Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Check Up - 10/26/2016

An Arkie's Faith column from the October 26, 2016, issue of The Mena Star

Recently I went to see my family doctor for my yearly check up. Well, maybe I was eight or nine months late. And maybe I went because my wife made an appointment for me. But what is important is that I went for my check up.

Why was I so reluctant to see my doctor? I can give you a list of excuses, but none of them are more important than my health. Maybe I don’t really want to know if there is a problem with my health. Fortunately, I received a clean bill of health. I don’t need to go to the doctor for a check up for another year.

I know that routine checkups are important because they can find problems that if undiscovered could grow to be serious health issues. I know that giving my doctor permission to find hidden health problems is best for my long-term health.

King David realized that spiritual check-ups were important. Asking God to search for hidden sin, he prayed, “Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way. Psalms 139:23,24 (GNT) He realized that giving God the opportunity for a full and unconditional inspection of his mind and thoughts would keep him spiritually healthy.

King David knew that even if you are feeling good about yourself, it is time for a checkup! Only God knows the true condition of our heart, and only He can forgive, heal, and lead us to a righteous life and productive future. In Psalms 26:2,3 (GNT) we read, “Examine me and test me, Lord; judge my desires and thoughts. Your constant love is my guide; your faithfulness always leads me.” God knows us better than we know ourselves.

Do you go in for a checkup with the doctor every year? Does your doctor listen to your heart, update your immunizations, check your lungs and your weight? Checkups are good. They can stop little things from developing into bigger things. Given a choice, I’d probably not voluntarily visit my doctor for a physical exam. Over the years I haven’t regularly had check ups. I’m inclined to assume that everything is okay and not bother my doctor about it. But since my wife made the appointment for me I reluctantly went to the doctor. Given a choice, many of us are a little afraid of spiritual checkups as well. After all, if we check too closely, we might find that we need to make some changes in our life.

I know how to make an appointment and see my family doctor, but how do I go about getting a spiritual checkup? A good place to start is found in Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) where Jesus answered the question, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

When I went to the doctor for my check-up, he asked a lot of questions. The first question we need to ask ourselves in a spiritual check-up is, do I love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind? How do I know if I love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind? Jesus gives us the answer in John 14:15 (NKJV) when he said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” That is clear enough. God’s commandments are a guide to let us know how we are doing spiritually.

For your spiritual check-up, turn to Exodus 20 in your Bible and read God’s words that he spoke from the top of Mount Sinai. Christians today refer to these words as the Ten Commandments. There is no better place to start a spiritual check-up than to read these commandments and look into your heart and see if you are following them the way God spoke them.

Gentle Reader, we all need a spiritual checkup once in a while; a time to look at our walk with the Lord and ask ourselves, “Am I on the right path?  Am I doing what the Lord wants for me?“ If your spiritual checkup finds you in need of some fine tuning, remember that the Great Physician has promised to help you accomplish it. Pray like King David did when he failed his spiritual check-up, “Create in me a pure heart, God, and make my spirit right again.” Psalms 51:10 (NCV)

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