While we cannot discount the affects of how we physically treat our bodies as a whole, the spiritual wellbeing of a person has a greater affect. In fact, the way we treat ourselves as a whole is connected with our spiritual walk or lack thereof. Like it or not, our attitude and behavior generally corresponds with our belief system. A mistake some make in relation to their health is that they deal with it strictly from a physical perspective. Without realizing it, the spiritual always precedes the physical. Instead of finding the root cause of the problem, they treat the symptoms instead. They are more interested in finding relief from their physical discomforts than dealing with the core issues of the heart, soul, and mind. Generally, if one deals with the latter, the former will fall into place. 3John 1:2 gives us a big hint in this area: Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (emphasis added, KJV). When a person’s soul prospers, the probability of him or her having good health increases. The following are a just a few examples of how spirituality affects health and vitality.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” An important principle to understand is that health and healing correspond to mercy. Healing is an act of mercy, and when a person fails to extend mercy to others, he restricts mercy in his own life. When we fail to forgive others, we also fail to receive forgiveness from God (see Matthew 6:14-15; 18:15-35). Unforgiveness leads to bitterness, which in turn affects the body physically. In fact, arthritis is a physical result of bitterness. Proverbs 17:23 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (KJV). We must realize that when we restrict mercy, we also restrict joy in our heart. A merry or joyful heart is far better medicine than anything we can buy over the counter is. As one forgives, mercy will flow forth through the Spirit into the heart and soul, and manifest healing into the physical realm. If one happens to be having health issues, even if it is a simple cold, sometimes it pays to see if one has been failing to walk in love. If we fail at walking in love, we will fail to walk in mercy. Being kind to others goes a lot further than many realize. Think about this verse of Scripture: “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30, KJV).
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit (Proverbs 15:4, KJV). The root word for “wholesome,” means to mend or to cure. That is to say “wholesome” is curative or in a literal sense, works like medicine. In the figurative sense, it relates to deliverance, and tranquility. It is the result of a relaxed and tranquil mind, which in turn means the verse could also be rendered as, “tranquility of tongue.” That means gentle or modest speech. It goes hand in hand with Proverbs 16:24: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” The way we speak has much more influence on the quality of life than we may ever realize. It affects us, and those around us. If we want our tongues to be as a tree of life, then we need to have our hearts and minds in order. As Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Consider one more verse from Proverbs that many love to quote: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21, KJV).
One final, but important thought: not all health issues are the result of something a person has done, or some attitude they have. This blog is not meant to condemn anyone, nor is it saying that if a person is sick he or she must have committed some sin. That teaching can be erroneous or misguided. When it comes to such things, the bottom line is to ask God for clarity in the issues of life (see James 1:5-7). In truth, this area requires much more study on the individual’s part, especially since it is not a cut and dry topic.