The Herald Weekly Vol XVII : 2

Have You Checked Your Spiritual Health?

All of us probably know how important it is to keep yourself in good health. you go for regular health checks in order to see if your blood pressure and blood sugar is too high or too low. These are some key indicators of your health. There are devices on the market that enable people to do self-monitoring of their own blood pressure and blood sugar. We also know that early detection is the best way to deal with certain diseases. One of the worst things is to be sick or ill and not know anything about it until it is too late.

The same principle applies to spiritual health. Having a regular spiritual health check can be very beneficial to us. It can enable us to detect any signs of spiritual decline and disease. If we do not bother to check our spiritual health, we may end up like the Christians of the Church in Laodicea, who mistakenly thought that they were doing well spiritually, when they were actually very sick and in great need of medication:

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.: (Revelation 3:15-18)

Here Christ, the Great Physician makes an assessment of the spiritual health of the church. Firstly, He takes its temperature – lukewarm! Secondly, He takes an x-ray with His penetrating vision and beneath the healthy-looking exterior, He detects all the pathological problems inside, just waiting to erupt. Then the Great Physician gives His prescription – the medication that is only available from Him – gold tried in the fire to deal with their spiritual poverty, white cloth to bandage up their festering wounds, and some eye ointment to cure their blindness.

Perhaps we too need a thorough spiritual health check. Perhaps we think that we are spiritually rich and free of blemishes, and that we do not need any spiritual help. But there are things going on within that we are either not aware of, or that we refuse to be aware of.

It is unsafe to assume that everything is all right between us and the Lord. We must make it a habit to assess ourselves, to examine ourselves. And there are at least three things that we should be looking out for in our spiritual health check.

Salvation and Spiritual Growth

These are the two most vital signs we need to look for. 2 Peter 1:10 – “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” How do we make our calling and election sure? By looking in our own lives for the graces that are mentioned in the preceding verses: Faith, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness and Charity.

Self-examination is commanded in 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” If a person fails to examine himself in the matter of salvation he may end up deceiving himself. He may think that he is saved, when actually he is not saved at all.

The scriptures make it very clear that the grace of God will produce lives that are devoted to God and to doing the will of God. Matthew 3:8-10 – “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

The same truth is found in John 15:2 where Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” This does not mean that a person who is saved can lose his salvation. Salvation is of the Lord and therefore it can never be lost What this verse is referring to, is to the fact that some people can appear to be in Christ and yet not really be in Christ at all. They claim to have a part in Him and profess to be like the rest of the branches that are oined to the vine. They may even call Jesus “Lord” and perform impressive works for Him.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.

This brings out the truth that appearances can be deceiving. And the most terrible thing to be deceived about is to think that you have a part in Christ, when you actually do not have a part in Him at all. Please examine yourself to see if there are fruits of salvation in you.

While that frightening prospect of having a false security may be true of some people (and we ought to make sure that it is not true of us), it may also be true that we are already genuinely saved, but who just have lapsed or backslid into an unhealthy spiritual state. Perhaps there was a time when you were more zealous and did much more for the Lord, a time when your heart was burning with love for Him. But what has happened since then? Have you grown cold to Him? Have you left your first love?

Subtle Changes of Our Attitude to God

Change is good if it leads to something better. Without change there can be no progress. We all know that changed lives are what results from the work of God in the lives of sinners. But the change we must be careful to detect in our lives is not a change for the better but for the worse. If you notice that you get breathless even with slight exertion, or begin to experience tightness in your chest, then there are probably some detrimental changes taking place in your heart.

In the spiritual realm, one can also have changes taking place in the heart that are not good at all. But how can you tell if this is happening? The important indicator is your attitude toward God. This change in the heart of a believer is characterised by a loss of fervour and zeal, and increasing lukewarmness to the things of God.

Proverbs 4:23 says that you must “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Many Christians have not been diligent to keep their hearts with all diligence. As a result of this, their attitude to the things of the Lord have changed. At one time they were enthusiastic and excited about worship, prayer, Bible study and discipleship. But as they got used to these things year after year, they do not appreciate them nor put their hearts into them anyone. It becomes just a matter of routine for them. They join the large ranks of lukewarm Christianity. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto Me and their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.” (Matthew 15:8)

If this accurately describes your present life, perhaps you have become lukewarm without even being aware of it. Perhaps the cares of this world and other pursuits have overtaken you, and you are living more for the things on this earth than for things above. Or perhaps you have become obsessed with your work and with climbing up the corporate ladder of success.

Sins That Need to Be Repented of

It is very possible for us to see the sins in the lives of others and yet be blind to our own sins of pride, envy, and lust. Matthew 7:3 – “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” According to Christ, unless we first deal with our own sins, we will not be able to help others to deal with the sins in their lives.

Therefore we should make it a habit to ask the Lord to help us to see our own sins clearly, just like the psalmist who said in Psalm 129:23,24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Please be careful to apply this discipline in your life, so that nothing will stand in between you and God. Any sin that is not dealt with will hinder your relationship with God. Psalm 66:18 says – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” There is only one way to deal with any sin in your life, and that is to confess it to God and ask for forgiveness.

Sins are like germs in our environment. As we go about our daily life, we tend to pick up all kinds of germs on our body. We may not be able to see them, but if we ignore them and do not get rid of them they can make us very sick. So what do we need to do? We must use soap and water to remove them.

In the same way, as we go through life in a sinful world, we tend to accumulate sins in our life. And if we do nothing about them, they will make us very sick spiritually. So what do we need to do? We must use spiritual soap and water. What is our bar of soap? It is 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And what is our water? It is our prayers to confess our sins.

So let us be diligent to check our spiritual health in these three areas: Evidence of our salvation and spiritual growth, subtle changes in our heart to the things of God, and the sins that we need to repent of. By doing this we will maintain our spiritual health and fitness to be effective for God’s use.

by Rev Charles Seet, 
from Life B-P Church Weekly

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