Debbie Salter Goodwin
Four Ways to Help You Thrive Spiritually
What do we need to thrive?
Food and oxygen for sure. Relationships and meaningful involvement are high on the list. We give a lot of money and attention to our physical health.
But what about our spiritual health? What do we need to thrive spiritually? I've identified four components that are crucial to spiritual health. We’ll talk about ways to meet them next week.
1. We need to make soul health a priority.
The soul is not our best self or other self, it is the essence of our self. The soul is how God imprinted us with His image. In the same way that we can’t separate our physical heart from our body without dying, we can’t separate our soul from the heartbeat of our lives. The soul has our best spiritual receptors and warning system. If we don’t keep our souls healthy; we risk consequences of bad decisions, fear, and often unnecessary insecurity.
Healthy devotional rhythms help address our need for soul health. Worship, prayer, Bible study--they become our friends, not scheduled tasks. We incorporate them into the rhythms of our lives so that they are seamless parts of living. We develop them so that they become unforced, like breathing. They don’t take timeout of our day, they add spiritual energy to them.
2. We need confidence in the unfailing love of God.
We were made for love and loving. The center of that need is not in our emotions, it is in our soul, our very essence. God is an all-loving God. He always acts with all His love even when He must administer judgment. God’s love never fails to deliver all His love.to us as He warns, directs, convicts, disciplines, and blesses. We were created out of His love for a loving relationship with Him.
But do we know God by unfailing love. This is not where we play the supposed-to card. We don’t grow spiritually just by doing what we’re supposed to or thinking like we’re supposed to. Our soul needs a deeper connection. This is where we ask ourselves-Do I believe that God’s love is un-failing towards me?
3. We need to be secure in God’s forgiveness.
I have worked with people long enough to know that some live with doubts about God’s forgiveness all their life. They have twisted this doubt into a hopeful understanding instead of a certainty. We don’t assume God’s forgiveness; we ask for it. When we do, we receive more than a checkmark. We receive a bold, consuming forgiveness that can heal memories, self-worth, thoughts, actions, reactions—everything that has made us who we are today. We receive God’s forgiveness to live it, not just to understand it as a right. Again, a twinge of doubt here takes its hit on trust. Damaged trust leads to incomplete obedience.
4. We need unreserved trust in God.
Trust is an invisible bond built by very visible actions. I like the way Susie Larson says it in her devotional book, Prevail--You made a decision to save me. . . I make the decision to trust you.
Did you get that? Trust isn't a feeling; it's a decision, but a very informed decision.
ision. Trusting God anchors in God’s rescue of us. Unfortunately, we try to make it about what we want God to do. Then, when He doesn’t do it, we lose a little trust. This creates a slow path to soul atrophy not growth.
Trust is based on God’s character and integrity. He always does what He promises. He always acts for our best. He always gives us what we need even when we don’t recognize it. Trust does not always bring more understanding about why God acts in one way or another, but it always brings a deeper relationship.
Here's the problem: we can't just throw spiritual activities into our lives hoping they keep us spiritually healthy. We have to address the core issues about who God is and how much of Him we are inviting into our lives.
As we begin a New Year, it's a good time for a spiritual review. Until next week, spend some time with the questions::
How do I measure my soul health?
Do I believe that God's love is un-failing towards me?
How secure do I live in God's forgiveness?
Where have I withheld trust in our trust-worthy God?
May the One Who loves you best take you deeper in a a love that completes you more than any other love ever will.