In our pursuit of physical health, we change our eating habits and increase movement through exercise. Not only does our body respond to the change, but our mental health also improves as we begin to view life from a different perspective.
Even so, for the believer, we must take additional action to achieve optimal health. Put God first! The desire to be at peak level requires that our spiritual relationship with God to be our #1 priority. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33.
The consequences of pursuing our plans without God’s approval and blessing results in anxiety, worries, depression, and low self-esteem. The Creation story shows us God’s meticulous planning for the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs before creating the first humans. Adam was created on day six to dwell in a home complete with the beauty of nature, animals, and food. Since the weather was a perfect temperature and rain did not exist, there was no need for clothing.
In the beginning, Adam (and Eve) willingly accepted God’s plan and agreed to God’s conditions for them. Unfortunately, we continue in their footsteps to desire more than God has given to us. “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the LORD, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. Obedience to God becomes our only choice when we love God with all of our hearts, soul, and mind. There is no conflict. We acknowledge the deity of God and readily admit that our feeble plans can never supersede His plans.
If we believe that God knows best then how do we transition from happy and healthy to anxious and worried? I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15
God has given us a fail-proof rhythm for our lives. The sequence of creation included six days of meaningful labor. God gave us the blueprint on how to maintain a healthy, happy, and productive existence. Following His plans always results in victorious outcomes. Through obedience, we make accomplishments that bring satisfaction and inner joy. Even God was pleased with the results of the creation. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good. Genesis 1:31
God’s Plan: Six days of effort and work to accomplish our earthly tasks. The seventh day: To cease, to stop what we normally do, and to focus completely on Him.
On the seventh day, God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:2-3. And on the seventh day, Saturday-Sabbath, we STOP our labor and focus on our relationship with God. Keeping the Sabbath provides complete spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical renewal. God blessed and rested on the seventh day because He declared it holy. Faith says yes, I believe in God and trust His plans for my life. And because I love God and belong to him. I obey His commands.
When God rested on the seventh-day, Saturday, blessed and hallowed [to make holy; consecrate] it as the Sabbath, only Adam and Eve existed. Another false teaching is that the Sabbath was created for persons of Jewish descent. Challenge: Pray, and ask God to reveal to you through the Holy Spirit the importance of honoring and obeying His command to keep the Sabbath holy, Exodus 20:8-11. Remember that God is old-school. “For I am the LORD, I change not….” Malachi 3:6. The doctrines of new covenant churches have convinced many that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh day to Sunday, the first day. It is the human mind that is enmity against God. Satan has easily persuaded us that God has changed His commandments.
What difference does the day make? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
I am going with God on obedience to keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. I have never found definitive proof in the Bible where God said, “Now that Jesus died for the remission of sin, and animal sacrifice is no longer required, I am also changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.” “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” … It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12.
Did Jesus obey God, His Father? And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8
Do you desire optimal health? Do you desire the ultimate reward of Eternal life? Stay connected to God!
How important is it for us to stay connected to God? I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV. In every aspect of our existence, we have to “Put God first!”
Living in the imaginary gray area is created by a lukewarm commitment to God, which results in mental anguish and emotional turmoil. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… Joshua 24:15. The inner conflict between our desires versus God’s commands leaves us confused. A mind in turmoil impacts the ability to live a faith-based and purpose-driven life. Without commitment, we lose sight of our priorities. Our time is easily mismanaged as we struggle to finish essential tasks. Without the ability to focus clearly, we cannot complete our goals, which leads to self-esteem issues. We become anxious and worried as we watch our lives decline into chaos.
My past disobedience created the terrible condition of insomnia for many years. Yes, I attended church, and heard many sermons. I was not chasing after sinful pleasures. I believed in God, but my career was first as evidenced by the drive to pursue my plans and goals. The root of the problem: God was never first, which resulted in a superficial relationship. It is only those who claim to love God that challenge Him through disobedience. Yes, we believe in God but approach Him in a ritualistic manner, reciting the same hurried prayers and never taking the time to study the books of the Bible. Because we lack true spiritual transformation, we never understand who God, our Heavenly Father is. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Now that we have identified the problem, our solution is easy. The questions: Do I really love God? Am I willing to put God first by praying, “Not my will, but your will for my life?” Who is God? Daily and diligent study of the Bible is required to know who we serve. We are anxious and depressed because we read a few verses of our favorite chapter to get us through the tough times. From Genesis to Revelation, the “I Am” describes His character along with countless promises to take care of us. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27.
Is there a relationship that can survive without active, ongoing communication? Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6. There are no shortcuts to establishing and maintaining a relationship with God. We must reconnect to the Vine, Jesus Christ, for complete deliverance from our mental anguish and emotional instability. The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27, Amplified version. Turning our lives over to God requires total commitment, faith, trust, and obedience.
As we contemplate deeply on the blood sacrifice that was required for humanity’s redemption, we must ask ourselves, “What more can Jesus do for me?” It’s time to put God first! Living righteously brings peace: “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” Isaiah 32:17
Bible Study: John 14
God, we thank you for giving your only Son, Jesus, who died for us, was resurrected, and now serves as our Heavenly Intercessor. We ask forgiveness for not putting you first. Our lives are full of anxieties and worries because we have not fully committed to serving you. God, we need you. We desire to put you first. Thank you, Jesus, for your great sacrifice. We love you and ask this prayer in your Worthy Name. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.