Our loving God is faithful and stands by His people. He leads us and guides us, provides for us, prepares us and equips us.
Ephesians 1:8-10 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
God loves to bless His people. We don’t have to do anything to earn His blessings, they’re a free gift – and that includes the gift of His Son. Now lest you get the wrong impression that this is a prosperity gospel message, let’s point out that God loves to bless us for the purpose of His glory, not merely for our enjoyment.
He lavished His riches on us in His Son in wisdom – with insight. He chose to reveal Himself to us in the form of Christ Jesus, making known the mystery of His will. He planned this from eternity – it’s always been the plan. This revelation brings Him glory and fulfills His will.
It’s in Jesus that all things are united. He’s the key. He’s the deal. In Him all things in heaven and on earth come together. God’s plan in showering His blessings on us is to bring glory to Himself and to make Christ known to all. He gives us what we have that He might use us to shine His light.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Having the right friends can be a great benefit in life. They can challenge you mentally, support you emotionally, strengthen you spiritually, and otherwise just be there for you when you need them. It’s also important, though, to be a good friend as well.
We’re blessed through the friendship of others, but we’re sanctified by our friendship to them. Being on the giving end isn’t always the easy part of a relationship, but it’s the godly part. By showing interest in other people, we become more humble by thinking of ourselves less. By being a good listener we grow in wisdom. And by forgiving, we learn more about grace and the amazing gift God has given us in Christ.
We’ve all been given a unique opportunity to share Christ with others through our relationships with them. I can think of several friends I’ve had in my lifetime where I received little to nothing from them, but gave all I had. Those times could be tough, I’ll be honest. I did end up ending most of those friendships out of necessity, but I can’t say I didn’t benefit from those times I spent giving of myself, even when I knew I wouldn’t get anything in return. I didn’t know it back then, but I was learning to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. May I continue to grow spiritually through my relationships, and may you also.
Proverbs 12:26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
When you think about keeping yourself healthy, you might not think about your friendships as part of the mix, but the Bible warns us about who we choose as friends and the effects of choosing poorly.
There are certain kinds of people that we should never surround ourselves with, and then there are kinds of people that we should absolutely spend time with. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love everyone and care for all people, but the closest of friends should be chosen wisely. Will they build you up and strengthen your faith, or will they make it harder for you to live the life God has called you to?
I’ve had times in my life when I hung out with very negative people, with very immoral people, or with very unbelieving people, and as much as I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives, they made it incredibly difficult for me to grow spiritually. By distancing myself from those friends, while still maintaining contact, I was able to get around people with whom I could have a mutually encouraging relationship.
Love all people, seek out others to care for, but choose your close friends with discernment. They’ll affect your own health.
James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
How far are you willing to go for healing? A story is told in the Bible of a man who was lowered down into the midst of a crowd by his friends so that Jesus could heal him (Mark 2:1-12). Jesus saw the faith of the friends and not only healed the man, but forgave him of his sins. Because of the faith of his friends!
Today’s church tends to go in one of two directions on the topic of healing. On the one hand, some churches focus a lot on healing and most of their time is dedicated to healing services and the like. On the other hand are churches that refuse to acknowledge such a thing as healing because of the previously mentioned group. We should always be careful never to do more than the Bible instructs, but we should be just as cautious that we never ignore what the Bible says to do either.
Our God is a powerful God who also happens to be good. He can heal and in many cases He does heal. He heals not only the physical body, but the spiritual person. We can trust Him when we bring our requests before Him. He cares about us and loves us, He has a plan. In all things, to God be the glory. If He brings healing, to Him be the glory. If He does not, to Him be the glory.
Are you believing God for a miracle? Take a step of faith and go before the church leaders for prayer and anointing. This brings glory and honor to God and unites the church in purpose and in prayer. Never give up hope, our Lord is good.
Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This is as true of the heart as it is of the mind. If we fill up our lives with the wrong stuff, there’s no more room for the right stuff.
This past week, as I was teaching the elementary school aged kids in church, I spoke on this topic. I talked about Romans 12:2 and being transformed by the renewal of your mind and how that meant that you need to spend time with God daily by reading what He has said in His Word. We talked about how we can have peace in times of fear or comfort in times of worry if we have our minds set on the Lord. Sensing that the kids were getting it, but needed a bit more, I gave an analogy.
If we were to only feed our bodies once a week, we’d be incredibly weak and may even starve. That would be nonsense, yet we do it spiritually by not spending time in the Word more than once or twice a week. How could we expect to know God’s will or to have peace when we haven’t been with the one who leads and comforts? It’s ludicrous.
The truth is, to be truly healthy mentally, we’ve got to have the right thoughts. In order to have the right thoughts, we’ve got to put the right things into our mind. We’ve got to feed our minds with the Scriptures, our spiritual food. That’s how we stay fixed on God.
Can I challenge you, if you’re not already reading the Bible daily to start with a Bible reading plan? There are some great ones available online.
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
One thing I find very sad about the state of the American church culture is that many Christians don’t feel like they can be real about their struggles. Because of the facade we think we have to put on for other church people, we don’t let them in on our little secret that we’re weak and it’s only because of God’s strength that we make it.
It does a disservice to everyone when we think we have to be strong on our own. I remember thinking as a kid that all of the Christians I saw at church had it all together. I really never knew that anyone had doubts about their faith, or worried about their finances, or had marriage issues. I just thought that I was supposed to have it made if I was a Christian. I know better now.
It’s not only okay to be reliant on God for His strength, it’s what He wants from us. He even allows us at times to be in circumstances that only He can get us out of. Why? So He can display His strength. Being dependent on God is right and good. He’s our Father who wants to take care of us and He is able to do so.
Sometimes we have to put down the Hercules act and admit that we’re not superhuman. To be physically healthy we need rest and we need to know our limitations. We need to trust in God enough to take care of things that we pause from working and let Him handle it. Believe it or not, this also leads to spiritual growth also.
How are you doing at this? Do you think you have to handle everything or do you rely on God and rest in Him?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
You and I have work to do. We’ve each been given a calling to fulfill, a mission to accomplish, and that requires our physical bodies. It’s our job, then, to maintain the vessel God will use.
One of my only hobbies is running obstacle course races. They range from about 3 miles to somewhere near 12 miles and there are any number of various obstacles to tackle along the way. Sometimes a course is fairly easy, other times I come home barely able to walk for two days. People always ask me why I put myself through that. My answer is twofold.
First, having a physical goal ahead of me motivates me to stay in shape, to get ready for the event. That’s about the only thing that gets me exercising sometimes. Secondly, I like to sign up for these challenges because they’re uncomfortable and outside the norm. I want to push myself physically to do things that I’m not sure I can actually do. I end up praying a whole lot while I’m running the course because I need all the help I can get. It reminds me that I’m dependent on my Creator to do anything. I believe that brings Him glory.
Now, let me wrap all this physical stuff in with the spiritual aspect we’ve talked about. I have a calling to love God more than anything else, giving my body as a living sacrifice. In order to carry out His purpose for me, which includes loving other people, serving them, and all other sorts of things that require a physical body, I’ve got to keep my body operational to the best of my ability.
My body is not my own. Your body is not your own. We’ve been bought with a price and now we’re to bring the Lord glory through our bodies. We can’t neglect the physical in exchange for the spiritual. They need each other.
How are you taking care of your temple? What do you need to do to improve?
2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Giving is good for spiritual health. We’ve discussed how not withholding finances and possessions can be a great exercise, but there’s more to be shared than just the tangible things of this life. We have something even greater and it just begs to be shared with others.
The gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, the good news that He lived a perfect life that we could never live, without sin, and paid the ultimate price by dying on a cross to pay for our sins, and that He rose again from the dead and now advocates for us even now on His throne, is not some mysterious secret to be kept. It’s the best story ever to be told and it must be told to all who will hear.
If we’re paying attention and really have our eyes open, we’ll see that there are potential opportunities to share this news all over. Withholding the gospel and keeping it for ourselves is not good for us spiritually. It makes us inwardly focused, which is not the purpose God intended for the gospel. It’s meant to be told, again and again and again.
If you’re flatlining spiritually and aren’t sure what’s wrong, take a self assessment and diagnose whether you’re sharing the Good News with others or keeping it bottled up within. If the answer is the latter, make it a point to ask God for a person to share His story with.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Here’s a basic principle for remaining healthy: eat the right stuff, don’t eat too much, and exercise. That same concept can be applied to spiritual health as well. Study God’s Word, but don’t just sit around studying, put it into action. Serving others is spiritual exercise.
Someone once told me early on in my Christian life that it was time for me to stop just reading all the time and put the Word into practice. I was afraid to do it, worried that I was unqualified because I still had so much to learn. But he was right, if I was ever going to start living the way God wanted me to live, I’d have to walk out of my room and start serving other people.
Let’s look to our example of how to love and serve: Jesus. If anyone ever had a right to be served by everyone else, it was Jesus. Despite the fact that He simply could have ordered everyone to bow down to Him as their King, He chose instead to become servant to all. He didn’t come to earth to be served, but to give His own life.
Now, what’s holding us back from giving unselfishly for the sake of others knowing Him?