Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Having a Healthy Spirit

As I continue my recover from my illness, I have realized that it is not only important to rebuild my physical strength but it is also important to rebuild my spiritual strength. As my family and I continue to go through this valley of darkness, we are drained physically and spiritually. There are times when we just feel like we cannot go on. It is during those moments that we need to stop and remember to take care of ourselves physically and spiritually.

Mothers and doctors alike will tell you the secrets of having good health. It begins with getting plenty of rest. Eating right. Exercising regularly. Drinking plenty of water. If you think about it, our spiritual health needs the same things. We cannot grow spiritually if we continue to deprive our spirits of rest, spiritual food, exercising our Christlike character and drinking the living water. 

In the coming weeks, I will be looking at each of these areas and discussing the importance of building and maintaining a healthy spirit. As we experience problems, setbacks and tragedies in our lives, we must have a healthy spirit to help us through the situations we face. It is only through our daily routine of caring for our spirits that we are able to weather the storms and are able to serve God wholly and completely. If we begin to slack in our routines and skip on our rest, eat spiritual junk food, become complacent in building our Christlike character and drink the tepid water of world, we will soon find ourselves spiritually weak and susceptible to the infection of sin.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul, in chapter 6, tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and they do not belong to us. Our temples were bought at a price. The shed blood of Christ Jesus paid for our bodies and we honor God by keeping our temples in order and in the best condition possible. This includes the spiritual part of our bodies as well. We cannot just sit idly and allow our bodies and spirits to fall apart. We must continue to work to build them up so that we can physically and spiritually handle the demands placed before us. We are going to be tempted, persecuted and challenged every moment of our lives.

Growing up, my family and I enjoyed watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”. We watched nature and its beauty as well as its savagery. Sometimes, we watched in horror as a lioness was attacking a weak or sick animal. Lionesses do not attack the strong. They go after the ones that present them with the least challenge and are easy to take down and devour. Satan, like a lioness, is the same way. He does not go after the spiritually strong. He goes after the ones that are weak and susceptible to temptation. Peter, in his first epistle, warns us to be on guard for our great enemy, Satan. “8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

By maintaining our spiritual health, we are able to resist Satan and his desire to devour us. As a family of believers, the spiritually strong do not run from Satan. They stay with those who are weak and surround them in prayer. We do not forsake our brothers and sisters in Christ by running away. We lift up the weak in spirit to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to give them strength to get through their situation. 

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he tells him about physical training and its limited value and reminds him that godliness is valuable in all cases. “8 Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” By building our spiritual health, we ensure that we will enjoy the benefits it has to offer in this life and the life that is to come. 

As I reflect on the challenges that my family and I continue to face due to my illness, there have been times when I was on my hands and knees weeping and crying out to the Lord. My physical strength and stamina had all but left me. I honestly felt that I could not go on another step. I cried out to the Lord for strength and comfort. True to His word, He provided me with what I needed and more. He not only gave me the strength to continue but He also gave that strength to my wife and daughter. We have become closer and stronger as we endured the strain of my chronic illness and all of the other setbacks in our lives. Yes, it has been difficult and each day presents new challenges and more chances for heartache and disappointment, but we are spiritually strong and able to resist the temptations of our enemy, Satan. 

Having a healthy spirit ensures a great attitude and is the best medicine you can possibly have. A healthy spirit makes a cheerful heart and that in and of itself will lead to a positive outlook in life. Let us look at Proverbs 17. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” While I was in the hospital, the best treatment I received was maintaining a cheerful heart. I helped the nurses and nurse technicians whenever possible and ministered to those around me. I tried to remain optimistic and cheerful each day. Yes, there were times when it seemed impossible to do. There were times when more problems and heartaches would just pop up. At those times, I remembered the words of Paul from 2 Corinthians. “8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

That grace that Paul speaks of is the fuel our spirits need in the times of trial and trouble. It is that free gift from God that gets us through the most difficult of times. As my family and I continue to face more and more challenges, we know that God is close by and always there for us. We know that He will not forsake us or allow us to fall. He will hold us up with His victorious right hand. It is only by being spiritually strong that we are able to get through our daily problems, disappointments and setbacks.

Over the past several months, I have gone through all of the feelings that accompany a chronic, life-threatening illness. I have been angry, depressed and disappointed and have felt alone. As I experienced each, I found myself relying more and more on my faith and knowing that God has plans to prosper me and to give me hope not just in this life but also the next. As my Heavenly Father, He provides for my family and me each day. Our daily needs are met and I, like Job, know that my Redeemer lives and that He loves me as His child.

If you are facing trials and troubles that crush you physically and spiritually, I ask that you take time daily to strengthen yourself by doing what mothers and doctors always tell their children and patients. Once you begin to do those things, you will find a new energy. In Isaiah 40, we are told that “those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” When you are strong and healthy spiritually, you will find a renewed strength and soar higher and farther like an eagle. 

Next Sunday, I will be discussing the the virtues of spiritual rest. In our busy schedule, we need to take time for ourselves to be alone with the Lord and receive His peace. It is a peace that knows no end or boundary. When we are spiritually healthy, we are also physically healthy. We have a cheerful heart that radiates the love of the Lord to all those around us. As we minister to those around us, we can help them achieve spiritual health so that they, like us, can stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

No comments:

Post a Comment