Today we finish the spiritual examination that we began yesterday. Like a physical exam, this check-up may be a little uncomfortable because you’ll feel the pressure of some probing questions, as well as the pain of some areas or subjects about which you do not like to think. Keep in mind that honesty is crucial for a complete exam, and do not forget that Jesus Christ is the Great Physician who seeks to heal not harm.
In yesterday’s post we had our vitals checked. Today, we begin with a brain scan!
What’s on your Mind?
What do you spend most of your time thinking about? What do your thoughts dwell on? Listen to what Paul said in Romans 8:6-7b:
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
Having a carnal mind is simply following your sinful nature as opposed to your saved nature. In which category do your thoughts fall, carnal or spiritual?
As part of this brain scan, there are two multiple-choice questions that we need to answer. Here’s the first one:
How would you describe your understanding of the Bible?
(Which phrase(s) best sums up your ability to understand the Bible.)
- Bible? What’s a Bible?
- I can’t ever find anything I need when I need it!
- I’m OK with the NT, but the OT is like a foreign film with subtitles.
- I’m beginning to understand it.
- I’m a Biblical genius- next stop is memorization of Leviticus!
How would you describe your ability to fight off temptation?
(Which phrase(s) best describes your approach.)
- Hot dog! This looks like fun!
- Honk if you love Jesus.
- Get out of Dodge.
- Get with people who are spiritually stronger than me.
Which phrase best described your reactions to temptation?
A Look at Your Tongue
The Bible teaches that you will know a person’s character by their speech. So what does your speech, and I’m not talking about your grammar, say about you? Are you like the fool in Proverbs who talks with a perverse mouth, a lying and deceitful tongue, who pours forth foolishness from his mouth? The speech of spiritually health people will sound like, as Paul put it in Ephesians 4:29 & Colossians 4:6:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers…
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Does your speech uplift people, or tear them down? Do you spread gossip or put a stop to it? Do you tell the truth, or do people have to doubt the reliability of everything you say?
You should never underestimate the power of a soft answer and an encouraging word. My former pastor told me a story about a 4th grade class in a small-town that was having a hard time with their Math lesson one day. Everyone was starting to get on each other’s nerves, so the teacher told the class to put their Math books away and to get out one sheet of paper and a pencil. On the paper they were to write only their name and nothing else. Then they were told to pass their paper to the student next to them who was then to write down something nice about that person. When it was all said and done each kid in the class had a sheet full of compliments and the tension and anxiety of just a few minutes earlier was all gone. But that’s not the end of the story. Several years later a boy from that class died in Vietnam. His 4th grade teacher attended the funeral, along with many of his ex-classmates. After the funeral, the deceased’s parents pulled the teacher aside, showed her the piece of paper from that day many years ago and said, “This was found in one of our son’s pockets when he died.”
Come to find out, many former students still had their papers. Some had them in their hope chest, others in their desk drawer. They all said that when they were depressed, discouraged, or stressed out, they pull out that sheet of paper, and remembered the day years ago when their 4th grade teacher taught them the power of an encouraging word.
Whether or not that story is true I’m not entirely sure, but it does illustrate the very real effects of kind words. What are your words saying to your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even the strangers you meet? Does your speech reflect Satan or does it reflect the Lord?
Eyes, Ears, Hands and Feet
Do you have a vision for how God might use you? What are the blind spots in your life that seem to keep getting you in trouble? One of my favorite choruses of all time is Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, and my favorite hymn is Be Thou My Vision. That is exactly what those who would be spiritually healthy must do. We must keep our eyes, our attention, and our desires, all that we are, turned to and focused on Jesus Christ. When we do that, as the songwriter says, the “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you, or are other voices and sounds drowning out what God wants you to hear? Do you know what Psalm 46:10 says? It says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We need to be still, waiting on and listening to our God.
Are your hands involved in the work of the Lord? We all need to have our sleeves rolled up and be elbow deep in service to Christ through His church. Are you involved in the Lord’s work, or are you just sitting on your hands?
Paul said in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” What path are you walking? Whose footsteps are you following?
The spiritual check-up is finished. What is your diagnosis?