**Published in The Christian Online Magazine, October 2012**
What Does it Mean to be a “Healthy” Christian?
You can’t go very far without hearing the word “healthy”. It’s on every newsstand, magazine cover, and diet book. Ironically, these publications will claim to know the secret to becoming healthy, yet none of their articles will point to the same solution. How is a person supposed to know what direction to take?
As Christians we are admonished not to follow the patterns of the world (Rom. 12:1-2), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t concern ourselves with our physical health. Yet even more important than our physical health is our spiritual health. The more “in tune” we are to God’s Word, the more motivated we are to make wise decisions concerning our physical bodies. Physical and Spiritual cannot be separated. We are to honor God with our whole bodies, not just the pieces we want to give Him.
So, that leads us to the question—as a Christian, what does it mean to be “healthy”? I recently posted this question on Twitter and received some responses.
@Gregparker16 tweeted: “Being on your knees in front of the Lord every night.”
@Hasten_Home tweeted: “Functioning in full contact & strength in the capacity God intended.”
Both of these answers are excellent. But let’s take it a step further and find out what the most important Book has to say. After all, is there any better advice then what is found in the Word of God?
3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul propsereth.” (KJV)
The best way to understand any verse is to go to the source of writing, that is, the original language. So much gets lost in translation. The Greek and Hebrew languages are very complex and many times a single word is given numerous meanings. So at all times one must consider the context of the passage when interpreting Scripture responsibly.
What we read in 3 John 1:2 is a typical greeting among brethren in the Church. Obviously they wished each other well, just as you or I would ask someone, “How are you?” Greetings such as these were acts of courtesy as well as genuine concern. What I found particularly interesting in this passage was the meaning of “health”. The Greek word “hugiēs” (pronounced hoog-ee-ace) translates: “uncorrupt” or “true in doctrine”. It also means “safe and sound” or “whole”.
And here lies the answer to our question. As a Christian, to be “healthy” is to be whole in spirit (including doctrine). Wholeness begins in our hearts.
We see this same concept displayed throughout Isaiah and Jeremiah. Several times the word “health” is used, and each time it refers to a spiritual wholeness for the sinful nation of Israel (see Jer. 30:17; 33:5-6, Isa. 58:8).
The most important health concern we have involves our spiritual health. A spiritually healthy, balanced Christian will make wise choices in the world, including that of food, activity, and finances.
God is in the business of restoration (wholeness). He often allows brokenness to bring healing—all to the glory of His Name. Psalm 51:8 “Make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” The Hebrew word for “bones” in this passage is not referring to the literal bone matter holding David together, but rather the spiritual matter. Translated from Hebrew the word “bones” means “substance of life”—in other words, his spirit. God allowed David to experience spiritual brokenness so He could bring David through the valley of repentance towards the mountaintop of restoration.
Do you want to be a healthy Christian? It begins with God’s word–obedience to it and cleansing by it. We don’t drive a car without first using our minds to get in the car, turn on the engine, and press the gas pedal. Likewise, we can’t expect to make wise life-choices in any area if our minds are not aligned with the absolute truth of God’s Word.
“I have chosen the way of truth…I will run to the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:30, 32 (NIV)
© Rebecca Aarup