Last week, we began looking at the idea that we must take care of ourselves physically and spiritually. We continue our study today.
An essential for proper growth, both physically and spiritually, is exercise. Doctors tell us that exercise helps us to grow stronger and stay healthier. The same is true with our spiritual growth. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Those he was writing to needed to focus on their spiritual well-being because it was going to be tested by persecution.
We need to exercise our minds in continual study of the Scriptures. “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:6-8). “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). With these words, Paul directed Timothy to exercise care both to his soul and the souls of those with whom Timothy worked.
In Hosea 4:6, God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Had they been more concerned about their spiritual fitness, they would have been blessed by God; instead, they were punished.
Care of the soul also can be given by helping others (Matthew 25:31). By showing concern for others, our souls are built up as we realize we are following God’s commands. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:2, 9-10). James wrote, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The word “visit” in the original language means to do something to help the individual. God always has desired that widows and orphans be cared for, not neglected.
We do need to take care of ourselves physically, but we must also care for our spiritual needs.