Spiritual Health and Wellness | UMC YoungPeople
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December 2012

Spiritual Health and Wellness

By: Vanessa Small

Do you remember hearing those constant childhood reminders encouraging us to live a healthy lifestyle? Eat your vegetables. Don’t eat too much candy. Don’t sit in front of the TV all day. It seemed we were bombarded with the message of the importance of healthy choices.

I know that eating healthy and exercising are important and that there are benefits from such practices. So why don’t I put more effort into actually doing those things? I say I want to exercise more or eat healthier, but I just can’t get myself to make it a habit.

Maybe it’s laziness. It’s easier to stop for fast food than plan a healthy menu. Maybe I settle for less than the best every once and a while. A few occasional unhealthy choices won’t hurt, right? Or maybe it’s that overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start. I’ve never really liked trying new foods, and major changes to my diet and lifestyle seem a little drastic.

But the benefits of healthy living would be worth the effort. Even some small changes could help: drinking a glass of water instead of soda, taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If we could cultivate habits such as these, they would become ingrained as part of our lifestyle and lead us on a journey of physical health and wellness.

The apostle Paul talked about physical training in 1 Timothy 4:8. But Paul also goes on to say that something else is even more valuable, and that is our spiritual health — godliness, holiness, being like Jesus, serving God faithfully.

Just as physical training requires discipline, so does training to be godly. We need to partake in those spiritual disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, giving, and invest our time in spiritual other activities, in order to cultivate our spiritual health. We must keep ourselves grounded in God’s Word, in tune with God’s Spirit, in constant communication with our Father. Then we can live a healthy lifestyle of faith others can imitate.

Maybe you’ve grown up in church hearing about the importance of such disciplines, but never made them a regular part of your life. Maybe you used to practice such healthy habits, but have since gotten away from them. Maybe you’re a new Christian just starting out on the path of spiritual growth.

You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of beginning such spiritual disciplines, but take some small steps toward training in godliness. Commit to reading a chapter of your Bible each morning. Give up ten minutes of Facebook time for ten minutes of prayer time. Go to bed an hour earlier Saturday night, so you will arise rested and ready for a morning of worship on Sunday.

As you develop these habits and disciplines, trust that the benefits will be well worth the effort. While physical training is valuable, its rewards are only temporary. Investing in your spiritual health will bring benefits that last through eternity.

Discussion Question: What small step can you take today to start developing your spiritual health?

See more devotions from Vanessa, and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.