How to Be a Healthy Christian
By Dr. Richard D. Dobbins
Being a healthy Christian begins with a healthy view of God. God is a loving God and wants you to see Him as someone who is loving and wants to be helpful and redemptive to the human race. There are several other characteristics of a healthy view of God:
Develop a Healthy View of God
1. A healthy view of God sees Him as an intimate God. Scriptures teach that God is very near and intimate with us: “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). He is not some remote creator who set nature in motion and went away,
2. A healthy view of God sees Him as a God who cares very much for us. Often this is the very place the devil attacks our faith, trying to make us believe that God does not care about us personally.
3. A healthy view of God sees Him as someone we can trust. I remember the Old Testament passage: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Sometimes life gets heavy, and if you can feel the love of God underneath you, you can trust His everlasting arms to hold you up.
Develop a Healthy View of Yourself
Once we have a healthy view of God, we must have a healthy view of ourselves if we are to be healthy Christians. This brings up issues of pride and conceit. Many Christians feel that seeing themselves as people of value to God, feeling positive toward themselves, is being proud or conceited.
But if you do not see yourself as a person of worth, then the devil has blinded you to the true meaning of Christ’s sacrificial death on Calvary. From Gods point of view, you are a person of worth, and no matter how low you might feel about yourself, you should never forget that.
Here are four steps for developing a healthy view of yourself:
1. See yourself as someone God loves very much. This Bible verse may help you understand how you can see yourself as someone God loves very much: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”(Galatians 2:20).
2. See yourself as someone God values very much. Our whole sense of self-worth comes out of Christ’s sacrifice for us at Calvary. We get our sense of value out of the price God paid for our redemption (see 1 Peter 1:18,19).
3. See yourself as someone God has forgiven of very much. It is so easy to forget what our past was like, but reminding ourselves of how much God has forgiven us will keep us from pride and conceit.
4. See yourself as someone God wants to change very much. Remember, God is not through with us yet
Develop a Healthy View of Others
The third step toward becoming a healthy Christian is to develop a healthy view of others. There are four important steps to develop a healthy view of others:
1. Begin by convincing yourself that other people are potential friends. This means overcoming fears you may have of other people by becoming more secure in God’s love for you.
2. You need to be accepting of others. This means you need to develop a broad tolerance for differences. Do not require people to be like you in order for you to want to be their friend. Look at the contrast between Jesus’ view of other people and that of the Pharisees. They were very intolerant, very judgmental. But Jesus was open and accepting with a wide variety of people. He could be at home with tax collectors, adulterers and prostitutes.
3. You need to care enough about your friends to confront them with the issues the devil would use to divide you. This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 18. Being reconciled to one another is of more immediate importance than offering a gift at the altar. Speak about the things that need to be addressed, but do so in a loving way.
4. You need to develop a compassionate care for others. We should be serving others and doing things for them as though we were doing it for the Lord. We love and serve others not to be seen by them, but out of our love for the Lord and our love for them.
Develop a Healthy Attitude Towards Life
The fourth step toward becoming a healthy Christian is developing a healthy attitude toward life.
It is not always easy to find God’s will in the circumstances of a person’s life, but it is always simple to know God’s will concerning our attitude toward life: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thanksgiving and gratitude open the gates of God’s presence in our lives.
Thankfulness has to do with who I am not with what I am experiencing. I will go through many experiences in life for which I am not thankful. But even as I pass through those experiences, I can still be a thankful person, i.e., in the midst of those circumstances, give God thanks.
A second step toward developing a healthy view of life is to see the positive side of life. When you begin to look at the dark side of your circumstances, you begin to see what is missing instead of what is there.
Why not ask God to help you view whatever circumstances you are in from a positive perspective? This will augment your healthy view of life and make your life much more productive. There are practical steps you can take to understand your present attitude toward life and to make it more positive.
Set up a tape recorder and record your conversations several times each week. Listening to such a tape recording of what you actually say daily in your home will give you insight into your view of life.
Ask God to help you set a watch over your mind and over your lips. If you are not happy with the attitude you have, let Philippians 4:8,9 become a pattern for your thought life and your conversations.
Stop and take a look at what is going on in your life today. Overlook those things you would normally complain about and determine to be a thankful person.
Develop a Healthy View of Time
The fifth ingredient of a healthy Christian life is a healthy view of time. There are many ways in which life may be unfair to us, but in our accessibility to time, life treats us all the same. Each of us has 24 hours a day; the richest person, no more and the poorest, no less. So whether I succeed or fail indiscovering and developing the talents God has given me will largely be determined by my respect for the limited amount of time I have on this planet.
The apostle Paul admonishes us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:18). What that means is that we have limited quantities of time and ought to “buy it up”. Look back over the last week and mentally list the things you had hoped to get done. Now recall the things you actually got done. Are the things you did less important than the things you left undone?
The two biggest thieves of time most of us face each day are television and computers. As you take a look at how much time you spend watching television or playing computer games, you will become aware that there are much more constructive, creative, fulfilling things you could accomplish in life if you converted that wasted time into more creative uses.
A healthy Christian has a healthy attitude toward time. He does not want to waste his life in frivolous activities, but to discover where his gifts and talents are and use them.
Article “How to Be a Healthy Christian” excerpted from “Guidelines for Good living”. Written by Dr. Richard D. Dobbins.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”