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):
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.