We recently took a Christian counseling course expounding the 12 essential aspects of life. The twelve are a list of life's critical elements ranked by order of importance and impact. Do you think you can name them all without looking?
The 12 Aspects of Life
- Physical Health
- Emotional Health
- Social Life
- Quality of Life
- Life Vision
As an exercise, a counselor might ask you to rate your satisfaction with each of these 12 areas with a number from one to ten. Each element is closely related to your person and the kind of life you are living. Scoring each item gives you insight into your own situation.
Go ahead and try. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to take a pulse on life as you currently experience it.
They say that your lowest rated value determines the upper limit for many of the other aspects. For example, suppose your emotional health is poor. This effect will bleed into your character, finances, spiritual health, quality of life, and so on. Working on individual categories over time is essential for overall well-being.
Over the next few weeks, I will share my reflections on the course and relevant resources with you.
#1 - Spiritual
We must abide in Jesus, honor God the Father, and receive the Holy Spirit to serve others effectively. These things are essential for spiritual health.
What's the big deal?
God is spiritual. Cultivating a healthy spiritual life is society's most critical and often neglected engagement. Humanity is, after all, created in the image of God.
It is helpful to remember our most important relationship is with God; everything else is for him. Rejecting this relationship shipwrecks our reason for existence and forfeits everything.
Without God, we have no solid basis for living a good life.
With God, we have everything we could ever want in knowing him.
It's unique because our connection with God is possible only through faith. Faith in Jesus alone, that is. (John 14:6)
God, Faith, and spiritual life are indispensable.
We need God because everything other than God is a contingent creation. God is the sole basis and sustenance for all created physical and spiritual things.
Faith is necessary to construct our lens viewing the world. Everyone has a lens, but Christianity is the one that helps us see most clearly. Faith allows us to follow a good God we can't see.
We can't avoid spiritual life because we are spiritual and physical beings. We're created for communion with matter and a spiritual God.
What's the problem?
Disconnection with God and humanity is an outcome of sin. When we hear the truth and believe in Jesus as Lord, we secure the proper foundation for everything else in life. The Bible says we are spiritually dead without Jesus and are guilty of suppressing the truth. (Romans 1:18-19)
How to fix it?
If you haven't yet, repent before God. Repenting is turning from a self-righteous or sinful mindset. Ask Jesus to give you his own heart. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is King of All and believe that he rose from the dead 2000 years ago.
Take action steps to end your rebellion against God. Sin is doing what God tells us not to do. It's also failing to do what he has told us to do. Sin is rebellion, or as the Bible says, it's lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)
Having done all this, find a Bible-believing Christian community and pursue baptism.
You'll need the Holy Spirit, faithful Christian teachers, the Bible, a Christian community, and a desire to grow closer to Jesus.
After the initial steps of faith, a simple step is spending time with Jesus in prayer and his word daily. Really, it's about learning to enjoy and grow in a relationship with him. At first, the faith relationship may feel unnatural, but as we mature, it's easy to see that it's essential to life.
No single other pursuit promises more hope, joy, strength, or meaning. The revelation that Jesus loves us grants a strong identity. As Tim Keller says, "we are more sinful than we often think but are more loved than we can imagine."
There are about a billion things someone could mention here. These resources are a few basics that came to mind.
God gives the Scriptures for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. All the books, Genesis to Revelation.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
Listening to audio on the Bible App and programs like The Daily Audio Bible boosted my daily scripture engagement.
Don't forget the Bible Project or Spoken Gospel to go deeper into the Bible's context and narrative! Jesus is all over scripture, Old Testament, and New. You can spend your whole life searching and never dig up all the gold in God's unique book.
Joining a healthy church community and getting plugged in is very important.
If you need recommendations for a church community, send me a message or leave a comment. Here is our community in Tokyo.
Prayer is huge. It's talking with and to God. Jesus taught his disciples to pray when they asked him. The New Testament authors offered prayers in their letters.
Honestly, I haven't found a favorite sermon/book/video for prayer. There are definitely weird books on prayer out there. There are books on prayer that wouldn't fit my biblical understanding either.
Tim Keller's book on prayer was insightful, to a limited extent. His work (intentionally) does not mention biblical practices like praying in tongues, which I would hope would at least be addressed in the book.
Therefore, I see a significant need for Sam Storm's biblical insight on the subject of tongues and spiritual warfare to give a whole perspective on prayer.
Combining these resources, you will locate some first steps into holistic biblical teaching on passionate prayer. Discover the joy in praying to God, who always hears us.
I also don't have a one-size-fits-all solution for this one. But fasting is essential to spiritual health. I'd like to grow personally in this spiritual discipline.
There was a video I watched recently that I found helpful (the thumbnail is a bit extra, though 😅):
How do you grow in the spiritual aspect of your life?
What do you find essential to your Christian walk?