I recently read an article about how people avoid going to the doctor. They do that because they afraid they’ll get bad news. Hello! Is it somehow better that you don’t know your health is bad or at risk? Do you think if you don’t know…it doesn’t count, it’ll go away? Your arteries will unclog themselves? The cancer will just disappear? The heart irregularities will just stop?
The reason we go to a doctor is for a Check Up. It’s so we can know how we are doing. We go to the doctor and he/she checks our temperature, weight, heart beat, breathing, blood pressure. All these are essential indicators of how we are doing physically
But, as important as it is to monitor our physical well-being, it is infinitely more important to monitor our spiritual well-being. Yet so many people never give their spiritual well-being a second thought. So by far the most important question about you is...What is your spiritual well-being? What is the state of your soul?
Let’s do a little personal Check UP on 4 Spiritual Indicators that are based on the early Christian church.
Acts 2:42 says "They [the early church] devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
1. The Apostles' Teaching (Reading Scripture)
When somebody is alive to God, they love the wisdom of the Bible. They love the comfort of it. They want the words of it to get so embedded in their minds, that when they're in trouble…they learn to think: “The Lord is my shepherd “(Psalm 23). When they wake up they think: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in this day” (Psalm 118:24)
Something is always going to be running through your mind. It happens automatically; we are constituted that way if it's not the thoughts and teaching of the Bible. What will it be? Where are you on this key indicator? Do you actually have a plan for regularly reading the Bible? And are you carrying that plan out? Do you meditate regularly on it?
2. Fellowship (Relationships)
The question for us here is, is God transforming my relationships? Am I seeking reconciliation where I should? Am I growing in showing grace toward others? Am I practicing the art of “speaking the truth in love”? Or am I doing conflict avoidance, superficial relationships? When the Holy Spirit came He ushered the human race into a whole different way of doing relationship, a whole different way of doing Community. One of Jesus' most famous teachings about relationships is so brief and so brilliant it became known as the Golden Rule . Jesus said “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 7:12. How are you doing in this area?
3. The Breaking of Bread (Hospitality/Sharing Life)
Here the question is: am I sharing my life with others? In the Acts 2 church, this was a radically different way of doing life from other people around them. Breaking of bread refers to the sharing of meals, sharing of hospitality. In the ancient world, generally people took care of themselves and their families. But in the Acts 2 Church something radical happened; the Holy Spirit got ahold of people and began to prompt them to treat strangers like their family. People who had homes would open them up, share their food. They wanted to know their spiritual gifts and how to you them for the benefit of others. People in the Acts 2 church lived like God was everywhere. God's love and care and power had become the foundation for their lives. So they lived and loved differently. Are you sharing your life with others?
4. Prayer (Communicating with God)
The question here is: am I continually communicating with God? Even on a human level, the healthier a relationship, the more intimate a relationship, the more you communicate. In the Acts 2 church, people were devoted to prayer, which means they were devoted to having a continual, interactive, participative engagement with God. That's how we receive grace. That's how we live by grace. In the Acts 2 Church, people prayed when they were together. They prayed when they were on their own. They prayed to start the day. They prayed to end the day.
Why did they devote themselves to prayer? They were convinced that they were not in of control the Universe, but they knew who was! They were convinced…unlike people in our day, that self-sufficiency and self-reliance are not a good life strategy. They were convinced that God exists, God responds, God listens, God is able, God cares. People who are alive spiritually have a conviction that the greatest intimacy with God, comes uniquely through communicating with Him. It comes through Prayer. Are you continually communicating with God?
Hopefully this is a helpful checkup, but remember we don't have the power to change on our own. This is not a self-improvement deal. We can’t do this on our own. Jesus will help us. He is the one who started that church way back in Acts 2 and he is the one who sustains the church today. He’s the one who is at work in you and me. Ask him to help you take actions that will lead to spiritual health.
To hear the sermon that this blog is based on, visit deercreekchurch.com/sermons and click on Your Spiritual Health.
Visit an upcoming Sunday at 9:00 or 10:45 AM. More info at deercreekchurch.com/visit/