Whatever your goals for this year. It is probably good to have a word that describes the goal or the mission of change. For me, this year is about health. "Go Lean In '16". My word is health. Focus on health... spiritual health, relational health, physical health, financial health, social health. My question for each situation will be, "Is this going to contribute to my healthiness, or unhealthiness?" I'm not saying I will execute this perfectly, but I will attempt to be healthier at the end of this year.
That will mean saying yes to some things I don't like, and saying no to some things I do like. That is a discipline issue. While people may achieve success without great discipline, you can never be truly healthy without discipline. Health is not just about losing weight or gaining stamina. It is about being who you were made to be... balanced and able.
While I don't use the word perfect very often, there is a level of perfection found in being healthy. There are some types of perfection we cannot enjoy. We cannot be perfect like God, or like the angels, or like Adam. But we can be exactly what God expects of us in any given moment. Though God will expect different things of me next week, and next year, I can be who I am supposed to be right now.
The apostle Paul speaks of this...
"Give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Don’t stifle the Spirit.
Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good.
Stay away from every kind of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. Brothers, pray for us also." (1 Thessalonians 5:12-25)
Health is about interacting with others in a respectful way. It is about being at peace with others. It is about accountability. It is about being available to comfort others. It is about helping those who need a hand. It is about being patient. It is about being Christlike when we have been wronged. It is about pursuing the good. It is about being joyful always. It is about constant communication with God (not just when I need something.) It is about being thankful no matter what happens to me so I can fulfill God's purpose. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit free movement in my life. It is about hearing (both the easy and hard things) from God through others, and being wise enough to know who is really speaking for God. It is about avoiding sin.
If I apply these principles or laws of spiritual health, I will be who I am supposed to be. This kind of "Christian Perfection" is far below "God Perfection", but it is what God has for us. And not just in the future of eternity. But now. Look at what Paul says, "May God sanctify you completely, in your spirit, soul, and body, so that you may be blameless what Jesus comes back." We can be who we are supposed to be. That is a glorious thought. We aren't just worms of the dust. We aren't just sinners saved by grace. We can be healthy... in our body, soul, and spirit.
We can be perfect in this sense because it isn't just us trying to be better. It is God making us better. He is perfecting us.
My goal for this year is health, in every area of life. Much of that is up to me. God is willing and able to restore my spiritual, relational, and physical health. Still, I have to live according to His work. But notice at the end, Paul asks his friends to pray for him. We are in this together. Pray for me that I will become healthy. Thanks in advance.
Have a great start to 2016.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.