The Physical, Mental and Spiritual Disciplines
Speaking from experience, Philip Yancey writes, “For nearly everyone, doubt follows pain quickly and surely, like a reflex action. Suffering calls our most basic beliefs about God into question.” Suffering often causes us to doubt, to question our beliefs, to wrestle with everything we ever thought we knew about God: about who He is, about what He is up to, about the very nature of His heart. All these doubts and questions can be fertile ground for spiritual growth. Go ahead and out, question, wrestle – just be sure to use this time and out to seek to know him desperately. He will keep your heart open to God so that you can hear the answers to those questions.
How do we keep our hearts open? How do we grow closer to God in our trials, instead of crashing down into bitterness and despair? That is where the physical, mental and spiritual disciplines come in.
The Physical Disciplines
Taking care of our bodies
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB
When we surrender ourselves to God, when we are living in deep personal relationship with Him, God Himself lives inside of us. That is almost unfathomable! We must take care of our bodies we may not be strong enough to do God’s Kingdom work if we do not take care of the basics of our health: plenty of exercise, healthy diet, proper sleep.
It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalm 127:2 NLT
I believe God wants you to get proper rest.
Partnering with your doctor, taking charge of your own illness, and becoming knowledgeable about your diagnosis are critical parts of taking care of your health. I believe it is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions, take your medication as prescribed, and change her lifestyle and habits is recommended. All healing comes from God, but remember also that God can guide your doctors and other health professionals to help you, even if they are not Christians.
I believe in God wants us to do everything we can do, and then let him take care of the rest…
Do Not Test God
“”Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Luke 4:12
We may be testing God we do not do everything we can do. Unless we have heard specifically from God otherwise, we may be testing God when we refuse to take recommended treatment (treatment that we have access to, or can afford, or our insurance covers) – and just except God to heal us. to me, this seems like throwing yourself off the highest point of the Temple. (Luke 2:12-13)
Remember Luke was a physician. God gave doctors their knowledge and skills to help the suffering people. I’m not saying to put your faith in doctors and medications. Put your faith in God, pray to God for healing; and you do your part by taking responsibility for your work in the healing process. You do everything you can do; then let God take care of the rest.
The Mental Disciplines
Change our response to suffering
…set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.Colossian 3:1-2
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind covered by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
We may not be able to change our agony or tribulation or loss; however: we can change is our response to this suffering. We can choose to set our minds on what our sinful nature desires, or within set our minds on things above, and what the Holy Spirit desires. We can set our minds and hearts on the world, on ourselves and on our woes and relief from the pain, or we can focus on Jesus and his kingdom. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mindset on the Spirit is life and peace.
Are you obsessed with your misery and your desire for relief from suffering, is your mind running off with the crazy thoughts and worry? Is it true, is a noble, is it pure? Are you thinking about Jesus? If not, take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ! (2 Corinthians 10:5)
It may be time to replace selfish thoughts with thoughts of things above. You may have tried this already and found it not so simple. Me too. I now realize why: our thoughts come from our hearts. We are simply trying to change our thoughts, we may be successful for time, but unless our hearts are transformed, the mind change will probably not last. We want to change your thoughts, we must ask the spirit to examine the core of our beings, our beliefs, our hearts. Immersing in his word can facilitate uprooting Satan’s lies replacing them with God’s truths.
Connect with Christian friends
A second key to mental wholeness can be connecting with friends, same gender Christian friends. Strong believers who have a deep and growing relationship with Jesus-a growing relationship, not a stagnant one. Think friendship between David and Jonathan is a good example. In first Samuel, David is on the run from Saul, hiding out in the caves, running from for his life, and Jonathan came to him and.. His. Rescued him? Let him to a new hiding place? Brought him fresh provisions? No. Jonathan helped him find strength in God. (1 Samuel 23:16)
We need friends who listen and love and comfort and empathize, would that do not try to solve the problems that only Jesus can solve. We need friends who pray with us and point us to God for answers to our problems…
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.Proverbs 11:25
Helping others can get our focus off her own troubles, off ourselves and on to others. They can be one of the keys to spiritual and emotional healing….
The Spiritual Disciplines
How can we come to know God more? I have heard this described his legs of the spiritual three lighted stool:
- Bible Study
- Your Church Family
Imagine yourself on top of this tripod if one of these legs broken your entire relationship with God may topple. I believe that God wants us to commit to these three spiritual disciplines and to make them a lifelong habit but has so much to teach us about pain and adversity during this difficult time, and the three can be key to keeping our hearts open to is transforming power.
from the Book: Triumph Over Suffering: A Spiritual Guide To Conquering Adversity