I feel like we are being inundated with the notion of wellness. The pressure has been put on the schools to do something to increase the wellness of the students The school is even sending home brochures, as of late, informing us of what is a quality snack and what is to be avoided. First of all, I think most people understand that eating a sheet cake for dinner every night is not a choice that promotes wellness. Secondly, what even is wellness? They throw this term around like it is the ultimate place for us to live; a place of euphoria. Listen, if this place does not allow cake and ice cream for birthdays, I don’t want to be there. Eating a birthday treat is a risk I am willing to take.
That being said, I do understand what they are getting at. I mean we do have an abundance of obesity in our country. What I don’t see is why the school feels like it needs to develop a wellness policy that seems content on taking away any form of special foods in the classroom. Do we not teach personal responsibility or self-control? I know that there are times that I would like to eat a plate of cookies. I also know there have been those times I have eaten a lot of cookies. If I eat them, am I not well? If I don’t eat them, am I well? Wellness is about far more than simply not eating cupcakes, it is about a lifestyle.
The same temptation is there when it comes our faith in God in looking at what we appear to be and claiming we have wellness in our spiritual life. Some people will tell you that in order to have wellness as a Christian you need to simply avoid a few specific sinful things. It is the view that says, “I don’t drink smoke or chew, or go with girls who do.” That is not what it means to be well as a believer in Christ. We don’t measure ourselves against each other, our life is measured against God.
This discussion came up while talking with some high school students about sharing their faith. There is a common misconception they are running into with their friends that assumes Christianity is simply about trying to be perfect. Some of them have shared their faith with their friends only to be met with, “oh, so you are perfect then?” Where does that come from? If Christians were prefect, would a Savior be needed? If Christians were perfect, would we need the church? Obviously, perfection is not something we create in ourselves by simply avoiding the evil habits of the world. It is something that we are given as a gift in Christ. We are given wellness, not of our own creation, but by our relationship with Jesus Christ. Ultimately it is this that matters, not our own feeble attempts at being sinless.
“Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 11:4
“The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.” Proverbs 11:6
Sin is a death sentence both in the physical sense, but more importantly, in the spiritual one. God as the source of righteousness, sets a standard, perfection, sinless perfection. I guess that rules us out, doesn’t it? Without Him rescuing us from sin, we would be overwhelmed by sin and never find our way out. This is what sin does and we have a sin nature inside of us, that part of us bent naturally away from God. There must be a way to be well; there must be a better way.
“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” Proverbs 11:21
True wellness means experiencing that freedom. Freedom tells sin it is not the boss of you anymore. It tells sin, “I do not belong to you.” The penalty that was due to you because of that sin is gone and you are able to walk and live in freedom that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, so many people get caught up here because they feel like they have done something unforgivable. That is that improper view of spiritual wellness again. We could never get it completely right, that is why we need Jesus. While it is important to follow rules and not get caught up in things that will take us away from God. It is also important not to condemn ourselves when we find ourselves in sin.
Here is a wonderful illustration of this from the Skit Guys that I think helps illustrate how this plays out in our life.
Don’t get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to other people. Wellness in Christ is not something we do, it is something we have obtained because of His work. It is not simply about never eating cupcakes, it is about understanding the grace of God in our daily life and living within it.