Maintain Your Spiritual Health
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:12-16)
Becoming healthy and then maintaining that good health is a daily process. It requires a bit of work but once started, it becomes a good habit that soon turns into a normal way of life. We’ve all started “that” diet in order to become healthy. Perhaps you’ve noticed a few extra pounds creep up and your clothes are a little tight. Or maybe it’s becoming a bit harder to move as easily as you once did. Or maybe you’ve come upon some health issues that require you to take a closer look at your daily habits of eating and exercise and find where you need to make some changes. Whatever the case, good health is important to have and maintain.
The same goes for a good spiritual health. Where you once ate the proper nourishment (reading the Bible) and worked at applying what you read (exercising), you now find yourself falling back and becoming spiritually flabby. Where you used to forgive easily, you find yourself holding on a bit tighter to hurtful words or actions by others. Where you once had patience with others, you now find yourself flying off the handle here and there. Or where you once spent time praying and reading the Word, you find yourself slacking off and surfing the net more and spending more time on social media than spending quiet time with God. I think we all can raise our hands to this. For some it’s busyness, for others it’s laziness. Yet there is another category we can identify with and it’s called complacency.
Complacency is a self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. A good picture I saw was of a man sitting in a rocking chair on the railroad tracks while reading the newspaper. He is ok with it though there is danger that will be coming his way. He is comfortable and enjoying his newspaper but sitting in the path of possible oncoming danger…a train! Don’t we do this? We go about our day to day lives, aware of the world around us, but so comfortable with our lives that we fail to see the danger that could come at any time as we bury our heads in our newspapers, social media, our jobs, our families, our homes, material possessions, etc. Being complacent places us in greater danger, covering our eyes from the truth, and allowing us to be deceived.
When we replace our spiritual diet with a worldly diet, we eventually become spiritually sick, blind and deaf because we suffer from the side effects of the unhealthy things we are consuming. The side effects are anger, fear, anxiety, laziness, depression, unforgiveness, pride, addictions, jealousy, covetousness, etc. When we fail to focus on the heavenly things and instead focus on worldly things, we can become spiritually unhealthy and therefore become comfortable in our situations and everything that is going on around us. Instead of having a heart of concern and prayer, we become glad that things are good for us or that it’s happening somewhere else. Where we once sought God on a daily basis, we seek social media, tv, food, people, etc. The problem is that we fail to see that this is what the enemy is using to remove our focus on the danger that is coming and instead puts it on more pleasing things or can even distract us with ill health.
How does one go from being spiritually healthy to spiritually flabby and sick so easily? Preatty easy, really…it’s the same in the spiritual as it is in the physical. When we choose to take care of our bodies, we choose the right foods and to exercise. Though we allow ourselves a treat once in a while, it is in moderation to the point that it does not affect our health because we eat so little of it. But when we allow ourselves a little of this, a little of that and do a little more eating outside the box of what we normally eat and then we slack off on the exercising, eventually the side effects will begin to show up. Things like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and sugar may go up. Different parts of your body may hurt from the extra pressure of the weight gain. You begin to feel sluggish and want to sleep more. The same is true spiritually. When we start to allow ourselves to slack off on maintaining our self spiritually, we can experience the side effects both emotionally and spiritually. We become more irritable, unforgiving, angry, bitter, lazy, sluggish and fatigued, jealous, prideful, etc. We begin to see situations through our emotions instead of through spiritual eyes. We verbalize our emotions more in a negative way and pray less. We become more critical and less compassionate. We stop working together with others and helping others and instead look out for ouselves.
If you notice in the beginning of the last paragraph above, I used the word “choice”. Though the enemy can have a hand in causing us to be distracted, in the end, it’s our choice whether we take the bait or not. It’s our choice to put down the Bible and pick up the phone. It’s our choice to pray or watch tv. It’s our choice to exercise the Word or apply the world’s way of dealing with things to our situations. It’s our choice to be kind and compassionate or to be hateful and mean. It’s our choice. In a world where we have gotten into the habit of blaming everyone else for our unhappiness, our problems, and for what we don’t have, we must realize that we have to start taking responsibility for our own actions. Though others may cause us to feel hurt by their words and actions, it is our choice whether we allow it to affect us or not. It is our choice if we wish to respond the right way or the wrong way. It’s our choice. When we maintain our spiritual diet, and we exercise by applying the Word of God, we will make the right choices. When we fail to maintain this healthy way of living, we will make the wrong choices and suffer the consequences and the same goes for our physical health.
How is your spiritual health? Do you feel strong in faith? No matter what issue comes your way, do you pass the worry to God and allow Him to handle it? Do you nourish yourself daily with the Word and apply it or have you replaced your time with God with other things. We can’t afford to be complacent, which is the product of the end times. Jesus tells us what to look for regarding the end times and Matthew 24:13-14 states:
“12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Verses 36 and 37 state the following:
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
This is why it’s extremely important to keep ourselves in good spiritual shape. When we remain close to God, He will not only tell us what we need to know, but we will remain godly people, enduring whatever troubles are to come and whatever fiery darts the enemy throws at us. We will not be as easily deceived and will be alert to the enemy’s tactics which Peter warns us about in 1 Peter 5:8:
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
To be sober means to have self-control and to be vigilant means to be keenly watchful to detect danger; wary; alert. The enemy knows time is short and is looking for ways to remove God’s people from the spiritual race. We must not fall asleep!
Take a moment and ask God to give you a report on how you are doing spiritually. Ask Him to bring to mind areas of your life where you need improvement and then ask Him to help you to improve and to remain alert and awake so you will be ready for the bridegroom to come!
Lord, help us to remain alert and have self-control in these last days. Keep us grounded in your Word and increase our faith in these troubling times. Jesus, I ask that you check us over and give us a spiritual health report to identify any problems within us that we are unaware of. Show us the areas of our lives that we need to pay more attention to and make immediate changes in. Lord, help us to remain awake and alert to what is happening around us and to bring your Word to others so they may be awake and alert as well so we all will be ready when you return. I ask it in the mighty name of Jesus…Amen.