Elinor Magowan reviews one of her Christmas gifts and says taking our spiritual pulse is vital at any time of the year.
As a New Year begins, clothes’ shops are full of their sportswear ranges; men and women stand on street corners handing out flyers advertising discount gym membership and we make resolutions to adopt a healthier lifestyle and exercise more.
We want to ensure that – health-wise – we are doing as well as possible. Not only is this a personal commitment but it’s a big business!
I really enjoy teaching the children in our church as part of the Sunday School team. As a Christmas gift I was given a little book from our team leader entitled Spiritual Healthcheck – 16 steps to a thriving Christian Life by Carl Laferton. At the end of December, I began reading; the chapters are just a few pages and it formed part of my own Bible reading and prayer time each morning.
A Spiritual Spotlight
As I read, I meditated on the Bible passages and prayerfully answered the questions. It felt like I was in the doctor’s consulting room and the spotlight was shining on different areas of my own walk with the Lord. The overarching question to take my spiritual temperature was “Do I want to be more like my Saviour?”
Five diagnostic areas of God’s word revealed my heart desires - Do I really love Jesus? Am I thankful for the cross? Am I excited about the hope of heaven? How do I view the church, the bride of Christ, do I love God’s people? Am I pursuing godliness?
Answering such basic questions was refreshing but also humbling. Yes, I do love Jesus, but I want my love to be stronger and deeper! Where would I be without the Lord, his perfect life, sacrificial death and life changing resurrection?
Reading helped me to have the appetite and determination to be more disciplined, take my vitamins and eat life-giving spiritual food. Laferton identifies the vitamins we all need to be healthy Christians - Bible reading, prayer, the Lord’s supper, the church to which we belong, an appreciation of God’s creation and suffering, as well as God’s divine gift to keep us trusting Him.
Growing in our spiritual health isn’t a mechanical impersonal process, rather it is a dynamic personal relationship with our precious Saviour. As I “take” these vitamins I meet with the Lord Jesus himself in His word and am helped by the work of the Holy Spirit to grow as a believer. We are in a battle and we belong to the church to be encouraged to persevere as we learn, work and serve together.
This year, I don’t want to be someone who neglects my spiritual health. Looking in the mirror shows me how I am doing in the fitness game! My relationship with the Lord isn’t an earthly pursuit, its vital and life-giving now and eternally. Spiritually, God’s word gives us that mirror. We see ourselves, our need and, thankfully, we see Jesus, our Saviour.
As I look in the spiritual mirror at the end of 2019. Will I look more like Jesus, will I love Him and His people more deeply? Will you?