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Don't neglect spiritual health
Spiritual Health2.jpg
Father and son Jeff, left, and Will Vance, right, spend time together reading and studying the Bible. - photo by Lacy Garrison

Every January, countless people begin creating their New Year’s resolutions – lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier. These are typically the most common ones. But what if the weight you need to lose isn’t on your body? What about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?

Westwood Church of Christ minister Richard O’Connor believes everyone can be heathier mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually if they seek time in service to others.  

“Jesus clearly taught us (Matthew 22:35-40) that our primary focus is loving God and loving others,” explained O’Connor. “Jesus exemplified this teaching by serving those around him (Matthew 20:28). I believe we are never more like Jesus than when we serve others. Therefore, it just makes sense to find creative ways to serve people and shift our focus from inward to outward.”

Father Ben Randall of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church added that just as diet is key to overall physical health, that is, the stuff we put into our bodies, he’d argue the same is true about spiritual health. Not food, of course, but beliefs.

“Exercise some more discretion and discipline about choosing to be discipled by God’s holy Word,” said Randall. “Choose a reading plan to guide you through the year and stick with it. Don’t just pick it up occasionally and thumb some pages or stab your finger at this or that passage in the hope of some adequate illumination. You need to be methodical, intentional.”

Randall also advised – make attending somewhere on a Sunday every week a priority, as loneliness, disconnectedness is a crisis that is spiritually crippling.

“Go to church, said Randall passionately. “Anybody’s – mine, his, the one down the road … whatever. ‘Do not neglect to meet together,’ says the author of the letter to the Hebrews. Worship in community with others is the best medicine for the profoundest aches of the human condition.” 

According to Rev. Tommy Vann of First United Methodist Church, to have a healthy body and mind, a person needs spiritual health too. Using the comparison of a three-legged stool, Vann explained that it is an essential leg in well-being. Take just one leg away and the stool is not fit for anything.

“The first and greatest commandment, Jesus affirms, is ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself’ (Luke 10:27)”, said Vann. “With the three legs of heart and soul, strength, and mind existing in proper balance, true contentment, health, and clarity of thought can be enjoyed by anyone.”

These are just a few possible spiritual resolutions from local church leaders that you may consider. Although January is coming to an end, it’s not too late to begin improving your spiritual health.