A SPIRITUAL CHECK-UP
“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.”
I went to the doctor for a physical exam yesterday. So what did they look for when they examined me? The usual stuff - they took my temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, they listened to my breathing to make sure my airway wasn't restricted. The nurse wheeled in a cart and got a baseline ECG. And of course, they did all the usual poking and prodding and peeking in uncomfortable places.
That was a physical exam. God suggests a different kind of exam. He says to examine our WAYS . . . meaning our DO's. So how does a person do that? Here is a checklist:
LOOK FOR SIGNS OF LIFE
Worship - Is it something you come to once a week or is it part of your daily lifestyle? Does it seem that God “inhabits your praises”?
Discipleship - Are you ingesting God’s Word? Is your world-view being converted? Is your character becoming more like Jesus’?
Ministry - Is the “cause of Christ” becoming your cause? Do you see God’s purpose in your “day job”?
Fellowship - Are you a friend of God? Are you a friend of God’s friends?
CHECK YOUR SPIRITUAL TEMPERATURE
How is your supply of love, joy and peace? Are your patience, kindness and goodness increasing? Can others see your faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?
CHECK YOUR BREATHING
Your relationship with the Holy Spirit - Have you been born again? Are you familiar with the Spirit’s “still small voice”? Do you trust Him? Do you follow Him?
There, we examined our ways. Done! Oh, that's not all? You're right, the text says: “Let us examine our ways AND TEST THEM . . .”
Rats! Don't you just hate it when you have to take a test? But like them or not, tests are important for several reasons: first to see if you are learning the important things you need to know and second, to accurately assess your progress and achievement. . . to measure it by an objective standard. How you do on the test can affirm your strengths and reveal your weaknesses. Testing helps you see if adjustments are required and, if so, what adjustments are needed. A time of testing also provides a point for a new start.
Our physicians expect us to come in for annual physical exams and teachers test their students even more often than that . . . so “Let's examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” The truth is that you’re probably not as spiritually healthy as you could be but, on the other hand, you are probably making more progress than you think you are. So be encouraged by the signs of growth . . . it means you’re alive in Christ! And never be afraid to run to Jesus, the Great Physician, and get checked out.
--- Pastor Keith Andrews