Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflections for January 21, 2011

"Spiritual Checkup"

Few people look forward to their annual physical. Who wants to be poked, stuck, probed and interrogated? To make matters worse, you have to pay several hundred dollars to have it done. I do it, not because I want to do it, but because I know that it may well save me from something worse than the physical.

When it is all over, the doctor tells me what I need to do. In my case the advice given generally has something to do with food. My doctor has yet to tell me that a large plate of BBQ ribs with a large side of fries is good for me. Even worse, he has never told me that the calcium in the half a gallon (Yes, I mean a half of a gallon.) of ice cream that I would love to eat every night would help build my bones. Rarely, do I hear what I want to hear. Once I receive all the information, it belongs to me and I must choose whether I will heed it or ignore it. If I ignore it and the results are bad for me, the blame is on me.

The Apostle Paul writes about another type of examine in II Corinthians 13:5. His recommended examine is not of the physical kind but rather, of the spiritual kind. He wrote, “Test yourself to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you __ unless indeed you fail the test” (NASB)?

Paul doesn’t give specific tests to conduct but he does make clear that our examination should show evidence of the presence of Christ in our life. Rather, than giving a long list of things to observe, let me suggest three questions that would be helpful for you determine your spiritual welbeing. One, do you have an active prayer life or do you only pray when there is an emergency? Two, do you have a desire to know more about God’s Word or does it join the other coffee table books that you may have to decorate your table? Three, do you have a desire to be around others of like faith and to share in the fellowship of the body, the Church, or do you claim that you can do better going it alone? If your answer to these questions is never, rarely or only in times of great need, you may need to give more attention to your spiritual health, because God is clear that each one of these things is essential to the spiritual well-being of believers.

We can see these things prescribed plainly in God’s Word. I Thessalonians 5:17 reads, “pray without ceasing” (NASB). II Timothy 3:16 reads, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work ”(NASB). Hebrews 10:23-25 reads, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (NASB).

This brings us to the same point I find myself when I go for my annual physical. I am faced with a decision to heed the doctor’s directions or to ignore them. God has clearly given His directions and we face the choice of following them or ignoring them. To ignore them is to choose to go through life without the full spiritual vitality that He desires for us to have. One choice leads to frustration; the other leads to the fullness of life that God promises in His Word. The choice is ours.

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