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In Search of Well-Being By Dr. Zenet Maramara

Definition and Christian Perspective on Well-Being

The Oxford Dictionary defines well-being as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” For Christians, well-being reflects the Trinitarian life of God, characterized by flourishing within a community. This idea is deeply rooted in God’s nature as a relational being—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect communion. This relational nature implies that every man and woman, created in God’s image, are designed to thrive in relationships, and without these, they experience a sense of incompleteness.

Christian Community Context

For Christians, holistic well-being is best experienced within family, church, and society. Humans are created for relationships with God and fellow human beings, and the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbors.

Author and Australian theologian Charles Ringma emphasizes that “life-together in the Christian context involves more than respect, care, and mutuality. It includes prayer, forgiveness, reconciliation, servanthood, and the willingness to suffer for the sake of others.” From this perspective, the ultimate well-being of an individual is intricately linked to the health of their relationships within a community. This holistic view encompasses spiritual, emotional, and social dimensions, emphasizing that humans are created to live in harmonious relationships with God, each other, and the rest of creation. Central to this belief is that Jesus’ death and resurrection restored the broken relationship between humanity and God.

True Identity and Well-Being

Genuine well-being begins with understanding God’s nature and character and knowing who we are in Jesus Christ. When individuals seek their identity, self-worth, and happiness outside this foundational truth, they embark on an unfulfilling search. We need a coherent inner core and a healthy view of self. In Christ, we are redeemed and given a new identity, freeing us from the need for external validation.

Being created in God’s image means that every person possesses intrinsic value and dignity, which anchors self-esteem and respect for others. Psalm 8:5 highlights this by stating, “You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” Each individual is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).

Christological Well-Being

Charles Ringma proposes a concept of Christological well-being involving the love of God and neighbor. This well-being is nurtured through practices such as “relinquishment, service, generosity, and sacrifice,” reflecting the life and teachings of Christ. Moreover, Ringma states that “for well-being to flourish in the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, individuals must confront their selfishness, the dynamics of exclusion and racism, cultural captivity, and misuse of power.” This process involves attuning one’s heart to the weak and vulnerable in the community.

Selflessness and Surrender

A fully surrendered life is the antidote to selfishness. Selfishness hinders genuine love and service to others. By confronting it, individuals can better align their actions with Christ’s example of selflessness and compassion. A life of surrender brings true freedom as a steward of God’s gifts, allowing individuals to hold these gifts lightly and follow God’s guidance.

This alignment enables personal well-being that naturally extends to the well-being of others. A life of relinquishment, service, generosity, and sacrifice flows from faith in God and a transformed heart. It is a heart that acknowledges God is the true owner of everything and is in control. Matthew 16:24 says, “Whoever wants to become my disciple must deny themselves and take up his cross and follow me.” Practically, this means giving up pursuing material possessions and surrendering personal ambitions to serve God’s purpose. When we heed Jesus’ call in Matthew 6:33 to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness,” we can experience true well-being, be free to serve others, and become generous in every way.

Confronting Cultural Captivity

Cultural captivity refers to the ways Christian beliefs can become entangled with cultural norms and values contrary to the teachings of Jesus. This can dilute the Gospel’s transformative power and lead to a faith that conforms more to societal standards than God’s will. Christians must be keenly aware of how cultural norms influence our beliefs and actions. Romans 12:1 encourages believers to “not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Critical reflection on cultural practices helps identify areas where cultural norms conflict with biblical principles. This includes issues such as consumerism, individualism, and social justice.

In summary, from a Christian perspective, well-being is deeply intertwined with one’s relationship with God and others. This understanding emphasizes that true well-being involves spiritual, emotional, and social harmony, achieved through the restoration of Jesus Christ. Embracing Christological well-being, marked by selflessness and service, leads to a flourishing life that benefits the individual and the community.


Dr. Zenet Maramara is the founder and president of the Christian Stewardship Association, Philippines. CSA promotes biblical stewardship, giving, and generosity. She served as chair of the Global Trust Partners and was a professor of biblical stewardship at the Asian Theological Seminary in Manila.

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