Health Concerns

Driving through a nearby small town in the pre-dawn hours, the full parking lot and lots of people inside surprised me. What in the world is going on? I wondered. Then I realized. This is the gym. What struck me most was that the church across the parking lot from the gym was empty. Such a contrasting view. Sadly, that view is the same almost any time, any day of the week.

Now before I condemn myself as a lazy, oversleeping, overeating, “Do Nothing”, who never exercises or eats right, I’m not putting down anyone who focuses on their health and fitness. Had I maintained my fitness regimen after the military, I might not be a broken-down old rancher shuffling along with a pronounced limp and almost always wearing a brace. Sometimes, multiple braces, on multiple worn out joints.

Instead, I thought, if folks focused on their spiritual health as much as they do their physical health, wouldn’t we all be much better off? I asked myself, How full is Heaven’s parking lot right now? Normally that time of morning finds me either reading a devotional, studying God’s Word, or working through my family’s Daily Prayer List. I awoke at 2am to get that done before the long journey to an early doctor’s appointment.

I commend these people rising early to go exercise, but I can’t help wonder when/if they will fit time in to focus on their spiritual health? Without a doubt, some were listening to worship music while running, others were doing crunches as Hebrews or Romans were being read to them from their smartphone app. It’s hard to pray while running on a treadmill or counting reps, though, isn’t it?

Do we prioritize our healthy bodies over our healthy spirits? #SpiritualStrength #Faith #SpiritualMuscle Share on X

I suspect one of Satan’s most effective tools against Christians is distraction. If he can keep us busy and focused on worldly matters—careers, current events, soccer games, and worrying about tomorrow—then he can slowly watch our faith erode. Many think that this happens to only those new and less mature Christians. I can assure you, that’s not the case. It’s happened to me in the past.

There’s been many longtime Christians who allowed themselves to become complacent in their faith walk. Oh, we’ll remember to pray, when we have nothing else going on that day or some tragedy strikes. And we’ll perhaps crack open our Bibles when there’s nothing on television worth watching. But we listen to worship music on the way to work or shopping, when the radio station isn’t coming in so clearly, so that makes everything alright, right? It’s a good thing we don’t treat our physical health the way many of us do our spiritual health.

We understand that physical activity and making good food choices lead to a healthier body. And a healthy, strong body may stave off some diseases and conditions such as osteoarthritis and Type II diabetes, but it doesn’t guarantee we’ll never get sick. A healthy spiritual life helps us resist temptation and be of greater service to both mankind and God. It doesn’t guarantee that tests, trials, and temptations will never impact our faith lives.

Perhaps the goal for both physical and spiritual healthy living is to improve our ability to live our best lives and withstand whatever health challenge comes our way. Be they physical or spiritual, challenges will come.

The question is, “How can we keep our spiritual lives in its best condition?” Believe it or not, our physical health can have a big impact on our spiritual health. If illness and disease weaken our bodies, then our spiritual health can also decline. Depression and hopelessness can creep into our spiritual lives and lead us to do less. The key to both is remaining active. From a spiritual perspective, our activeness looks like this:

  • We don’t merely attend church, we actively engage in church activities like Bible studies, small group studies, outreach, and corporate prayer.
  • We use our Bibles for more than those few minutes of corporate reading of the reference Scripture at the start of the Sunday morning message. Each day, we ingest God’s Word, we study its meaning and context, and we meditate on how we can apply it in our lives.
  • We bow our heads in prayer, not only in petition, but in praise. And not just for a fleeting few minutes between brushing our teeth and grabbing that coffee to go as we rush out the door each morning. The healthiest spiritual lives are those that exercise their prayer lives regularly throughout the day.
  • We support one another in the spirit of fellowship. More than glad-handing, smiles, and waves across the sanctuary or auditorium on Sunday mornings, we keep our “family of faith” on speed dial. I cannot overstate the importance of fellowship in helping to maintain our spiritual health. When one member of our family is sick, injured, or battling through something, we come together and share our strength with them. In this way, the body grows stronger.

I hope this post has given you a reason to give yourself a spiritual checkup too. At least each year, we have a yearly physical to see how our bodies are doing. May I suggest we do the same thing with our souls? A few of us may discover that worldly distractions and busyness—even that which we believe is in God’s service—has led to complacency and weakness in our spiritual lives. The good part is that if we discover a weakness, whether physical or spiritual, today is a good day to address it.

God’s blessings,


Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:00 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

27 thoughts on “Health Concerns”

  1. So good J.D. Two things especially stood out. “I suspect one of Satan’s most effective tools against Christians is distraction.” Amen to that. And, “If folks focused on their spiritual health as much as they do their physical health, wouldn’t we all be much better off?”

    Wise words and challenge. Thank you!

  2. Kathy Collard Miller

    So important!!!! And curiously coincidently, I just had a devotional published and the title is: “Grow Your Spiritual Appetite.” Brilliant minds with common goals. Let’s keep preaching it.

  3. Great advice with the perfect analogy JD. I have fallen victim to the lazy Christian many times in my life so I love the idea of a faith check up. Thank you for the advice

  4. You are absolutely correct here, J. D.! We do need to strike a balance with both the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives with our goal being God’s desire to guide our lives in all things; He will to so as He keeps His promises to those who repent of sins and gladly follow Him.
    Have a blessed week, my friend!

  5. I’ve been distracted a lot lately. Time to get back to my one mostly regular exercise of walking 5K in under 50 minutes. Haven’t been there yet this year…

    Thankfully, my Bible opens regularly until I’m distracted. Good job sir.

  6. An excellent statement of the foundational problem with our country today: individuals who focus on anything and everything except the most important thing–their spiritual condition.

  7. Not really shocking to find myself standing on the same ground with you, but always reinforcing and encouraging. I relate to the picture you painted contrasting our physical health and wellbeing with our spiritual condition. Since I’ve been the grateful recipient of 6 total joint replacements and several other arthritis related surgical interventions, I do spend time at the gym regularly and believe me, it isn’t to show of my antique physique. I do it just to keep the parts moving. But I’m always impressed by those working out around me. Some are puffing and huffing, groaning and straining, and sweating like race horses in effort to look sexy at the beach or the neighborhood pool. Others are grumpy old goats like me who are just trying not to die this week. Invariably, I’m drawn to pray for those who are putting such effort into trying to add appeal, longevity, or some other quality to a body that is doomed to cease functioning at some point. And like you, I wonder how much effort any of us are really making to sustain, improve, or strengthen in the things that are eternal.

    Like you pointed out following Jesus and practicing the things He taught isn’t just some ritualistic routine we do at specified times through the week like another session in the gym. It’s a lifestyle that defines us 24/7, not another gym routine to make us look good. God bless you, my Brother, and may the things you do for the One we serve make you stronger physically and spiritually, and may He continue to pass that strength along through you to enrich and encourage those who love and appreciate you. Diane and I will be praying that the living God will hold you up with braces only He can put on.

  8. Great post, Mr. J. D. I thought of the small groups who meet monthly in our church members’ homes when you said, “we keep our “family of faith” on speed dial. I cannot overstate the importance of fellowship in helping to maintain our spiritual health. When one member of our family is sick, injured, or battling through something, we come together and share our strength with them.”
    We all gather for worship every week, but the small group of ten or less is the one we try to come alongside and focus on doing life together. Every group incorporates people of all ages and from all walks of life. We pray for and encourage one another. Sometimes we help one another by sharing our skill sets. I love being a part of a Bible-believing church family.

  9. Such insight here, J.D. The world (and sadly some Christians), do focus more on the physical that the spiritual. Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Paul wasn’t telling his son on the faith not to exercise but to focus on the most important thing. And that message applies to us too. Thanks, friend!

  10. Amen. Our spiritual, mental, and physical health are important. I pray that as I try once again to lose some unwanted pounds and better my health, that I will place my focus on God and His Word. Have a blessed day dear friend. 🙂

  11. It’s gonna take a lot more than Sunday morning faith for the long haul. Keeping ourselves spiritually fit is a must in the dark days we’re living in. Good word J. D.

  12. Another reminder for us all. May we stay focused and committed to our spiritual health. May we take care of any weakness we discover immediately. A good word for these days we are living.

  13. Excellent observation, brother. We are concerned about how we appear physically to the world around us and “worship” at the altar of exercise. But how do our spirits look to God? The condition of our spirits is hidden from the world, but that is exactly what He looks at. Great reminder of what to put first in our daily lives. Blessings, dear friend.

  14. Well, my friend, I expect you knew this message would demand a comment (or rebuttal) from me. You know how much I value a healthy lifestyle and my belief that we honor this amazing creation (our body) when we take the time and the effort to care for it. However, I agree that nothing (not exercise, technology, our career, recreation, etc.) should interfere with the daily time we should spend in prayer, praise, Bible study, Scripture reading, fellowship with other believers, etc. The key is to have a balanced liefstyle that includes adequate focus on all aspects of our lives–spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and vocational. That way we honor God with our praise and worship, caring for our health (body, mind, and spirit), our work, our family–all parts of our life. But it takes work, time, and commitment. Thank you for this thought provoking message that reminds us–our relationship with our Savior is the most important thing.

  15. A spiritual check-up is such a good idea. I suppose communion provides a bit of that, but a longer full examination every now and then would do us good. It’s so easy to let bad habits and distractions slip in.

  16. I’m an advocate of physical fitness, and, unfortunately, I see an unhealthy reliance on physical health over spiritual health frequently. As Katherine says, it’s all about balance. If we aren’t careful, our physique (and appearance) can become a god we worship.The same with money and other worldly attractions.

    Here’s to staying spiritually active along with physically active!

  17. Another powerful message with reflective questions and practical wisdom for our Christian journey. I liked how you pondered 2 things: “How full is Heaven’s parking lot right now?” and “How can we keep our spiritual lives in its best condition?”

    I agree that distraction is one of the biggest tactics of the enemy, turning our focus on earthly things. While I desire to take care of my overall health, my spiritual health is of utmost importance. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. As this body makes its inevitable journey toward a hollow shell, my soul and the prayers I’ve prayed will be deathless at last. Good to keep ourselves physically strong to do what he’s called but ever glad it takes no energy to pray and listen to the Lord in the in between. Great word, JD!

  19. You are spot on about the relationship between physical health and spiritual health. I recall when I was undergoing chemo treatments and dealing with cancer concerns, my body was weakened and my mind dulled. I simply could not pray and was glad that I had prayed in advance and in anticipation of how I might feel. Right now, I have been dealing with some health issues and personal demands that occupy a huge portion of my time. I am ashamed to admit my quiet times have been integrated into more of my lifestyle moment-by-moment spontaneous prayers. I know life will become more normal soon, and I plan for my daily quiet times to as well. At least my prayer chair is back in place!

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