Ever feel out of whack?
Beginning at the Fall, mankind has been mangled as a being. A dead spirit, chaotic soul, dumbed-down mind, and a body that wastes away—not too promising, eh?
All of us struggle with the integration and integrity of body, mind, soul, and spirit. So here are a few suggestion for Christians for improving ourselves for the King and His Kingdom. If practiced regularly, these things will keep us sharp for the Lord.
Sleep no less than seven hours a night. Too few of us get proper sleep, never making up the sleep deficit we accumulate. This make us dull and easily swayed by ungodly voices.
Get up at dawn and go to sleep before midnight. God made the day and night for a reason. I’m convinced that one of the reasons that so many people suffer from depression today is that they don’t get enough sleep or they stay up too late. I know that my own mood brightens when I go to bed before midnight and get proper sleep.
Stop overeating. Almost two-thirds of American are overweight. From what I’ve seen in the pews, I’d say that three-quarters of Christians over the age of 30 are. Gluttony is a sin. Being fat makes us sluggish and slow. Plus, it incurs a litany of health problems. (Charles Spurgeon may have been a godly man and a great preacher, but his issues with eating shortened his life.) God doesn’t want his people to live that way.
Stop eating bad food. Junk food makes us fat—don’t eat it. Buy organic. Cut out the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Stay away from artificial ingredients, especially man-made sweeteners like aspartame (NutraSweet) and sucralose (Splenda). Keep the carbohydrates down (see this and this). The closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for you, so stay away from the heavily processed stuff. God knew what He was doing with the basic foods He gave us. Why then do we have to mess them up?
Get out of the chair and exercise. Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit—do it. And with someone else!
Read a book! Though the study numbers don’t always agree on the exact numbers, the truth remains that the majority of Americans don’t read books, with some never picking up another book after they graduate from high school or college. That’s horrifying! An uneducated populace only makes Satan’s job easier, as ignorance is one of his chief weapons against us. (Remember that Adam’s intellect was perfect before the Fall.)
Learn the basics of logic. Don’t know a genetic fallacy from a tu quoque? Though our culture no longer values right thinking, Christians must. Learn more here.
Get out of the Christian ghetto and find out more about an opposing viewpoint. Narrowmindedness begins when we fail to grasp all sides of a belief system. None of us should spend time wallowing in filth, but if we fail to recognize those worldviews that set themselves up against Christ, we do the Kingdom a disservice.
Kill two birds with one stone and engage another face-to-face concerning a difficult topic. Wrestling with tough issue is fine. But doing so with another person or a group of people fulfills the “iron sharpens iron” idea in Proverbs. If we isolate ourselves, we fail to learn from our neighbors—and they may have great wisdom to share with us. And let’s not be selfish with what we learn; share it with someone else. Who knows how that wisdom may help another! Too many Christians bury their intellectual talents and they never grow to bless others. If that great book we’re reading isn’t used by us to challenge others, then perhaps we’re wasting our time.
Learn empathy. Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice. We must make our lives available to others and share in their ups and downs. We’ll never learn what it means to be godly people if we don’t connect with others.
Listen to classical music. Yes, Mozart and guys like him. It’s good for us.
Write music, also. Even if it’s just a simple tune, we can reflect the heart of the God who sings over us.
Write letters. Write them to God. Write them to friends. Write them to strangers. But write! Our letter may be the only one someone gets in a month. Make the most of it.
Cultivate beauty. We need to make beautiful things. God is an artist, and we are made in His image, so we should create. Also, we must find beautiful places filled with beautiful items and spend time amid that beauty.
Get in touch with the land. God intends that we till the land and take care of it. Are we doing so? Why not? Find time for the natural world. Learn the names of plants, trees, birds, and such.
Get out of the house! If we’re spending all our time shut up within our personal fortresses, we’ll never make an impact for the Kingdom out there where the lost people and our fellow Christians live.
Pray more than an hour a day. We simply cannot know God if we toss off a prayer or two. Remember: knowing God IS eternal life. And this is not “practicing the presence” or journaling, either, but concentrated prayer on our knees.
Read the Bible intently. I recommend this plan. We should be reading for deeper discipleship and understanding, not just to tick “Read the Bible” off our checklists!
Cultivate godly horizontal relationships with others. With Christians: fellowship, service, and discipleship. With unbelievers: friendship, service, and evangelism.
Ruthlessly eliminate those things that interfere with our spiritual lives. If we don’t have enough time to pray an hour a day, read the Bible thoroughly, and cultivate horizontal relationships with others, then we need to eliminate all interferences. Turn the TV off, put down the newspaper, and log off the Internet. And if materialism and idolatry are keeping us from God, then we eliminate those items that keep us from growing in grace.
Practice the spiritual disciplines. We can’t help but grow in the Lord if we pray, study, meditate, fast, embrace solitude, practice submission, live simply, serve others, worship, confess our sins, seek guidance, and celebrate.
If we do these things, we will most certainly be better for the doing.
Now, how do you nourish your body, mind, soul, and spirit?
30 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit”
Great list. It’s blessing is in its diversity.
Thanks, Steve. I hope it helps you and others.
Being outside as much as possible. It’s nourishing physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
I agree, though I’m not a big fan of being outside in the winter. Greatly prefer April-October.
Great list, Dan, and an excellent set of reminders for the new year.
I’ll be sharing this with others!
I pray this list helps those others. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s all in one place—and sometimes that’s what matters most.
Thanks for this. I’ve needed this, especially lately.
Glad to help!
Dan, your post is only evidence that when all is lint & helium – the wisest thing to do is take a Sabbath rest.
Thanks for the good counsel, as usual.
Not sure the “Sabbath rest” was all that restful. Nor would I point to it as responsible for this post, especially since I planned this post prior to the rest.
Life is proving a little too stressful right now, so we’ll see how posts in the days ahead reflect my rest or not! :-/
Although I am in agreement with the general principles behind your suggestions I think you need to qualify some of them.
As one who has struggled with a sleep disorder for several decades your statements about sleep can seem cruel. I have been to sleep clinics, had an operation to correct breathing problems and tried just about every method shown me to sleep better. I even tried to reset my body clock. I rarely get past level 2 sleep and then it is usually between 4 and 6 am that I am in my deepest sleep (level three or better). What I have found is I am not alone. There are lots of us and many of us have been made to feel inferior spiritually by well meaning Christians who insist that we get up early and pray first thing in the morning because that is the way God intended us to be. It was 15 years before I realized these people were wrong. I had to sleep when my body told me I was tired regardless of what time of day or night that was. One size does not fit all.
I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, you just pushed a button.
I’m sorry to hear about your dilemma.
I had some sleep issues, too. And while I’m sure you’ve explored this possibility, when I lost weight (and I was not overweight by most accounts), my sleep immediately improved—and did so dramatically.
If that’s not the case for you, then I hope someone else out there can benefit from this advice.
Great post Dan.
I just preached on this kind of thing on Sunday!
I’ve been meaning to put my notes on my blog. Seeing you post on a similar thing, I think God might be saying something, you think?!
I’m off to put my notes together & get them online!
It’s a minute after midnight. Oops.
I fell asleep on the couch for two hours this evening. Double oops.
I’ll probably be up till 3:00 AM as a result. Triple oops!
These are all excellent. I can’t even pick out one to highlight. The sleep thing, the over eating, the writing of letters, empathy — good stuff here.
I need to link to this post later tonight.
Thanks. A lot of them seem like common sense, but we don’t do them, do we? And thanks for any future links.
Dan, you asked, “Now, how do you nourish your body, mind, soul, and spirit?”
From time to time, I let fasting accompany my prayer. That’s upside-down logic, to be sure; but it actually is sustaining to me. It helps me focus on Whom I depend upon for every kind of nourishment.
(I also have a link to a site about logical fallacies that is among my bookmarked favorites: nizkor.org. Sadly, though, I find that logic is not valued as highly as it used to be.)
Keith, I do not think that there is any upside-down logic to praying while fasting. My church encourages us to fast once a month, and they often tell us that, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, praying makes fasting much easier.
Wonderful list, Dan. Thanks.
Thank you for being a reader.
A great list. Thanks for writing this.
This is excellent.
this is a good advice to me.how to improve my body,soul and spirit thanks a lot.
God should also tell us to live life to the full and not listen to preachers who say “you should do this” and “dont do that” the god i know gave us all freedom and the body to do with life as we please, as long as we do it without harming others.
Thank you for writing this. I’m sure that you had hoped to make an impact, but not so far extending as to the day before 2010’s New Year’s Eve! To be honest, I have never really read your blog before. In fact, I had come across this article by complete accident. I’ve been trying to understand more about what I’m trying to improve, and when I had Googled “How to improve your Soul”, your blog entry was the first that popped up.
I really enjoyed it, because I saw things I knew that I needed to improve, and reasons for why I needed to improve them. I’m a college student pursuing an Engineering major, which entails a great deal of staying up. But I’m sure that if I follow what you have written, and try to bring a balance to my life, I will be able to do better than I did last semester.
Thanks for visiting!
Thank you .Iam agree with you.