Psalm 32:5 “Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”
When a patient schedules an appointment with their physician, there is a certain expectation of what is to come. After a brief history the physician proceeds to run the patient through a series of tests to examine their relative health.
The health of our bodies is an area that must be given a reasonable amount of investment or eventually our health will force us into a more urgent situation than we may have hoped.
Our spiritual health is of equal or as many would say, of much greater concern. The status of our spiritual health may not be as scientific as an examination by a physician but the process of evaluating our spiritual health is one that many have neglected.
A Biblical Evaluation
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
The spiritual test is one that can reveal both critical issues or troubling trends. Like a small skin cancer that might be easily treated when first discovered, seemingly insignificant sins can grow into invasive diseases that overtakes a person.
How do you test for something that might have been previously overlooked?
Listening to the Word
James 1:22-24 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
The Word of God serves as a type of spiritual stethoscope, listening to your spiritual heart and revealing anything that is of concern. When we look into the Word, we place God’s listening device up to our own ears and allow God to let us listen into what He already knows.
It’s one thing to hear something of concern, it’s another to act on that concern.
It’s not uncommon for people to have trouble with their heart valves. A common disease process is aortic stenosis. The narrowing of the valve that sits just above the left ventricle can be mildly diseased without causing much for symptoms. Over time the narrowing continues to reduce and as it does it begins to affect the entire body. Fatigue is common, heart failure may begin to set in, and this can affect people’s breathing as well.
If we ignore disease in our bodies, eventually we will be limited as to what we can accomplish. Spiritual disease, when ignored, affects our relationship to Christ and to others.
Obeying the Word
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Once we discover the spiritual ailment that has developed, making the necessary changes in life is critical for good spiritual health.
If we continue to conform to this world, it’s like neglecting a clear and present danger like aortic stenosis. Eventually we will find we can’t function like we once did, we lose our ability to substantially walk in the joy of the Lord, and we fall back into patterns that only take our eyes off the hope of our salvation.
Expectation of Judgement
1 Corinthians 11:28-2 “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
Many times people ignore the obvious signs of spiritual trouble and the neglect leads to bringing greater judgment upon themselves. Taking the Lord’s supper (communion), is reserved solely for those who walk with Christ as His ambassador’s in this world. Many times people will partake of this sacred ceremony thinking it will resolve them of the guilt of neglecting the relationship with Christ that is necessary for salvation. By observing the bread and the wine, people make a statement by their actions that they recognize the means for salvation while rejecting the path of Life in Christ alone.
Observing spiritual ceremony without relationship is a long slide into a false sense of security. The only security the church has is the perfection of Christ in which they have placed their hope. Following Him has to be sincere and real, without real relationship with Him, there is only religion.
Lamentations 3:40 “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”
Once the realization of living a lie sets in, the next step is repentance and returning to the Lord.
Only a fool recognizes their deficiency and continues in the path of destruction. Like someone who has a terminal disease that can be healed and yet rejects the path of healing, spiritual sick people have a responsibility to take the necessary steps for healing.
In some cases, with certain physical illnesses it requires a change in diet or lifestyle, it may mean controlling your health through medication or even an exercise regiment.
If we don’t take our spiritual health seriously, the consequences will be much more dire.
Hurry–before it’s too Late!
Psalm 119:59-60 “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”
We are not guaranteed a long life, nor are we guaranteed God’s favor regardless of how we live our lives.
Sin naturally leads to trouble and there are times God’s proves His love by allowing the consequences of sin to run its course. We find out very quickly how painful sin becomes when we are left to our own vices.
Once the Lord gives you insight into your spiritual sickness, quickly act by humbling yourself and returning to the Lord, He is ultimately your healer.
Look to yourself–then to Others
Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
It is so easy to want to fix others before we admit we need fixing. Spiritual pride is the condition where someone thinks more highly of themself than they ought to think. I’ve certainly been guilty of this sin which leads me to pray for wisdom so that God will give me a correct view of myself.
Once we begin to grow and heal from the ravages of sin, it is then we can help others grow the same. The encouragement of fellow believers, prayer for one another, and the love shared among those of like faith is invaluable in our spiritual health.
How spiritually healthy are you today?
We are not guaranteed our next breath, our physical health is as good as our last appointment, which makes it all the more important to be right with God. Our bodies are here today and gone tomorrow, our spirits live on into eternity.
In this day and age of advanced medicine and the hyper-focus on maintaining good health, let’s step back and remind ourselves of what is far more valuable and place that as our priority.