Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
By Samantha Seal
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle with being healthy. I get caught up in the busyness of the day and forget to eat or stay up late working and then don’t get enough sleep. These bad habits make me so exhausted that I neglect to spend time with the Lord. When I do not spend time in God’s Word, my heart is vulnerable to temptations, and my mind becomes more prone to believe the lies of the enemy.
Your heart, soul, mind, and strength are all connected, as seen in Mark 12:30. You need to keep each of these things healthy so you can love the Lord with everything you have. If one part is unhealthy, then the other parts begin to deteriorate.
Spiritual health – your soul
The bottom line is we need to have a solid relationship with God or everything else in our life crumbles. Soul, the part that connects to spiritual health, is the source that keeps us alive. Not alive in the sense of having life or death but being full of energy and spirit. Psalm 43:5 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.” A downcast soul without the joy of the Lord corrupts the heart, the mind, and the body, but a soul anchored in the Lord creates a heart that says no to temptations, a mind guarded against anxiety and depression, and a strength ready to face the battles of life. What does it look like to have a healthy soul? It starts with a personal relationship with God — believing that He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and defeat death and sin by rising again on the third day. Additionally, reading the Bible and praying everyday helps to foster a healthy soul. When you start each day with the Lord, it refreshes your soul and creates the right mindset to face any problem that comes your way.
Psychological health – your heart and mind
The heart and the mind connect to psychological, or mental, health, which is the next part of a healthy lifestyle. In the original writing of Mark 12:30, the heart and the mind were one, meaning that whatever your heart desires affects your mind, and whatever your mind thinks about affects your heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things,” (Jeremiah 17:9) so, contrary to what the world says, we cannot live healthily while following our hearts. The emotions of the heart change based on circumstances, but our God “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). To live a healthy life, you should not guide your decisions based on the desires of your heart but rather on the truth of God and His Word. If you choose your own sinful heart to be the ruler of your life, then your mind will be at the mercy of your circumstances. Wouldn’t you rather let God rule your life? He is the One who can ease your mind and provide you joy no matter the circumstances. To live healthily, we must also fill our minds with thoughts that are pleasing to God. Our heart desires whatever we think about. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” There is no room for dark thoughts or immoral desires. I encourage you to evaluate who and what fills your mind during each day. What kind of music do you listen to? What books do you read? What TV and movies do you watch? Who do you spend time with? If your answers do not align with God’s Word, consider removing them from your life.
Physical health – your strength
Finally, to love the Lord with all of our strength, we need to have healthy bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit,” and we need to honor God with our bodies. When you take care of your body, you have the physical strength to carry out God’s will for your life. It is important to note that the world’s definition of a healthy body is different from God’s. The world emphasizes the outward appearance in its definition whereas God simply wants you to take care of your body — His temple. God created everyone uniquely; therefore, each person uses different methods to keep his or her body healthy. If you do not know where to begin, start with eating healthy, exercising, and resting. Even Jesus, while He was God in flesh on Earth, kept his body healthy. He abstained from certain foods, went outside and walked with His disciples while witnessing to those around Him, and rested when needed. Jesus set the example of taking care of our bodies.
Your spiritual, psychological, and physical health are not separate areas. They all work together to create a healthy lifestyle. A healthy body gives you the strength to work heartily for the Lord. When you work for God, you have the desire to take care of your soul by spending time with Him daily. By reading His word and talking to God in prayer, your mind is full of truth instead of lies from the enemy, and your heart wants what pleases the Lord.
I will be the first to admit that I do not always keep my heart, soul, mind, and body healthy. I hope, though, that these verses will encourage all of us to live healthy lifestyles so we can love the Lord and faithfully serve Him.