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  • milanbittenbender

Health and Wellness...Body, Soul and Spirit

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

In Western culture, we have a very concrete or material understanding of who we are. We see ourselves as the person looking back at us in the mirror. We think of ourselves in a very body oriented way, as a creature that has within it a mind that operates the body. Then deep down in there somewhere is a little soul. It's like the appendix. No one really knows why it's there, yet we all acknowledge there is something to the idea. And the spirit, well, that's just superstitious, mystical mumbo jumbo. As Michael Scott would say, "Everyone is a little stitious, but I'm definitely not gonna be superstitious."

But I believe it's more accurate to say that at the core of our essence, we are a soul. The bulk of who we are as a whole person is a soul, a unique individual made up of our mind, will and emotions. We have a body. My soul possesses my body, not the other way around. My physical body is the "machine" with which our soul interacts with the rest of the world - it is temporal, but my soul will live on somewhere forever.

Think of it like a computer. The software is really the important part. When we think of a computer, we visualize the physical exterior machine. We call this the hardware. It is made up of a case of some sort, a keyboard, a screen, even guts...hard drive, processor, ram, etc. But it is the software that makes the hardware worth anything. As soon as the software doesn't work, the hardware is just an empty pile of metal, plastic and glass that can't do anything. It's amazing to me that people say they can't believe in God because they can't see Him. That affirms the belief that we and all of reality are primarily physical in nature. Is it possible the hardware really is simply the shell the software "lives" in - and a fragile one at that?

In the same way, we were created more like software...a conscious being with the capacity to process incredibly complicated ideas, a will with which to make millions of important decisions and determine ones own course in life, and emotions with which to add value and context to our relationships and experiences. This immaterial being was fashioned in the image or likeness of its creator. Then, in the womb, a physical body was crafted around our souls to be a vehicle in which our soul would travel through this life and interact with the world around it. As the Psalmist exclaimed, " created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

But what about the Spirit? God warned Adam and Eve in the garden, "If you eat

the fruit of the tree of knowledge, you will surely die." So, of course, they did it anyway. And guess what! They didn't die!! Or did they? Again, a physically oriented world looks and says, "See, nothing happened. They went on to have babies and lived another 900+ years." But what the scriptures teach is that Adam's spirit died that day, slain by sin. And we were born in his genetic likeness - with a sinful nature and a dead and empty spirit. But praise God, the power of the Gospel is LIFE! "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7) Rebirth - This is what Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about in John 3 when He told Nic, "You must be born again! born of water AND the Spirit." Theologians call it "regeneration". It means our spirit is animated and connected to God's Spirit - or more accurately, it is animated by God's Spirit within us.

Our Spirit is at the core of who we are. In its original state, dead from sin, we feel empty. We are incomplete. There is something vital missing. Going back to the computer illustration, a computer with software and hardware is of some value. There are functions it can perform. But can you imagine how limited your computer would be without a connection to the internet - the universe of software? When our spirit is dead in sin, we have no connection to God. We become stuck with outdated software and increasing problems. We try to make connections with others, but without the ability to update and improve our software, our life begins to lag. We will never be a whole person, fully alive, until we surrender to Christ and receive His Spirit, alive in us.

True wellth is a lifestyle statement that believes real abundance involves the whole person. It isn't caught up in material wealth and the pursuit of the abundance of temporal stuff. It means being wise and taking action to care for our entire self - body, soul and spirit. As the image above demonstrates, we are empty at the very center of who we are without Christ. In Him, we have been entrusted with a beautiful soul and an amazing body, the only one we will get in this life, that both need to be nourished and cared for. Embrace all God has for you! Become fully alive in every aspect! Be intentional and become your own best asset in this life. If you haven't already, I hope you will join me in the true wellth pursuit.

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