By Heather Riggleman, Crosswalk.com
I’m sitting in my kitchen, lights dim, journal and Bible in front of me, and my pen ready to write out what I sense God telling me during my spiritual checkup. I know there are some rough edges, some tender areas, and still some areas that need to be uprooted completely. Life has a way of testing us, tying us up in knots and challenging our faith. We come up against countless battles in our everyday lives.
This last year has brought so many changes and challenges worldwide. Not only did our way of life change but so did: going to work, attending school, social distancing in grocery stores or dining out or even getting a haircut. But God expects us to stay on the vine. He expects us to draw closer to Him and to reflect a picture of Christ. The only way we can truly assess whether or not we’re becoming more like Christ is to conduct a spiritual checkup. Just like our physical annual checkups, our spiritual lives are in need of maintenance.
What Is a Spiritual Checkup?
Just like we get our annual physical exams, our spiritual lives also need a checkup. These visits help us identify any issues before they become major concerns. But when it comes to our spiritual lives, it’s vital we check on how our spiritual growth is doing because the Christian life is meant to be one of spiritual growth. 2 Peter 3:18 says: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” How can we know if we are making real spiritual progress without comparing our progress from the year before? Are you aware of any weaknesses? Do you know what to guard yourself against? Are you spending enough time in the Word? The answers to these questions are found as we assess our spiritual lives.
How Can We Conduct a Spiritual Checkup on Ourselves?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
The Bible says, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). It also tells us the vitality of a thriving spiritual life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).
In other words, are you a follower of Christ, or have other priorities gotten in the way of your relationship? The following questions are designed to help you examine your spiritual life. Prayerfully seek God’s help in areas where you sense He desires you to heal, grow, or change. A spiritual checkup doesn’t have to be a yearly checkup. It can be conducted every three months to six months too. The point of this checkup is to assess your spiritual life and relationship with Christ Jesus!
10 Questions to Ask Yourself:
Have you put your faith in Christ and Christ alone to save you?
Have I fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit? Do I ask God to fill me each day with the Holy Spirit?
Are you trusting in Him and walking with Him?
Is your thirst to know God greater today than it was this time last year?
Am I loving my neighbor the way Christ instructed?
Am I loving my family and being a witness in my community? How do I spend my time, and does it impact my church?
Do I have a growing desire to spend more time with God?
Am I spending appropriate time praying, reading, and meditating on the Word?
Am I growing in my desire to obey and please God? Do I obey out of guilt or fear? Or do I obey because of my reverence and gratitude for God’s love?
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Yolya
What Is the Importance of Conducting Spiritual Checkups?
It's essential that we reflect on our spiritual growth in order to keep an eye on which areas are strong, which are weak, and how we can work to improve or maintain our growth. We might think we’re staying on track with our ultimate goal of becoming more Christlike but unless we check ourselves, how can we know that our day-to-day faith is strong? You wouldn’t let a cavity or infection go unattended, would you? No, it would be a threat to your physical health. It’s the same for a spiritual checkup.
If we leave our spiritual lives unchecked, how will we know whether unattended wounds, pride, bitterness, or other spiritual ailments are affecting our spiritual life and faith? Oftentimes, certain behaviors, thought patterns, and emotions cause us to get stuck or sucked back into handling conflict, issues, or circumstances the way we are used to. Why? Because our flesh likes the familiar and the comfortable but here’s the thing: our flesh doesn’t care whether or not we change or become Christ-like because ultimately—our flesh is not going with us in eternity.
Sometimes we need a spiritual overhaul in order to weed out the sources or issues of how we are mishandling our lives. Our perspective can get weighed down in bad habits, emotional baggage, pride, and unforgiveness. We tend to get lost in the where, how, and why instead of focusing on God’s will for our lives and how He wants us to grow. Here are seven Bible verses that emphasize the importance of examining ourselves during our spiritual checkups. These verses remind us of what the ultimate goal is as a follower of Christ—to grow more like him.
James 1:22-24 — "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 — "Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgment on themselves."
2 Corinthians 13:5 — "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"
Romans 12:2 — "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Psalm 119:59-60 — When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.”
Matthew 7:3-5 — "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Conducting a spiritual checkup is further amplified for our benefit when we use the warning system God has given us: The Word of God. When we spend time in the Word, our spiritual muscles grow. Daily, God gives us spiritual manna. This nourishes our spirit, mind, and soul as it strengthens our relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. As we let “the message of Christ dwell among us richly with all wisdom,” He will equip us to become spiritually fit and in order to fulfill our purpose and glorify Christ.
We are reminded, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” (Proverbs 4:23). How’s your heart in regard to your faith life? Perhaps it’s time for a spiritual checkup. As far as how often we should implement spiritual checkups in our lives, I don’t think we can do them enough! We live in a world where hustling is holy, and busyness is glorified. We live in a world filled with pain, struggles, challenges, differing opinions, fear, hostility, and daily issues. With that being said, we can check in with Christ on a daily basis. On our knees. Looking up to our heavenly father and asking for His will to be done.
Related Resource: Listen to our FREE podcast, Reframed: The Power of Perspective. In each episode, Carley provides practical techniques for identifying and reframing negative thinking patterns. Listen to an episode below, and check out all of our episodes on LifeAudio.com.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Javier Art Photography
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.