The older I get the more I value my health. When I was little, I would get strep throat quite often. I was familiar with the burning soreness in my throat when I swallowed. We would call the doctor, and inevitably I would end up getting a shot of penicillin. Even though I feared getting a shot, I knew it was what was required to feel better, and I was willing to do what I needed to get healthy.
Now in my 50s, I don’t get strep throat anymore, but I do have all kinds of highs and lows with my physical health. But, health is more than the absence of sickness or disease. It can be defined as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” Healthiness is the whole package of being well in our bodies, mind/emotions and relationships.
What does it take to be well? Physically, we need to eat the right things, drink water, exercise and get enough sleep. Mentally, we need to process our emotions, stretch our minds and focus on those things that are right and true. And relationally, we need connection, to interact with a humble openness, and to love well. These are a few of the disciplines required to be healthy.
Amid all the lists and resolutions, God tells us in Prov. 4:20-22 what brings lasting life and health to our whole body: His word. “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body” (Prov. 4:20-21 NIV).
Here are four ways to seek healthiness through God’s Word:
- Pay attention. Don’t just pick the Bible up on Sunday mornings. Read it daily and take notice of its truth and power.
- Turn your ear and listen. Ask God for ears to hear what He is saying to you and then quit talking. Listen to worship music throughout the day. Engage in the stillness of who He is.
- Fix your eyes and look. Be willing to see the truth of who you are and who God is in your current situation. Write down verses and put them in places where you spend a lot of time: your car, the sink, or on your computer.
- Keep truth in your heart and hold on tightly. Embrace His Word as the truth in your life. Prioritize what God says over what you feel or can figure out.
As ministry wives ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, I spend a lot of time sharing and encouraging ministry wives to live healthy. Ministry offers many unique challenges, and ministry wives are often faced with helping others live in healthy places while struggling to stay rooted in Jesus.
This weekend, Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, is our annual Ministry Wives Weekend where Oklahoma Baptist ministry wives from all parts of the state gather to be encouraged. Our theme this year is “Growing Healthy.” We will dive into what it looks like to be spiritually and emotionally healthy. Christine Hoover (host of North American Mission Board’s The Ministry Wife Podcast) will lead us to God’s Word and help navigate conversations about healthiness unique to ministry wives.
I long to live healthy. But for all the plans I make, if I miss engaging with God and His Word, I will miss it. God tells us that health for the whole body is found in Him. His Word works actively in our lives to grow and to shape us. We have to be willing to do what it takes to be healthy. So today, open up God’s word, listen, look and hold tightly to him. You will be so happy you did. God is faithful.