Monthly Theme: Assessing Wellness. Reading time: two minutes.
Boots are for trudging through mud.
Wings are for soaring on the wind (read “pneuma/spirit/Spirit”).
Our theme this month is Assessing Wellness. How do you answer the question, “How am I doing?”
Try this for a definition of “wellness”: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
When I’m asked, “What do you teach at Grace Place Wellness?,” my simplest response is, “We teach baptismal living: the old is gone, the new has come.”
The old way to wellness is like wearing boots in the mud trying to make progress. “I should be a better husband.” “I should read my Bible more.” “I should do more sit-ups.” “I should be a better teacher, pastor, disciple…”
A Christ-centered, grace-full, gospel-focused approach to wellness simply prays daily, “Lord, pour into my life my baptismal inheritance: the Spirit’s gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Life in the Spirit is like wings: pure freedom and joy.
A few weeks back we looked at the expression, “a free and merry spirit” from the Formula of Concord. Life by the Spirit is the joy of living that fullness of life for which we were set free.
Galatians 5 begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
The daily practices of healthy relationships, physical vitality, and spiritual growth can easily become drudgery, like boots.
The fruit of the Spirit offers a new way to look at your daily wellness disciplines. Like wings.
“Am I spending time with Jesus in Word and Sacrament because I should (boots!), or because of his goodness, and the goodness he is building in me (wings!)?”
“Am I gracious and loving to those who hurt me because I should be (boots!) or because my Father in heaven has been so patient with me, I can’t help but be patient with others (wings!)?”
“Is my self-control a matter of personal strength and willpower (boots!), or is it the Spirit subduing the passions of my flesh (wings!)?”
The wellness war raging inside each of us is a battle between the flesh and the Spirit/spirit. Our natural tendency is to strap on the boots and do the best we can.
Life in Christ is a call to soar freely and merrily on the breezes of the Spirit.
As you’re assessing your wellness, seeking those places where you might more fully experience the Lord’s healing touch of grace in your life, here’s a simple suggestion. Begin each day by reciting the Ten Commandments, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, remembering your baptism into Christ.
Then pray slowly, mindfully, “Grant me, Lord Jesus, the fruit of your Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
If, in your prayer, one of those jumps out (“Ouch! I haven’t been very patient lately!”) ask God’s forgiveness, find healing in the gospel, then spread your wings as you rely on the Spirit’s indwelling to mature in you the fruit of patience.
Baptized. Free. Soaring.
Thanks for reading.