The Four Dimensions of Life
Beyond the laws of radiant health are some broader principles that include the whole person. Human beings arc made up of more than just a body. The World Health Organization defmes health as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition is incomplete as it leaves out one significant aspect of life and health—the spiritual.This understanding is illustrated clearly in Luke 2:52 which tells us that, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." A rough paraphrase would state that Jesus grew mentally, physically, spiritually and socially.
In the ten steps to health that were covered in the previous section notice that the last three are not purely physical laws but include areas from the other dimensions of life that affect physical health.The spiritual practice of "Trust in God," the mental attitude of "Gratitude," and the social skill of "Helping Others," all have a positive influence on total health.
Health for the whole person
We cannot be totally well unless every part of us is healthy. In fact the mental, social, and spiritual factors may be even more involved in causing or fighting many diseases than are the physical factors. Many of the laws that we listed as governing physical health apply equally well to the other facets of life.
1. Nutrition—It is necessary to eat to live, not only physically, but also in the other three dimensions.
Mentally: If new information and ideas are not fed into the mind on a regular basis the intellect ceases to grow and develop, becoming weak and stunted. Don't dwell on the trivial, degrading, or useless; these things can be considered mental junk food.
I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble ... my loving God. PSALM 59:16
Socially: If love, respect, and companionship are not a regular part of your life, your social capabilities become weak and dwarfed.
Spiritually: Christians nourish themselves spiritually through Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and service to others.
2. Exercise—Activity is a law of life that is often phrased this way, "Use it or lose it."
Mentally: Intellect, memory, wisdom, attitude, and illpower need to be exercised.
Socially: Love, tact, the social graces, communication, and core values grow when they are practiced.
Spiritually: The exercise of faith, prayer, love, and perseverance are essential for spiritual strength and growth.
3. Rest—We need to relax and regenerate after activity.
Mentally: The mind needs to rest after periods of intense mental activity in order to recuperate. In addition, a good night's sleep gives the mind a chance to reorganize and start afresh.
Socially: A time away in privacy and solitude is necessary after periods of heavy social interaction.
Spiritually: After intense periods of ministry Christ's servants need to "Come apart and rest awhile" by spending time with Him. Time with Christ is spiritual rejuvenation. (See Mark 6:30,31).
4. Temperance—The basic definition of this law of life and health is to avoid that which is harmful and practice moderation in that which is healthful.
First, do no harm.
Mentally: Don't do anything that would destroy or pollute your mental faculties.
Socially: Don't acquire harmful habits or friends, or engage in socially destructive behaviors like gossip, criticism, breaking civil laws, or engaging in risky, degrading, sexual behaviors.
Spiritually: Don't destroy your spiritual sensibilities by dwelling on spiritually destructive emotions such as hatred, anger, or revenge. Avoid putting yourself under Satan's power through occult practices or the rejection of the Spirit of God.
Second, practice moderation and balance in things that are good. This involves more than just a balance between such things as activity and rest, logic and emotion, solitude and the multitude. It also consists of keeping a healthy balance between the four dimensions (mentally, physically spiritually and socially). When one of these areas of life becomes all encompassing or is neglected, the result is an unbalanced and unhealthy individual.
Finally, part of being in balance is knowing what is most valuable and important. There will be times when you will have to choose between what is best for one element at the expense of the others. A young person might have to choose between a career in sports or science. You might have time to get either physical exercise or spiritual nourishment but not both. You make choices based on what you value most. Why not make your spiritual dimension the top priority, and base each decision on how it will affect your spiritual life and health? It would be a terrible waste to make physical health your highest priority only to miss out completely on eternal life and the associated radiant health Christ promises. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33).
5. Water, fresh air, and sunshine—These are all useful for cleanliness, which is a principle that applies equally to all segments of life.
Spiritually: We need to open our hearts daily to the sunshine of God's love, let the pure air of the Spint flow into our lives, and be washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus, accepting His forgiveness.
Mentally: Likewise, when the mind is polluted and degraded there is help in the principle, "By beholding we become changed?" But ultimately, only by accepting Christ's offer to create in us a new life can the mind be completely cleansed.
Socially: As Christ changes the life and the person sincerely repents, confesses, apologizes, and makes amends, others will realize that this is a new and clean person.
Christ knows and loves each of us as if there was no one else. He longs for us to accept His offer of salvation. He desires to cleanse us, and make us whole, that we might achieve the happiness and abundant life for which we were created.
The Inseparable Four Dimensions
The four dimensions of life are inseparable and so interrelated that what affects one part of us affects every other part as well.
Physically: Poor physical health can cloud the mind, depress the attitudes, and make it more difficult to keep spiritually healthy. Conversely, good health can clear the mind and improve the mental outlook, promoting enriched spiritual strength and health.
Mentally: Willpower, attitude, and intellect have a decided influence on how we live our lives and apply or reject the various laws of health.
Socially: Both the attitudes that permeate our homes, and the relationships we form, have the power to affect our health
Spiritually: The exercise of faith, love, hope, prayer, perseverance, and dedication to God will bring peace of mind, character growth, and increased physical health.
The study and practice of these extended health principles will make a difference in the usefulness and quality of life. Each of these laws with which we cooperate brings a benefit, but when we cooperate with all of them the rewards are multiplied!