Over the past five years, my body has been thoroughly changed by disease. I’ve gained weight, my hair has thinned, and I bruise very easily. My sinuses run like crazy. My eye constantly waters. Some days I just feel like a total mess!
And if I listened to the world’s message about beauty, I would curl up in a ball and feel sorry for myself. I’d be ashamed to leave home. I’d be lusting after better clothes, better hair, and a better body.
But that’s not what’s truly important — not in this life, and certainly not in the next.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
From the moment we’re born, our bodies start dying. From that very minute onward, we deal with the effects of sin. From that day on, we fight to survive through sickness, injuries, weakness, and things just plain not working right.
But from the moment we’re born, our souls start living. And they will live on, forever. And we all know that, don’t we? But we don’t always act like we believe it.
Yes, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Yes, our physical appearance is an at-a-glance testimony to others. But we put far too much emphasis on the physical, and not enough on the spiritual:
- We workout physically – but forget to workout spiritually by practicing godliness and contentment.
- We feed and nourish our bodies constantly – but try to survive on a weak and inconsistent spiritual diet.
- We keep our bodies clean fastidiously – but forget about keeping our hearts clean before God and men.
- We spend our resources (money, time, effort) on things that will improve physical appearance – but hardly spend any resources on what will improve our soul’s appearance before God.
- We plan ahead for physical emergencies – but make no preparations for spiritual “emergencies” or trials.
And guys, I’m not just talking to the ladies here. This is something we all need to work on! Every one of us must daily be focused on improving our spiritual health.
Every one of us must focus more on fearing the Lord, than being feared (respected, admired, known) by other men and women. Every one of us needs to make our souls a greater priority than our bodies.
Because popularity is deceitful. Physical appeal is vain.
But the soul who fears God should be praised. <– click to tweet
So let’s stop focusing on being the best-looking person in a crowd. Let’s stop trying to be the most fashionable, or the most fit, or the one with the most friends. Instead, let’s focus on improving our souls! How might we do that?
Spend time with God first. Before you spend time with anything else. Spend more time with Him than you do with anything (or anyone) else.
Daily feed your soul with His Word. Don’t try to survive with a “daily crumb.” Don’t settle for weak preaching or insubstantial books. Feast on the Word itself. Savor it, like you would your favorite foods. Pile it on, and let it fill you to overflowing. There are no bad side effects from eating too much spiritual food.
Daily confess your sins. If you have unconfessed sin, He will not hear your prayers. Keep your thoughts pure, and keep your heart clean before our holy and righteous God.
Daily flex your spiritual muscles. Memorize the Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, give thanks in everything, pray without ceasing. Discipline yourself to grow in godliness.
Spend your resources on what is eternally important. You don’t desperately need that manicure, or that new computer game – but your friend might desperately need a Bible, or a good devotional book. You don’t need to watch that new episode – but your friend might need someone to listen or pray with them.
Prepare for spiritual droughts and difficulties. Read your Bible now, so you’ll have its truths in your heart during the difficult times. Learn it now, so you can help others during their own trials. Be rooted in God, so your foundation will stand sure when the storms of life head your way.
godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life
and also for the life to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8
Why do we have trouble putting soul-health above physical well-being? How could we as Christians work to make our spiritual lives a higher priority?