Meanderings of a Minister

Have You Taken Your Pulse Lately?
April 15, 2011, 1:40 am
Filed under: Articles

Over the past several months, I have been attempting to live healthier.  No, it is not a diet, per se, but lifestyle modification.  I have done better at some things than at others.  My eating habits will be better for a while and then I will fall off the wagon.  I exercise regularly for a while and then miss a little.  Lately, while exercising, I have had to enter into the treadmill my age and weight so the machine can keep track of my heart rate or pulse.  I assume this is so that I don’t have a heart attack and die from trying to be healthy!  As I have thought about my physical pulse, it has started me thinking about my spiritual pulse.  How do you even know what your spiritual pulse is?  How do you know how you are doing in your walk?  Are you gaining spiritual weight or are you healthy?

Don Whitney, in his book Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, gives the following ten questions as a means of determining if you are growing in your faith, treading water, or actually backsliding:

  1. Do you thirst for God?
  2. Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word?
  3. Are you more loving?
  4. Are you more sensitive to God’s presence?
  5. Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
  6. Do you delight in the bride of Christ?
  7. Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you?
  8. Do you still grieve over sin?
  9. Are you a quicker forgiver?
  10. Do you yearn for Heaven and to be with Jesus?[1]

Chances are very good, if you are like most Christians, you have not really spent much time thinking about these things lately.  The Lenten Season is supposed to provide a time to reflect on these and other issues vital to your walk with Christ, but many people are so busy, they simply don’t take the time to slow down enough to think on these things.  This was the strategy of Uncle Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.  The uncle’s advice to his demon protégé, on how to keep his human subject from turning to Christ, was to keep him so focused on the common and ordinary that he has no time to think about the eternal.

Whitney suggests that these questions provide a sort of spiritual pulse in the life of a growing believer.  If you answered know to most or all of these questions, you are probably spiritually backslidden, or perhaps not yet a believer.  If you answered no to some of the questions, but not most, you may be seeing the beginning of a spiritual growth problem.  If you answered yes to all of the questions, honestly, then you are growing and are probably relatively healthy.  If you are offended to be asked, you probably have some other issues.

“So what do I do if I am not doing so well in growing spiritually?”  I am glad you asked!  Jesus addressed this in his letter to the church at Ephesusin Revelation 2:5 “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place – unless you repent.”[2]  The best place for you get help in these and other matters is your local church.  I am not saying you must go to my church in order to grow.  That would be prideful and ridiculous!  But you must attend a Bible-believing church that preaches and teaches and disciples people in the Word of God.  With the holidays on us shortly, what a great time to plug in to a local church and get started making some good habits that could just make this your best year yet!

[1] Donald S. Whitney, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, Navpress, Colorado Springs, CO, 2001.

[2] New American Standard Bible, The Lockman Foundation,La Habra,CA, 1995.


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