A few weeks ago, I went to the doctor for a check-up. They did all the things that doctors do at check-ups: inspecting, testing, probing, taking vitals, and all the while seeking to answer my implied question by coming, “am I healthy”? Health is not merely having good blood pressure and a recommended BMI, but the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Here’s the thing about check-ups – it’s not recommended to schedule one every single week. Ironically, it isn’t emotionally healthy to get formal physical examinations all the time. Yet at the same time, it’s not recommended to go 10 years without going to the doctor for a check-up. The former leads to obsession, the latter to neglect. It seems that for the average person, a full body check-up once a year is a reasonably good idea.
With that said, how often should we do a spiritual check-up? Just like the physical check-ups, I don’t think it’s spiritually healthy to obsess about it all the time which would lead to a type of self-absorbed, morbid introspection. Yet on the other hand, like never seeing a doctor for years, many Christians neglect a healthy spiritual check-up where they inspect, test, probe and seek to answer the question, “am I healthy?”
I can’t tell you how exactly often this is needed, but I suppose Holy Week is as good a time as any to do a check-up. So let’s make the appointment….right now!
In the 18th century, John and Charles Wesley wanted to help people determine their spiritual health in a time when virtually everyone in England was a churchgoer. They wanted to distinguish between, does this person just go to church or is this person truly converted? While only God knows the heart, we are told by the apostle Paul to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Cor 3:15), and so they provided this list of questions to the leaders of societies that met in people’s homes:
How real has God been to your heart this week? How clear and vivid is your assurance and certainty of God’s forgiveness and fatherly love?
Are you having any particular seasons of delight in God? Do you really sense his presence in your life, sense him giving you his love?
Have you been finding Scripture to be alive and active?
Are you finding certain biblical promises extremely precious and encouraging? Which ones?
Are you finding that God is challenging you or calling you to something through the Word? In what ways?
Have you been freed to see and admit more of the ways you sin against God and others? But with that increasing sense of your own sinfulness, is God’s grace also becoming more glorious, moving, and comforting?
This weekend, we remember and commemorate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Christ, his death in the flesh is our death to sin, and his bodily resurrection is our resurrection into a new spiritual life, where we are made alive and become citizens of an eternal kingdom, embarking upon kingdom work.
Holy Week is as good a week as ever to ask, “am I spiritually healthy”? If the results of this spiritual check-up raises concerns, then just like we would do with our physical bodies, it is worth pursuing further to understand what is going on. With our physical health, we involve specialists and surgeons, and with our spiritual health, we involve a church community and pastors and elders to help diagnose, address, and treat the infirmities.
All in all, we trust in the sovereign, resurrected King to use all the means of grace available to give us assurance in the promise that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:16).