A Wellness Model of Spirituality

September 20, 2009

On Wednesday, as I lay on a massage table during a chiropractor visit, I watched a video presentation about physical health. Against the background of happy pictures, the video described the difference between the sickness model of health and the wellness model.

The sickness model doesn’t worry about health until the person is sick. Then, once the person is sick, he goes to a doctor to be fixed. Hmmm, sounds familiar to me. The wellness model, on the other hand, focuses on health from the beginning. Instead of waiting to get sick, those following the wellness model pursue what makes for good health through diet, exercise, activity, maintenance, relaxation, etc.

I couldn’t help but make a parallel to my spiritual life. Sadly, with physical health, I tend to follow a sickness model (I type as I finish up donuts and coffee). I need to work on that. However, even more sadly, I often pursue the same model spiritually.

It is so easy when things seem to be going smooth to let spirituality slip by the wayside. It is easy to postpone prayer, to set aside study, to be too busy for brethren. I’m not having any problems today so that stuff doesn’t seem as important. However, if a spiritual crisis hits, I quickly turn to spiritual things so God will fix me.

As I Timothy 4:8 says, while I may need to profit a little from the wellness model with my physical health, I need the profit in all things that godliness provides. Imagine how many spiritual crises I might avoid if I start pursuing that wellness model.

In a physical-wellness model, I know I need to eat right, stay active, exercise, have maintenance visits with wellness professionals. What do I need to do to follow a wellness model in my spiritual life?

I need to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). Prayer is the final part of God’s armor (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is the fundamental tool that reminds me God’s presence. It is the fundamental activity that connects me to Him as I walk through the day.

I need to spend time in the word of God’s grace, which is able to build me up and give the inheritance along with all the saints (Acts 20:32). As we’ve said over and again, God’s word is part of every aspect of His armor (Ephesians 6:14-17). I can’t possibly face Satan’s fiery darts without being in the Word constantly and consistently.

I need to meditate on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, …any excellence… anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). If my mind and heart are focused on the things of Jesus, then my body will follow with the actions of Jesus.

I need to spend time with others who are trying to pursue wellness. Instead of forsaking the church’s assemblies, I need to be with my brethren so I can encourage and be encouraged (Hebrews 10:25). I need to be with others who are pursuing wellness outside these assemblies like those early Christians who gathered in one another’s homes in order to praise God and spend time together (Acts 2:47).  Spending time with others holds me accountable and encourages me to continue my connection to God. It also provides the safety net to fall into when I do slip.

I need to serve others as Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20:28). I need to perform actions of service to stop the self-poisoning of isolation and resentment. When I’m stuck on myself, looking to be served, I’m destined to fall. However, when I look outside myself and move to serve others, my mindset is changed, my actions are godly, my heart is cleansed.

No doubt there are other activities I need to add to my wellness repertoire, but the main point is I need to quit waiting until I’m spiritually sick to turn to God to fix me. I need to connect to God constantly through His good actions so I might maintain wellness spiritually.

Share on Facebook