Jesus instructed us to examine the fruit in our lives to determine our spiritual health. What we think we believe doesn’t necessary translate into fruit. Sometimes we think we believe God and His Word, but our lives reveal what is really in our hearts and what we really want and depend on. Sometimes it is not Jesus. The results in our lives (our thoughts, motives, words, and actions) show our true spiritual condition.
If you are up for it, let’s have a spiritual check-up today – be sure you have time to prayerfully consider each item and to allow God’s Spirit to penetrate your heart:
- Your Appetite:
How is your spiritual appetite? When someone has a physical appetite, that is a sign of health. Having a very poor appetite for food is a sign that someone is sick. If a person has zero appetite at all, they are VERY sick. Of course, dead people have no appetite. They never want to eat food no matter how tantalizing a dinner may be.
Our spiritual appetite is a good barometer of our spiritual health in a lot of ways, too. If I am healthy and growing spiritually, I will have a hunger and desire for God, the things of God, the people of God, the Word of God, worship, praise, and prayer. If those things seem tedious to me or I can’t focus on them or don’t have any desire for these spiritual things, it means I need to ask God to help me see what is causing a spiritual sickness in me (that is usually sin and/or unbiblical thinking), or I need to ask God if I have new life in Christ or not. It is also possible I am just too busy and haven’t taken the time I need to spend with God to be renewed and restored in His presence if I am not craving God and heavenly things.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:1-3
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalm 14:2
2. Your Energy Level:
A healthy physical body has energy to do things we want to do. We will enjoy going for a walk or playing ball with the kids. We can pick up bags of groceries and take them to the kitchen from the car. We can walk up and down the stairs with a laundry basket. We can go to the zoo and walk for miles. A body that is unwell may not have much energy. A very low energy level is a sign that something is wrong. Perhaps someone has low iron levels, or has the flu with the malaise that comes with it. Maybe someone has chronic fatigue syndrome. heart problems, or low thyroid levels. When someone doesn’t have the energy to walk across the room, something is physically wrong that needs to be addressed so that the person can be restored to health.
A healthy spirit has energy to do the things God desires us to do and we want to do the things God desires us to do. When I am filled to overflowing with God’s Spirit, doing His will is energizing, fulfilling, and empowering. I enjoy being in the very center of His will and am ready and able to offer myself fully to Him. I am not working in my own strength but in God’s strength. If I feel overwhelmed, exhausted, have lost my joy, or feel like I am doing things for God out of duty rather than out of thanksgiving and love, if I feel very burdened instead of light and renewed, I may be trying to do the Christian life in my own power. That is not going to work! (Or I may need some physical nourishment, care, or rest, as well.)
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit… Ephesians 5:18
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
3. Your Fruit
Someone with a healthy body is able to be productive. Her life produces fruit. Physically, I may have the fruit of being able to go to work and earn a paycheck or being able to have a baby and raise and nurture the baby. I may develop friendships, interests, or hobbies. I might make beautiful crafts or cook delicious meals for others to enjoy. Or maybe I will decide to hit other people, bully them, and hurt them. I might destroy the beautiful things other people create. I will do things with my time, health, talents, and abilities that contribute to the world in some way – whether it is good or bad. It may be even easier to think about “fruit” in terms of fruit trees.
Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:17-19
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. Matthew 12:35
Spiritually, we produce good or bad fruit, as well. Whatever is empowering my life and whatever is flowing through me produces results in my life. In Galatians 5, we see the fruit of the sinful nature VS. the fruit of the Spirit of God – those are my two “fuel” options. One of these things empowers my life. This is a very good passage to use for self-evaluations from time to time to see, is the fruit in my life sinful or is it godly? If it is sinful, I need to turn away from my sin, all of it, and turn fully to Christ and yield to Him as LORD of all in my life.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16-24
So, I would suggest really meditating on each of the things in the flesh list and each of the things in the Spirit list. There are additional things not in this particular list – like bitterness, lust, pride, disrespect, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, resentment, unwholesome thinking/speaking, lying, stealing, etc… Ask God to help you see which things you are displaying in your relationships at home, at work, at church, with family, with neighbors. If you have ANY of the things in the flesh list, that is a problem. It is time to repent of that and yield to Christ. When we have the Spirit, all of the fruit of the Spirit should be growing in my life by His power working in me. This should be my character more and more. I should be responding like this even when others sin against me or the flesh is weak because I am fully yielded to Christ and have invited His Spirit to have control..
If God’s Spirit is in charge of me, I will love God with all my heart and I will love others with God’s love. There is a great check-up passage for this in I Corinthians 13:4-8.
4. Your Pulse
When a person is healthy, he has a strong, steady pulse that runs in a particular rhythm and rate. If someone’s pulse is weak or gets off rhythm, that is a sign that there is something very wrong with his heart that must be addressed quickly.
I picture our spiritual pulse as being our self-talk, our inner dialogue, our thought-life. When our self-talk is healthy and godly, we immediately notice any rhythm that is off, any thought that is sinful or from the enemy and we shoot it down so that we can get back into the proper godly rhythm. We take every thought captive for Christ. If our thoughts go astray and we are getting mired down in sinful thoughts, we grow weaker and weaker spiritually – exactly like a runner if her heart rate isn’t right and it speeds up way too much or goes down too far. She will faint eventually and not be able to keep running. It’s important to kick out those stray rhythms that are not of God so that our spiritual pulse stays strong and healthy.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Other Great Spiritual Check-Up Passages:
Philippians 4:4-8 – our thought lives
Matthew 5-7 – the Sermon on the Mount
John 14-15 – loving God and abiding in Christ
Ephesians 6:10-17 – preparing for spiritual battle
Romans 12 – living in Christ and how to treat those who mistreat me
Romans 8 – my identity in Christ
the whole book of 1 John – what it means to love God and to love people
the whole book of James – counting trials as joy, being careful with our words, watching our motives, handling anger, praying for others
SPIRITUAL HEALING AND GROWTH:
David Platt’s resources on spiritual growth
Andrew Murray’s book Absolute Surrender – free download
E. M. Bounds The Necessity of Prayer – free download