The Most Important Health Check Up

 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”

~ Galatians 5:16, 22-23

How’s your spiritual health?  Have you ever considered it before?  This seems like an obvious question with an obvious answer.  You may have grown up in a church, read your Bible before, prayed to God, or thought good thoughts about Jesus, but it’s possible that you’ve never considered your spiritual health to ask if your spirit is healthy.

If you’re in a Life Group at Life’s Journey Christian Fellowship, then you’ve been thinking about this.  The Life Groups have started the study “Transformed” by Pastor Rick Warren and it starts by pointing us to spiritual health.

Just as your body can be unhealthy, so can your spirit.  Just as you can spot symptoms of an unhealthy body, you can spot symptoms of an unhealthy spirit.  You can even see the results as a spirit gets healthy.

The progress of discipleship is the progression of your spiritual health.  The mark of a healthy spirit is how much it looks like Jesus.  Your physical actions are motivated by your spiritual desires (Luke 6:43-45).  A healthy spirit activates the mind and body to do Jesus-like action.   Although you will make healthy spiritual progress as you follow Jesus, you might not notice spiritual progression over days or weeks, but you will be able to notice good changes over the years.

Here are some indicators of spiritual health (Galatians 5:22-23):

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Would someone else be able to say that they’ve seen you grow in one or many of these spiritual qualities?  You may not feel patient, yet a friend might honestly say that you are more patient today than you were two years ago.  That’s a sign of health.  You may think you haven’t grown much over a year, yet you’ve noticed you have more self-control over a reoccurring temptation today than you did last year.  That’s spiritual progress in the positive direction.  God says that these qualities are fruit of the Spirit; qualities produced by healthy spiritual habits.

Just as physical health is weakened by certain activity (or lack of activity), spiritual health is produced in similar ways.  If you sit for long hours of the week and never stretch or do minimal exercise, you’ll soon notice that your body doesn’t move the way it used to.  Your muscles are weaker, and your endurance is less.  If your diet consists of more sweets and snacks than foods rich with vitamins and minerals, you’ll soon notice an undesired increase in your body – whether it be weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, or shortened breathe.  Physical health requires intentional action.  Spiritual health requires intentional action too.

Qualities of spiritual health come from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Contact with the Holy Spirit comes from friendship with the Son of God (John 14:15-26).  Relationship with the Son gives you access to God the Father (John 14:26).  Jesus taught that you cannot have access to the Spirit without first forming a relationship with himself.   Likewise, Jesus taught that a person may have friendship with God the Father if they first form a friendship with himself.  The path way to both the Spirit and the Father is Jesus the Son.

The question of your spiritual health can be simplified down to this question: How’s your friendship with Jesus?

You may not feel like you are good enough to be his friend, but Jesus extends his friendship to you (John 3:16).  He did not come to save and befriend the perfect, he came to save sinners – even the worst of the worst (1 Timothy 1:15).  Jesus came to be your friend and when you believe in him and follow him, you become his friend (John 15:15; James 2:23).  You may not think that you can talk to God because of who you are or what you’ve done, but because of Jesus you now have access straight into the mighty throne room of God – you get to visit the king of the universe whenever you please (Hebrews 10:19-25).

To become spiritually healthy, you must start with Jesus.  Spend time with Jesus each day.  Think about him, read about him and read about God in the Bible.  Talk to him like you would a friend.  Pray to God like he is listening (because he is!).  Share with him your joys and struggles.  Ask for his help and wisdom.  Learn from him.  Not only does this make your spirit healthy, but a healthy spirit is the best foundation to all other healthy habits in life.

How’s your spiritual health?  How good a friend are you with Jesus?  If you think there’s room for improvement, then today is the best day to start in a positive direction.

RightNow Media – Right Now!

Life’s Journey wants to provide you with resources to help you grow in Jesus through out the week.

We are excited to continue offering free access to RightNow Media to every member of the Life’s Journey family.  If you consider Life’s Journey your home church or you come here often, then creating your own personal online account is as easy as clicking the link below. And it’s free for you!

SignUp for RightNow Media through LJCF

With a personal RightNow Media membership, you’ll have access to hundreds of high quality steaming video of Christian teaching from the most popular and effective Christian leaders around.  You can connect through computer, your mobile device, or many streaming media services you’re already using at home.  Watch streams from past Christian teaching conferences, or be encouraged with focused topics like marriage, parenting, finances, building your faith, or even walk through a book of the Bible with a seasoned Bible teacher.

Your access also brings hundreds of kids video and cartoons designed to encourage kids in the love and truth of Jesus. Every thing on the RightNow Media Kids channel is parent and pastor approved! See classic Christian cartoons like Veggie Tales and Adventures in Odyssey plus discover many more favorites.

Check out the trailers below to see what you’re missing.  You won’t be disappointed.  Signup today and start using this life growing service.

For Adults

 

For Kids (and the kids at heart)

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Sing Along in Hope

When you see news reports about devastating events happening around the world, how can you not cry out for help?  Why does it happen?  Why does evil continue?  There are many answers offered to these questions.  We seek answers because we all ask the same question.  Why?

When asked what he thought was the greatest commandment of God, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV)

The question, “What is the greatest commandment?” is really a question of “How can the world be perfect?”  When God gives a command, it is never to oppress humanity.  The Bible presents God as a loving, caring Father only wanting what is best for the people he created.  God gaves us rules because sin entered the world (through people’s own choice!) turning every person’s heart inward and downward instead of outward and upward.  The rules He gave were meant to remind us that evil exists and must be avoided, but also to give us boundaries to keep us safe from the clear and hidden dangers present in the world.  The fact that each one of us breaks these rules is meant to teach us that we are in need of a Savior.

Why do bad things happen?  Because the person who committed the evil stopped pursuing a love for God and a love for neighbor.  Lest you think only certain people stop loving others, personal experience is clear that we all do it to some extent or another.  Not everyone will sink to the depths of hatred, but we all will experience a spark of hatred against our God and our neighbor from time to time.  If we aren’t watchful, that spark will turn into a blaze destroying our soul and blinding us to the love of God made free to us through the work of Jesus Christ.

The Way of Jesus is the way out of sin and hatred.  The way to combat evil in the world is to intentionally pursue the Way of Life as lived and exemplified by Jesus.

Where else would you turn?  What is lacking in Jesus’ teaching?  Jesus taught to love your neighbor as yourself.  He acted in love toward his enemy even as his enemy nailed him to the cross.  He showed his audience that seeking God is a good thing with good results; not a blind religion of self-hatred and exclusion.  Do followers of Jesus get this wrong?  Yes!  But does a Christian’s mistake prove Jesus wrong? No!  Jesus expected that each one of us is a work in progress.  He accepted everyone without reservation, he loved unconditionally, and forgiveness is free for the asking.  Each of us is a work in progress.  Jesus is calling anyone who will listen to start the progress by joining him in walking the Way; His way.

As you encounter evil in your community, remember Jesus.  As you cry out in sadness, also rejoice in praise for the great God we have.  He has not abandoned nor will he forsake those who trust in him.  Do you want war to end?  Follow Jesus.  Do you want love to reign?  Follow Jesus.  Do you want crime to cease?  Follow Jesus.  If everyone were intentionally following Jesus and trusting in God, the world would immediately be a better, more loving, and safer place.  Whenever anyone fails to love God and their neighbor (and we all do it) is when evil spills out.

It’s your choice.  You want to stop evil from ruining your life?  Then start walking in the Way of Jesus.  You want your neighbor to change direction?  Then start loving them as Jesus loves them.  Be involved, be intentional, be resolved to learn how to love God and love others as Jesus did.  Don’t cry out in despair, rather look to Jesus and sing along in hope!