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5 questions to assess your spiritual health

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The Greek philosopher Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” With that insight in mind, here are five questions that can help you assess your spiritual health. 

1. Am I self-righteous, or is my righteousness rooted in Christ alone?

Man by nature is self-righteous. That is, man assumes he can make himself righteous in God’s sight by performing good deeds and religious works. Are you attempting to gain entrance into Heaven as a result of your personal righteousness? If so, then you are currently choosing to be self-righteous.

On the other hand, if you recognize the fact that “no one is justified before God by the law,” (Galatians 3:11) and “all who rely on observing the law are under a curse,” (Galatians 3:10) then simply receive “the righteousness from God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).

Trusting in Christ alone for salvation is the only way to become righteous in God’s sight and enter Heaven when you die. God covers your soul with the righteousness of Christ on the front end of your relationship with the Savior. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). 

2. Am I intentionally sinning with my thoughts, words or deeds?

Once a person is saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ, (Ephesians 2:8,9) it is important to resist anything that would offend the Holy Spirit who now lives within you. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

Intentional sins are even more damaging to a believer’s spiritual health than hasty sins, which are sins committed without premeditation. Deliberate sins completely interrupt a believer's fellowship with the Lord. In fact, some of the most miserable people on the planet are Christians who deliberately go against God’s Word and against their conscience.

“The grace of God that brings salvation ... teaches us to say ’No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Saying “No” to sinful thoughts and desires is something followers of Christ are called to do every hour of the day. And when we do so, it is amazing how the Holy Spirit continues to produce good fruit in our heart, soul and mind (Galatians 5:22,23).

3. Am I judging others and holding grudges, or am I kind and forgiving?

It is impossible to live a Spirit-filled life while judging others and holding grudges. In fact, such unrepentant behavior prevents many people from being saved in the first place. Scripture declares: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things” (Romans 2:1).

The result of judging others is devastating. “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5). In other words, those who persistently refuse to forgive others will not be forgiven by God for their own sins. 

The Holy Spirit leads believers to be kind and forgiving, whereas man’s sinful nature produces grudges, hatred and a refusal to forgive others (Galatians 5:19-20). There is no spiritual health, but only eternal death, for those who persist in looking down on others (judging) and holding grudges. Jesus said, “But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:3).

4. Does my soul hunger for God’s Word, prayer and fellowship with other believers?

Healthy babies crave food, and healthy Christians crave God’s Word. “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 2:2,3).

And of course, God wants his children to grow far beyond spiritual infancy. The Apostle Paul characterized the believers in Corinth as “mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3).  

Likewise, Hebrews 5:12-13 addresses those who are not maturing in their faith. “You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

After the Holy Spirit came on the believers in power on the Day of Pentecost, the believers experienced tremendous spiritual health. In addition to being empowered to proclaim the Gospel, they were also highly motivated to do the following things: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:41).

5. Am I serving others, or only looking out for my own interests?

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

The Holy Spirit equips God’s children with spiritual gifts that are given to build up the body of Christ. Therefore, “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

These five questions remind us that God calls his children to walk in spiritual health and holiness. God’s grace enables us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), as we “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) rather than giving into “the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

And “since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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