It's amazing how quickly Christians are willing to embrace teachings from other religions and philosophies out in their communities. Themindfulness movement is one of those trends, a missionary effort of Buddhist gurus, like Yoga. Another is taking yoga or having Rieki massage for supposed health benefits. The deception is so subtle. While in Washington D.C., my husband and I were in the cafeteria in an underground tunnel between buildings before our tour of the Capitol building. Mindfulness was being promoted in the decorative signage. One of the mudras, hand positions for supposed healing benefits, was on another decorative sign. I bet our government officials have no idea they are promoting a religion to their employees and visitors. I also believe many churches have no idea they promote spiritual prostitution when they allow yoga classes in their churches or do not lovingly confronting individuals who promote New Age practices as part of their "health care". Wellness is already part of Christian faith, but do we put it into practice?
Main Passage: Psalm 103
Secondary Passage: Romans 8:18-39
Key Verse:3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
The Core Part of a Who We Are
We are indeed spiritual beings created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Because of sin we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 3:23). In our separated states,since we realize there must be something beyond us, we seek for the meaning of life, our value, what happens after death, and where everything came from. I discovered in a World Religions class that the Creation account and Worldwide Flood account have been taught, of course from each culture's viewpoint, in ancient people groups all over the world as found in excavations of ancient ruins and caves. There are obvious differences, but the similarities are striking. We all want to know what and where and why, but especially Who. We have questions we want answered, so we seek them out through spiritual avenues. Image by Anna Demianenko from Freely Images.
Even greater than the spiritual aspect of the person is the soul, that part of us that is eternal. This is the part other religions and philosophies don't really address, but Christian biblical teachings do. Salvation and eternal damnation affect our souls because we will all come under judgement one day (Hebrews 9:26-28). Those who know Jesus as Savior will live on (that is, our souls) in New Jerusalem.Those who do not will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, the second death (Revelation 20:11-15). Solid biblical Christianity is more concerned on a deeper level about the wholeness of a person than the New Age movement gurus are.
Being Heavenly Minded & the New Age Movement
The problem for other people comes from how Christians have or have not addressed wellness, that is the integration of our faith into all areas of life including our health, fitness, and overall wellness. There is a phrase, "He is so heavenly minded, he's of no earthly good," which has quite a bit of truth to it. We might say, "Bless you!" and "Jesus is coming back. Halleluia!" which are both good, but people spouting Christian-ese all the time rarely have a rubber-meets-the-road type of Christian faith (Acts 1:8-11). It all seems good until gut-wrenching situations strike. We have also compartmentalized our faith by putting God in a tidy box. We take Him out to worship on Sunday, then put Him back for next week. Our walk and talk rarely match in our day-to-day living. No wonder so many people are looking elsewhere for answers. We aren't meeting their deep spiritual needs to by answering their questions. Many of our churches have failed to address this deep core need.
Our Citizenship is not Here
This place is not our home (Philippians 3:20-21), yet we are confined by space and time on this planet during our lifetime. So our natural self works with what we can only see. There is a God who loves us, who wants us in a healthy relationship with Him first, then everything else falls in place. When we come to know Jesus as Savior, we can walk by faith instead of sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Regardless of what happens to us or around us, we can know these truths never change. One day, we will be transformed into our heavenly bodies-- bodies like God and the angels-- to live in eternity with our God on His throne. It is comforting to know we will not be absorbed into a universal energy, an impersonal force. We will still be distinct individuals, as will God and the angels. We look forward to that day! But in the meantime, we are here, called to be set apart for the Lord, holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-23). This means leaving anything alone which is not from Him, like chanting mantras, aligning chakras, and clearing out bad energy with crystals, all which are considered witchcraft. We are called to be holy, set apart for God (1 Peter 1:15-17).Image by Ben White from Freely Images.
Putting the Well-ness into Christian Wellness
True Christian wellness comes from our soul, that part of which communes and eventually dwells with God. It is not the spirit, that part which animates us, but the part of us that will live on in eternity-- with God in New Jerusalem or in eternal judgement. When we can feel a sense of all is well because God is God on His throne, in control of all things, working together good for those who love Him, regardless of how bad bad can be. That is true Christian wellness. True Christian wellness is a decision we make in our minds that comes from our soul's communion with the Living God and moves to our hearts to comfort us in times of trouble. Image by I am Priscilla from Freely Images.
In the process of researching this topic, I thought of the hymn, "It is Well with My Soul" by Horatio Spafford. This beautiful, haunting hymn was written after he and his wife lost four of their daughters at sea when the Loch Earn ran into their ship, S.S. Villa Du Havre. Can you imagine the deep sorrow his wife felt as when she sent word to her husband, "Saved alone." In other words, she was rescued in the wreckage, but the girls went down with the ship. The terrible sense of helplessness he probably felt because he sent them ahead of him to Europe while he finished up business, clearing up dealings due to their tremendous investment losses from the Great Chicago fire from 1871. They were no strangers to losses and pain. They lost a son at the age of 2 later to scarlet fever. They husband and wife finally perished together when a train tressel collapsed in Ashtabula, Ohio. She was trapped in a train car. He tried to free her when the train was suddenly engulfed with flames taking them to their deaths. Christian wellness comes most often in the midst of great tragedy and loss, not in times when life is going our way.
So why are people drawn to such practices as Reiki? To Chi Gong? The answer seems to be that we can "control" our world. We want to heal ourselves. We want manipulate our world the way we want it. We can be like God, gods in our own right. At least until we discover we cannot. As Christians, we have a greater hope we can depend upon; therefore, we must decide to rest in that hope. It is this hope true wellness comes.
Steps to Christian Wellness
Here are some ways you can practice Christian wellness:
May the Lord draw you into a deeper relationship with Himself that you want nothing that does not come from Him.