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A Spiritual Check-Up

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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:

  1. 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

verses about spiritual growth

verses about maturing in Christ

Check-Up Posts:

What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman

Godly Femininity – Part 1

Godly Femininity – Part 2

SPIRITUAL HEALING AND GROWTH:

John Piper’s resources on sanctification 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

 

 

 

 

 

29 thoughts on “A Spiritual Check-Up

  1. Good morning, April!

    What a great way to start the morning, reading these encouraging ways to check our spirituality. We have just considered some of these passages in our Bible study group and realize what a valuable barometer they are of how healthy we are spiritually. I especially enjoyed your thought about spiritual energy and how a lack of it can signal a problem. While I tend to think of spiritual fruitage as a way to assess whether or not a particular sect of Christianity is really doing God’s will, the primary application of that test should be ourselves, of course. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Elizabeth,

      I’m glad this was a blessing. I know this could be a much longer post – or a book! Ha! But maybe it is a start. No matter what the diagnosis, more of Jesus and less of us is the RX! 🙂

    1. Hi April

      My name is Aliene Thompson and I am the founder of Treasured Ministries, the author of the Nourish Bible Study Series and the creator of the Nourish Bible Study Method.

      I wanted to see if I could interview you for a podcast I am doing on Ephesians 5:21- 6:9. I want to talk about what true submission to our husbands looks like and our motive for doing it (for Christ). I think there are a lot of wrong definitions out there of what it means to submit – and communicating the motive is so key in following this in our own life.

      A friend pointed me to your blog about three years ago and I have LOVED your messages. They have truly helped me in my own marriage and ultimately in my walk with Christ.

      At Treasured Ministries our Nourish Devotions are designed to help walk women through God’s Word to find truth. We are currently walking through the book of Ephesians talking about godly girl power. Godly girl power is different from worldly power – it is the inner strength of a woman led confidently by the Holy Spirit to walk in love and follow Christ no matter what her outward circumstances are.

      I could not think of anyone else I would rather have communicate the truth about submission than you! We could record the podcast over the phone so it would be easy enough. And we could also promote your book. What do you think?

      If you are interested or have any questions, please let me know. We could also talk on the phone.

      I am headed out of town next week and have ordered your book to read while away. I can’t wait!

      Thank you for ALL you do!

      Blessings

      Aliene Thompson
      Founder Treasured Ministries
      919.630.8519
      http://www.treasuredministries.com
      https://www.facebook.com/Treasured.Ministries/

      1. Aliene,

        It is wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for sharing about your ministry. It sounds amazing! I would love to do a podcast with you. Let me check with my publisher to see how they would like for us to set this up. I’m so excited to get to see all that God has in store for your ministry, your walk with Christ, and your marriage. 🙂

        I’m thrilled that God is allowing me to do this. It is a joy and an honor that He lets me have this little part in His work. There is nowhere else I would rather be.

        In Him,

        April

          1. Aliene,

            Such an honor that God allows me to share these things that He used to change my marriage. There is no greater joy for me than getting to see Him transform other lives, too. 🙂

            I’ll be in touch!

            Much love, my dear sister!

  2. I read your posts every morning, I especially like the “pulse” we ALL need reminding of our spiritual fruits it helps “ME” to humble myself & to be a Godly wife, since my situation is trying, I go to the Lord often!!..reading the Word, doing my morning devotions…..what I’m trying to say….. God has made me a better person & wife….Thank You………..ntp

    1. NTP,

      Your situation is VERY trying, my sweet friend! But – I’m so excited about what God is doing in you. 🙂 It is beautiful!!!!!!! Thank you for allowing me to walk with you on this road a bit.

      Much love, my dear sister!

  3. A great reminder! Many projects and our own view point can get so easily mixed up or messed up if we don’t give ourselves a check up and see how we’re doing in proportion to what God is asking of us.

    1. The FaithBook,

      Yes, we need spiritual checkups often. I know I definitely do! As soon as I notice negative feelings, I need to get to my journal and ask God to expose my motives and thoughts so I can get rid of any sin.

      Much love!

    1. kaanhi,

      Would you like to talk about what is going on? I’d be glad to walk beside you on this road and do my best to point you to the healing that is available for you in Jesus. 🙂

      Much love!

    2. Luke 15:3-7 shows Jesus’ thoughts about you when you have lost your way. He delights in you and cherishes you so much. He is actively drawing you back to Himself. His word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Perfect for when things are dark and confusing and muddled. Thank you for reaching out so bravely. He is ready and able to heal and set free and bring life and light and hope.

      Luke 15:3-7
      So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance

  4. April,

    Thank you so much for this post! It was a blessing to me this morning like all the others. Every morning, I look foward to reading a post from you before kicking off my day and its amazing how you know exactly what to post – what I need! Thank God! I praise God for you! You are a blessing in my life!

    1. Betty,

      Thanks so much for letting me know. God is awesome like that. He knows exactly what we need and when. I’m excited God allows me to be here and to share all of these treasures. I can’t keep them to myself! 🙂

      Much love!

  5. Love this!! I definitely need to check myself often.

    Hormones get me in big trouble and I really have to ask God to guide me through things when hormonal. I mean, I need His guidance always, but when hormonal it is like I am a different person. I get so negative and so down.

    Also, I know that when I am not hungry for God, it is because I am cherishing sin. They are polar opposites. I am either hungry for God or hungry to cherish my sin and engage in it more.

    I need to print this and pray about these things.

    Thanks, April!

    1. Lee Ann,

      Yes, hormones, being sick, being in pain, being super hungry, or exhausted – when the flesh is weak – that is when we need God’s power even more!

      Thank you for sharing how you are able to tell that you are cherishing sin. I have noticed the same exact thing. So glad this was a blessing!!

      Much love,
      April

  6. Wow this blog post is so good!!!

    It’s funny, I only found this blog a short while ago but I have been SO encouraged in my own spiritual journey. There’s a genuineness in the blog posts and so many of the comments after that draws me. I guess that’s part of being part of the body of Christ!

  7. I was reading on another site and this seem to fit with yours….suffering comes in all forms physically and spiritually: :Today on a ministry forum a precious pastor that understands suffering had the message “hold on” for everyone in our group. He quoted from: Revelation 2:25, 26: “But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (English Standard Version).

    Hold on–two simple words that gave me hope and comfort.

    Jesus knows our pain and says “hold on . . . until I come!”
    Jesus knows our loneliness and says “hold on . . . until I come!”
    Hold onto Jesus . . . “who overcomes.”
    Hold onto His “works until the end.”
    Hold onto His “power” that holds us when we are weakest.
    Hold on!……..this fits in with a “spiritually check-up” that we must constantly do…….ntp

  8. This post really spoke to me, as I am aware I need to be diligent every day with my relationship with Jesus. I am so thankful to have my marriage as a physical reminder of how to cultivate my spiritual marriage. I will re read this post when I need a check up!

    The thing that stood out to me regarding fruit is that the opposite of what you indicated is also true, April. James says that every good and perfect gift is from God. So any good fruit that we see in others ( or in ourselves!) is evidence that God is working! Obviously we don’t have access to the thought life of others, and we cannot necessarily measure their spiritual journey. But when we see good fruit, we know that God is doing it!

    As a result, He deserves the praise!

    1. TN,

      Love that. Yes! We can see God at work in other people’s lives and we can rejoice and be inspired by that – seeking to praise God for all that He has done and is doing. 🙂 WOOHOO!

  9. Thank you your this. It’s what I needed at just the right time. It has really been a struggle lately. I feel disconnected and alone. It has taken a toll on my spiritual life as well. I love your blog and your videos.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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