Friday, May 25, 2007

Spiritual Check-up

I do not like going to the doctor, and I cannot think of too many people who do. Think about it, when you're at the doctor's office you often get asked to do some pretty uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even painful things:

  • "Strip down completely and put this robe on."
  • "Fill up this bottle."
  • And the worst of all, "Bend over and cough."

Hey, nobody likes the sound of that! On the other hand, it's no fun being sick. So, an occasional check-up or physical performed by a good doctor can help keep our bodies in shape. Knowing that still doesn't make the visit any more fun, but hopefully you are convince you of its value.

The purpose of this post is to provide you with a cost-free check-up. Not of your physical body, but of your spiritual self. Please, do not worry, I promise that you can keep your clothes on, as a matter of fact I insist on it. You will not be required to fill any bottles with bodily fluids, and there will be no bending over and coughing.

This check-up may still be a little uncomfortable; however, and you may feel the pressure of some probing questions. You may even feel the pain of some areas or subjects that you do not like to think about. While taking this physical, there are two things that you need to keep in mind.

  1. Honesty is important in this examination. The answers to these questions will be between you and God. You cannot fool Him, so don't try. Be honest, no matter how painful that honesty might be.
  2. Remember, Jesus Christ is the Great Physician. The Bible says,
    He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 - "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.")

Christ is not an uncaring, heartless, cold, impersonal Savior. On the contrary, He loves and cares for you like no other physician can or could. Isaiah 53:5 proves that: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (cf. 1 Peter 2:24) Christ isn't out to hurt you. He desires to heal you.

Let's begin, and the place to start is with your vital signs; specifically your pulse. I think we would all agree that having a pulse is fairly important. After all, if you don’t have a pulse, you’re dead. Do you have a spiritual pulse? How do you check for a spiritual pulse? The only way to have one is to repent of your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you have not done that, then you do not have a spiritual pulse, and if you have yet to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior you are spiritually dead. There is a huge difference between a physical pulse and a spiritual one, namely the fact that you are born with a physical pulse. No one is born with a spiritual pulse. We are all born dead in our sins, and only faith in and on Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, can give you a spiritual pulse. Ephesians 2:4-10 says, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

Now that we have taken your pulse, let's probe your heart. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7 that "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Your heart is also evidence of what you treasure most. Matthew 6:21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If you have a spiritual pulse, then are you trying to become more like Christ in your thoughts and motives? Do the priorities of your life bring you closer to God, or do they drive you away from Him? Do you have a heart for God? If you do, then your heart will be:

  • Fixed on God - Psalm 112
  • Joyful in God - 1 Samuel 2:1
  • Desirous of God - Psalm 84:2
  • Broken and Contrite before God - Psalm 51:17
  • Obedient to God - Psalm 119:112
  • Completely Devoted to God - Psalm 119:10; Psalm 119:145
  • Prayerful - Psalm 27:8

Do you have a heart for God, or do you have a heart for the things of this world? Your words, your thoughts, and your actions will reveal where your heart is.

You’ve had your pulse taken. You have had your heart examined. Now roll up your sleeve and let’s do a little blood work. Are you afraid of needles?

First, I want to check your red blood cells. They carry oxygen through your body and this prevents anemia and sluggishness. What your red blood cells are to your physical body, your devotional life is to your spiritual self. Answer the next question truthfully and carefully.

  • How much time do you spend each day studying your Bible?

Please notice that I said studying, not just reading, your Bible. The Word of God is not just an interesting piece of literature to read. It's not just a book of ancient stories. It is the very Word of God. A Christian must spend time in God's Word; studying and meditating on it. All of this studying and meditation is for one purpose: application. You learn it so you can live it; just reading the words will not help you, it takes application of the scriptures for this Book to make a difference in your life. Read Lord of the Rings, but study, interpret, and apply the scriptures to your life.

Next question:

  • Do you spend time daily in prayer with God?

Bowing your head, closing your eyes, and being quiet, while someone else is praying does not count. I am talking about some serious one on one time between you and God! "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near," Isaiah 55:6. (cf. Psalm 62:8; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:16).

How is your spiritual blood circulation? Are you helping the blood to pump and flow like it should by studying God's Word and spending time in prayer, or are your arteries clogged with things of this world?

The first part of the check-up is complete. Next week we'll finish.

(HT: This post and the following post are grateful to Duffy Robbins' book The Ministry of Nurture.)

1 comment:

Aaron E said...

good blog!! Not "pleasant" reading, but youre right,...a doctor's visit doesnt have to be "pleasant" to serve it's purpose...