Health and well-being. What’s the purpose of having it? Why should we desire to be healthy?
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist denomination, would have said that the purpose of good health is to enable us to do the things that God has planned for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) According to Wesley, our goal should not be to have good health for its own sake but to have health so our bodies can be “fit instruments” so that we can be our best as we live in community and service with others and in communion with God.
“The Christian life of grace and confidence looks to the well-being of the whole [person]. It sets a high value upon health — of body, mind and spirit. But health is not a terminal value in and of itself. A
human life is more than a biological episode. The value of health is to supply an efficient agency for the projects of the total self, to provide a fit instrument for the growth and maturation of men and women in community with others and communion with God.” *
Wesley recognized that the inner aspects of a person – his soul and emotions or ‘passions’ – greatly affected one’s physical health. He regarded the body as system, working together in all it’s parts or aspects. This stresses the importance of attending to our inner selves and certainly issues of the heart. Scripture reminds us of the significance of caring for our hearts.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
Another key motivation for believers to care for their health is that the Holy Spirit lives in us.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
If our motivation for attending to our health is pure before God, it will be pleasing to him. Then, as we call to him to help us with aspects of caring for our bodies, he will hear our cries and attend to them. Psalm 34:15
Questions to Reflect On:
What’s your motivation for having good health and well-being? Do you think that God is pleased with these motivations?
More References on Spirit-Mind-Body Health
* Albert C. Outler (a Wesley scholar), Psychotherapy and the Christian Message (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954), p. 179.