Dec 262015 3 Responses

Spiritual Check-up: 10 Questions for a New Year

Anytime I speak with someone who has a struggle in life–a marriage which isn’t thriving, difficulty at work, personal depression–I ask them a question: when was the last time you had a physical?

While physical problems are not always the root of every issue of life, the first thing I have to rule out is a physical issue which is contributing to marital, work, or personal problems.

Everyone needs a personal physician and they need to regularly see that physician even when they feel fine. A good examination can see small problems or habits which, left unchecked, can create major problems.

In the same way we need a regular physical check-up, we need a regular spiritual check-up.

Paul tells the church at Corinth, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” (2 Corinthians 13.5)

When it comes to faith, we love a good test. We have all created a thousand tests of faith and then promptly judged other people as not meeting the test. But Paul doesn’t tell us to test the faith of others. He tells us to test our own faith. We are called to examine ourselves.

The text doesn’t tell us how. There is no clear formula for how we are to examine our own lives. But we know we are supposed to do.

As part of a physical, doctors often ask their patients a series of questions to gauge their physical health. Just as flossing influences dental health and exercise drives physical health, there are a series of habits, actions, and thought-patterns which influence our spiritual lives.

Here are 10 questions which form a spiritual check-up:

1. Do you have a growing awareness of God’s presence in your life? As we mature in our faith, we become more aware of God’s activity in our lives and around the world.

2. Are you increasingly aware of your own sin? Maturity might cause us to sin less (that’s a big might), but it clearly makes us more aware of our sin which gives us more appreciation for God’s grace.

3. Is there something in God’s Word you are struggling to understand? This implies you are reading the Bible and that you are reading it in a personal way.

4. Are you pursuing God’s plan for your life and how you fit into God’s global purpose? God is at work around the world, but He is also active in individual hearts. He made each person with specific skills, experiences, and gifts in order to use them to accomplish His global purpose.

5. Are you growing in love for those who have been difficult for you to love? Few things characterize spiritual maturity like a growth in our ability to love others, specifically those who are difficult to love.

6. Is there a discipline to your spiritual growth? We do not earn God’s love, but in response to His love, we do seek to become like Him. Without a plan, little growth will take place.

7. Are you actively involved in a local church? One can be a Christian and not go to church, but it is not possible to obey God’s commands apart from the church. The local church is part of God’s plan. To follow Him, we must associate with others.

8. Is your lifestyle noticeably different from your peers who do not know Jesus? Obedience to God causes us to make different choices than if we simply lived for ourselves. We should serve more, care more, and give more than others. This should distinguish us from those who do not believe.

9. Is your relationship with God a source of great delight? The end result of faith is not judgment, prudishness, or gloom. Faith produces delight. The Gospel is good news and it should be a source of great joy for us.

10. Do you live in an increasing gratitude because of what God has done for you? Gratitude is a natural byproduct of faith. The more we understand what God has done, the greater our feeling of gratitude toward Him grows.

None of these questions are the ultimate test of faith. Each is a feeble attempt to consider what faith looks like in our lives. When I think of each question, I don’t think in terms of yes/no as much as I think in terms of direction. Am I headed in a positive or negative direction on each issue?

These questions are not meant to produce guilt, but are designed to allow us to reflect on our lives and pursue after God.

What would be a question you would add?

3 Responses to Spiritual Check-up: 10 Questions for a New Year
  1. […] The good news–there has never been a time in which the average person could so easily understa... kevinathompson.com/how-to-understand-the-bible
  2. […] “I have faith,” someone says. But is that faith built on Jesus? Is it aligned with his t... kevinathompson.com/christianity-isnt-christian

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