Last year, when I started eating better foods and exercising regularly (ok… exercising at all), I learned something important. There is a difference between being alive and being healthy. (In the same way, there is a difference between being dead and being unhealthy.)
For several years, I had been living a very unhealthy lifestyle, although I was still alive… I was still living. I was not dead. Thankfully, people did not treat me like I was dead even though I was unhealthy.
You know, it’s only people who are alive who can be healthy or unhealthy.
That’s true for physical life and physical health. It’s also true of spiritual life and spiritual health.
I’ve noticed that people often confuse the two issues. I’ve seen spiritually dead people exhorted toward spiritual health. I’ve also seen spiritually unhealthy people treated as if they were spiritually dead.
The issues involved with being spiritually alive or dead are different than the issues involved with being spiritually healthy or unhealthy.
It’s only people who are spiritually alive who can be spiritually healthy or unhealthy.
Did you know that almost all of Scripture was written to people who were already spiritually alive in order to encourage them toward being more spiritually healthy? It’s true. Even passages that discuss spiritual life and death were usually written to remind those who are already spiritually alive. (For example, consider Ephesians 2:1-10.)
Have you ever thought about the difference between being spiritually alive/dead and spiritually healthy/unhealthy? Do you make a distinction when you talk to and encourage other people? Do you know if you are encouraging them toward spiritual life or toward spiritual health?
What happens if you do not make a distinction? What happens if you exhort spiritually dead people in ways that are intended to help people who are already spiritually alive become more healthy?
What happens if you address spiritually unhealthy people as if they were spiritually dead?