As we navigate our lives through a most unusual and stress-filled year, it’s good to take time to focus in on what’s most important for a healthy and vibrant life. We may be sheltering in place to keep ourselves safe from Covid-19, but are we also taking care of our emotional and spiritual health? Are we letting our isolation weaken our soul’s immune system?
John, in his third epistle, mentions something rather remarkable in this regard:
2 Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering. (3 John 1:2 TPT)
First, the word for prosper here is the Greek word εὐοδόω (euodoō), which means to have a successful journey. So, John is giving us some insight in having a successful journey through life.
But what’s most remarkable is how John seems to tie Gaius’s (who John is writing this letter to) physical health to his soul’s health. What this means is that I cannot separate my physical well-being, or even financial well-being, from my soul’s well-being. And my soul’s well-being is tied to my spiritual well-being.
This really speaks to me about the importance of prioritizing my spiritual and emotional health and not just my physical health. From experience, I think we can all see how they are indeed inextricably linked.
It’s been shown that a sick soul can actually diminish our ability to fight off infections and disease. My emotional disposition will affect my physical disposition. It may also impede my decision-making capability—my life choices, even financial decisions. Stress and worry can shortened our life-span, and negative psychological issues can also lead to addiction and other maladies that diminish our lives.
On the other hand, we have the promise that in the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV*)
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:9-11 NKJV*)
And the thing about joy and love is that they are both experienced in relationship. We are relational and social creatures that need to be in face-to-face relationship with other people, which should show us how detrimental social distancing and lockdowns can be for our soul.
Let me ask you. Do you think if we prioritized remaining in God’s love in Christ—being filled with HIS joy and pleasures—it just might positively affect our disposition about our lives, even boost our physical immune system? An ultimate immune system that will protect and sustain us, even in times of isolation? I think so.
But here’s a question we need to ask ourselves honestly: If I’m struggling right now, could it be that I haven’t been mindful of my spiritual health? While I’m social distancing, am I intimately and consistently connecting with the lover and sustainer of my soul?
I submit to you that the ultimate immune system starts and ends with a healthy soul that is enriched, empowered, and sustained by God’s infinite love. This is the “heart condition” I should be most concerned with, more so than any other thing about my life. Because it’s from this foundation that every other aspect of my life is determined.
Guard your heart with all vigilance,
for from it are the sources of life. (Prov. 4:23 NET*)
To quote the American Revolutionary patriot, Thomas Paine, “These are the times that try men’s souls….” For us, I don’t believe there’s ever been a time that has tried our souls more than what we’ve experienced in 2020. So, now, more than ever, we need to practice healthy soul activities, we need to build up an ultimate immune system that will not only help us to prosper physically and emotionally, but also make us thrive during these darkened and uncertain times we find ourselves living in.
Beloved, it’s time to shine!
“Arise! Shine! For your light arrives!
The splendor of the Lord shines on you!
2 For, look, darkness covers the earth
and deep darkness covers the nations,
but the Lord shines on you;
his splendor appears over you.
3 Nations come to your light,
kings to your bright light. (Isa. 60:1-3 NET*)