Kim Vastine, Chaplain for 4word: Southlake, guest-writes on the 4word blog with a powerful message on God’s plan and purpose for creating our bodies as temples and what that means for our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
Don’t have time to read this blog? Listen to it below!
“The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters.”Romans 8:19 TPT
I was beyond exhaustion, completely burnt out on life, ministry, work and more. I felt strangely suicidal, so physically weak I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was scheduled for a hysterectomy when an unexpected report from an endocrinology appointment diagnosed me with an auto-immune disease I knew little about. He sharply announced there would be no surgery, because my reduced heart rate would not withstand such a surgery, and stated I would be on strong medication the rest of my life in order make my thyroid work the way it was designed to do so.
Then came the onslaught of shingles that would not go away. My physical immune system was fighting against itself in a relentless manner. No matter what I demanded my body to do, it simply would not perform the way I expected and needed. Thus began a journey of diagnosing this Type A personality with a sword-like Joan of Arc fearlessness. This new diagnosis required me to begin a new life-long journey in becoming my own wellness advocate in order to understand my body, soul and spirit to heal. It required counseling that would begin to heal my inner soul and emotions, changing my overall diet, intentional exercise and a shift in my spirit and identity of who I am in Christ Jesus and what my life purpose is about.
The Bible is the greatest love story ever told. Every other story you’ve ever read tries to follow the Biblical script of good conquering evil and love winning the day.
The book of Genesis begins with an account that describes a perfect garden that God created with beauty and majesty. “God created human beings; he created them godlike (the Imago Dei), reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! … God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!” Genesis 1:26a, 28, 31 (NIV)
We were created out of Him to belong, to be loved, to be accepted, and to have purpose in subduing and stewarding the earth for His glory. Perfection in body, soul, and spirit was designed in us by our Creator. Then God “puts them [Adam and Eve] to work” in the most perfect place and conditions ever known to humanity. They didn’t know anxiousness, worry, fear, or exhaustion because sin hadn’t entered the world…yet.
Then came the enemy to lure them into disobedience…the Fall from intimate relationship with God…judgment, curses, sweat, death. Roughly six thousand years later, came the glorious life through Jesus Christ whereby now we can POWERFULLY CHOOSE His salvation and be restored in our God-worth and true identity (spirit). Holy Spirit is our Teacher who leads, guides us into all truth and empowers us so we can experience healing in our body and soul using every provision and resource that is needed to become whole.
“Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. As a result of this, he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises we can experience partnership with the divine nature…”2 Peter 1:3-4 (TPT)
Our Bodies Are His Temple & Dwelling Place
In the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelled in the ark of the covenant that was inside a literal tent. When Jesus Christ came to earth and was torturously crucified on the cross, His blood spoke a better word over us so that “whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
His presence doesn’t live in a building or a tent anymore. When we repent and invite Him in, He lives inside us. We are the building/temple He desires to live in. It’s a reckless-love-of-God invitation. He empowers us to be holy as He is holy. Since our bodies are the temple where He dwells, scripture is critical instruction to us. The Holy Spirit works in us to give supernatural strength and wisdom to live in a way that truly leads to life and wellness.
“I urge you to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”Romans 12:1
Choose to Change Your Thinking (Renew)
What consumes most of your thinking? We are living in an upside-down, crazy world where there is extreme noise that gets louder by the day. Good News alert! We’re given tremendous tools by the Holy Spirit to enable us to live in peace, release our anxious thoughts “about tomorrow” and give our concerns and burdens (for everything) to Him. We are simply not designed to carry them. Otherwise, we will find our bodies fighting disease, depression, stressed to breaking points, angry, bitter, withdrawn, emotionally shut down, fearful, and reacting to life out of emptiness instead of the fullness of life, hope and provision He offers us.
He promised to be our Prince of Peace. Our challenge is in laying down our need to be in control and learn to rest in Him for our hope and peace. The only way to maintain this posture as a testimony to the world is to learn to practice renewing our mind with truth vs. social media, the news, trends and many other distractions. How do we do that? It is a very real spiritual battle, yet we are given His power, through the Holy Spirit, to overcome our default modes of thinking. You are not powerless but you are POWERFUL to make different choices.
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.”Romans 12:2
You were made for intimacy and to live wholly and wildly loved. The Bible is the greatest love story ever told. The Westminster Catechism reminds us that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” It’s time to lay down dead forms of religious duty. Discover a new journey of His lavish delight and love over you. His Words have given us guidance that is eternal. He longs for a delightful “garden of Eden” relationship with you. Listen for His voice; He still speaks to your heart with a still quiet voice. He is for you. He is for you. He is for you.
“Guard your heart diligently for out of it flows the issues of life.”
God always initiates love towards us. We have the privilege to respond. Living loved in Him will create fresh wellness in your soul and spirit. Remember you were not designed to live in isolation. It was God who said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Find a spiritual community of believers to do life together. Gather around the table and break bread with one another. Share with another mature believer your burdens and sins so that you can “pray for one another and be healed.” James 5:16
Cultivate the garden of your heart. Repent and choose to pull out weeds of hopelessness, despair and disappointment. Fertilize it with generous daily portions of gratitude and thanksgiving. You can choose to find ways to be grateful for what you learn in the storms of life. They are designed to help you lean on the arms of your Beloved One and become dependent upon His strength. “Lord, today I thank you for this challenge that is leading me to lean into your wisdom, comfort and counsel.”
“Gracious words are like a honey-comb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”Proverbs 16:24
Sabbath Rest to Revive and Replenish
Science and culture around us are only beginning to recognize the value of rest for our bodies to naturally replenish and be restored. We are a sleep-deprived population continually driven to perform. The richest nation in the world, the United States, leads the world in pharmaceutical and substance abuse. Yet our Creator King did not design our bodies to live this way. Isn’t it interesting that God, who never gets weary, established a pattern for rest in the very beginning, so we could learn from Him? “So, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” Genesis 2:2
He loves to lead us by still waters and restore our souls. Making intentional time every day, even if only 10 minutes, to literally be still and quiet to listen to tender His voice speak, can change the rhythm of your heart and mind. Setting aside one day a week to purposefully rest (with no work), is part of God’s pattern for us. We cannot wait for convenient times to come, so instead, make it a priority for our heart to find a place of rest.
Excellent books have recently been written on the necessity of rest for our bodies to reset, replenish and renew. I highly recommend the book Sacred Rest, Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Dr. Saundra Dalton. In her article, “The 7 Types of Rest that Every Person Needs,” Dr. Dalton writes that “rest should equal restoration in seven key areas of your life. Physical, Mental, Sensory, Creative, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.”
Want to live your best life? There is very practical guidance in Scripture about choosing to learn to take care of our bodies. Moderate exercise, healthy eating, cultivating strong healthy relationships in family and spiritual community that bring you life, alongside side resting well, daily conversational prayer life in Jesus, which is your spiritual daily bread, and growing to understand His words of life are essential to living your best life.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”Matthew 11:28-29
May you be a part of a great company of women choosing to live physically and spiritually healthy and well in your body, soul and spirit. Live courageously to proclaim the Good News that the world is longing to hear. Rise up and shine, for this is your finest hour.
Reach out to Kim for a FREE RESOURCE called “Who Am I?”