If you haven’t read my previous three posts about how I live a fuller life in regards to faith, fashion and food, I 100% recommend that you go and read them. Then, come on back here and find out why I bothered to write those posts in the first place!
So why do I want you guys to live a fuller life? Why on earth have I spent an entire month’s worth of posts sharing my top tips on living out the full life that Christ promised us? And, is it even okay for Christians to be thinking about life this way?
Let’s start with the most difficult question first and ask another question: why am I even asking if it’s okay for Christians to think like this? The answer lies in viewing a full life as interconnected, where every choice and decision you make will have an effect on every other part of your life. This approach to life is known as holistic, the concept that the whole is bigger than the sum of it’s parts and the parts are all interconnected. The Oxford Dictionary provides a fantastic definition:
Philosophy: Characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
Traditionally viewed as an Eastern philosophy, it can sit uneasily beside Christian beliefs. Though I do think it can be inadvisable to follow some Eastern practices- e.g. I choose pilates instead of yoga- a holistic approach to life is not incompatible.
Holistic? Christianity? Fuller Life?
Okay, so why is a holistic approach to life compatible with Christian faith? Let’s start with the basics. In most countries, men and women have the ability to make a choice over almost everything. Instead of acting on instinct, we are able to choose what food we eat, how we dress, where we live, and even what we believe. These choices aren’t separate from each other. In fact, they are completely related. Let’s start with food as an example.
A bad diet will often lead to mental and physical health problems. These can include being over or underweight, diabetes, addiction to food groups, low energy levels and even depression. These health problems can then cause changes in your wardrobe, mood, relationships and even faith.
A good diet will have the reverse effect. Your body will have more energy, better nutrition and be able to heal itself quicker when needed. Consequently, moods, addictions, relationships, faith and even your wardrobe choices will be more positive.
This is just one example of how one choice can affect multiple “separate” areas of your life. Now think about other choices you’ve made. How many “separate” areas do they affect?
What does the Bible say about this?
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” was the inspiration for this series of posts. This verse comes from the middle of a passage where Jesus was describing himself as The Good Shepherd. Whether the 21st or the 1st Century, shepherds take a holistic approach to looking after their flocks. From protecting them against predators through to finding still water, a shepherd was responsible for the whole sheep and not just certain parts. If Jesus truly is The Good Shepherd, then it would follow that He also cares about our whole; the whole of humanity but also the whole person from finding “still waters” through to protecting us from “predators”.
Luke 12 is another fantastic passage about how God cares for the whole person. Jesus reminds us that we have a God who will provide us with the clothes and food we need (not that we want). That you are not to worry “about your life… or about your body… [because] your Father knows [what] you need…”* We are reminded that God does not care for our spiritual natures; He cares for the whole person, including the clothes they wear and food they eat!
Even the Lord’s Prayer takes a holistic approach, praising God before seeking His help with our physical, emotional/mental and spiritual needs. Surely this takes the concept of a holistic life out of an Eastern context, showing how central it is within Christianity and our relationship with God.
Is a Holistic Life a Full Life?
The concept of holistically living does not automatically mean you will have a full life. I believe that a full life can be found through the Bible and exploring every single way that it affects your life. In other words, take the whole Bible and look at how it affects your whole life. Look at the choices you make every day. How do those choices affect other choices? Do they match up with what you believe?
For a holistic life to be the full life of John 10v10, it must have a strong foundation in Gospel truth. That’s why, here at CounterCultural. CounterCouture, everything we encourage has a biblical basis. From modest dressing and healthy eating as a form of respect to God through to finding biblical inspiration, together we can make holistic decisions to live the full life Jesus gave us.
So yes, Christians can think holistically!
The post Living a Fuller Life: Why Bother? first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.
*Original text can be found at Luke 12 v22-34