The following is related to an earlier devotional post on “hygiene”, because it’s true that sickness hinders growth – physically and spiritually. If you’re not familiar with this series, you may want to review some of the foundational articles and videos on W.A.I.T. training and specific posts on “hygiene”.
There are 24 such subjects on this website. You can use the search function to read the devotionals and related Scriptures, view training videos, and even watch contemporary Christian music videos on the same subjects. Simply place your smartphone or tablet on the reading deck of your favorite cardio equipment in the gym, or prop it up in a safe place as you and a friend exercise at home, or even project it onto a smart TV through wifi or bluetooth for larger groups.
I offer the applications below and others only as examples of how you might physically express spiritual principles. They are not magical formulas or guarantees. Neither are they substitutes for God’s call to gather with other believers for worship in a local church, to study His Word and pray privately, to fellowship with other Christians throughout the week, or to serve the hurting and lost.
In the metaphor of physical fitness, consider this series as a “supplement” for your spiritual health. I do believe, however, that these articles and related video which simultaneously feed our spiritual, physical, and relational health can be very practical. After all, the Lord created each of us as a body with a spirit for relationships. And remember, always consult a physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Suggested applications for meditation on “hygiene”:
‘Hygiene’ raises all kinds of practical pictures of relationship: showering and using deodorant after exercising, brushing my teeth before I come to bed with my wife, smelling the leftovers before I feed them to my children (just kidding – mostly), but also filling my mind with thoughts of Jesus’ purity (Matthew 5:8) and praying for His protection from the infection of fear, lust, vengeance, etc. in this fallen world. (Psalm 119:9-11)
We must keep clean for physical health and relationships. Some things we must do to ward off sickness. Others things we should do to keep our relationships healthy. So the next time you’re putting a band-aid on a cut or grooming yourself in front a mirror, turn it into a time of inner reflection. Slow down enough to mediate on the reason for what you’re doing. Here are few examples of what that might look like.
If you’ve been picking out your own toothpaste, body wash, and other smell-goods, can you let your loved ones choose instead? Aren’t they the ones we should please anyway? Open yourself to their suggestions. These might be different than what you would have chosen, but your love will be focused more on them than on self. Or if your razor doesn’t shave you as closely as you’d like, maybe the imperfect shave can be an all-day reminder that you’re not perfect and to pray for humility and courage to do your imperfect work and trust Christ with the results!
If you or your loved ones often have injuries, illnesses, or other physical problems but you continually put off going to see a doctor, are you downplaying the importance of the body? Remember that our bodies are His temple. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Did you know that the disciple, Luke, was a doctor? Paul seems to have taken him along to care for a painful eye disease (2 Corinthians 12:1-9, Galatians 4:15 and 6:11). See? (pun intended), it’s not unspiritual to care for our bodies.
On the other hand, some people only focus on the physical. If I or my loved ones are frequently depressed, feel anxious, suffer from hypertension, headaches and stomach aches, irritable bowels, impulsivity or inattentiveness, etc. and my only or first course of action has been to seek medication, then I may be neglecting the reality of spiritual help such as prayer.
I’m not primarily talking about demonic influences, although Scripture teaches their reality. I’m talking about the reality of how our beliefs impact our bodies. Medical studies estimate that up to 70% of patient concerns may be psycho-somatic (mind-body). Does that mean there’s really nothing wrong with them or does it show that our spiritual beliefs (what’s right & wrong, true & false) clearly impact our bodies?
Maybe you believe God doesn’t listen to ‘dirty people’ so you’ve stopped spending time with Him. And now your body is in knots from the feeling (belief) that you’re not loved. Purge your body of worry and fill it with hope in Him by going back to God in His Word. Matthew 6:5-6 reminds us that He cleanses those who trust in Him.
Most of us spend lots of time cleaning and protecting our bodies that just keep getting dirty. Shouldn’t we spend at least as much time taking care of our spirits and relationships that will last forever? Psalm 51:7 says that when God washes us, we will be whiter than snow. Meet with His people to encourage and strengthen each other about our purity in Christ. (Acts 2:42-47 and Hebrews 10:19-25) Amen!
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