Spiritual Health Checklist

I have just completed teaching a series of Bible Classes from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. Throughout the sermon Jesus makes a lot of comparisons, but in closing he challenges his listeners to make a choice, “build a solid life by following me, or choose your own path and risk your life falling apart. The choice is yours.” [My summary/paraphrase] This closing section contains four choices:

  • Narrow or Wide Gate (v13-14)sermon-on-the-mount 01
  • Good or Bad Fruit (v15-20)
  • Hearers or Doers (v21-23)
  • Wise or Foolish Builders (v24-27)

The Four Choices begin with a command “Enter through the narrow gate.” Will you obey it? Next he warns against deceptive teachers. Observe their lives, not their words. Third, Jesus warns us not to deceive ourselves. Discipleship is revealed in the furnace, not the fireworks. Fourth, Jesus reiterates that the firm foundation is “Jesus words” and building on them requires action.

Like many sermons today, Jesus closed his sermon with an invitation: an invitation to follow him. As Jesus’ listeners heard this sermon, they had to make a decision, “Would they follow Jesus?” However, in reality following Jesus requires more than a decision, he requires active obedience. So even if they accepted his invitation to follow Jesus, they still had to evaluate how consistently their lives matched the will of God.

In the context of the original sermon Matthew describes, the foundational teachings refer to the words of Jesus that the crowd has just heard. Since we now have a much larger canon of scripture that the original audience, we may choose to use other passages or collections of passages as a basis for evaluating our spiritual health. However, I believe that the Sermon on the Mount can provide an excellent guide for examining our commitment to Christ and his mission.

It’s crucial that we not deceive ourselves and build on sand instead of rock. We may have accepted Jesus invitation to follow him long ago, but we always need to reexamine the path we’re on.  Are we hearing the words of Jesus? Are we doing the words of Jesus? (Matt. 7:24)

Based on Matthew chapters 5-7 here’s a little spiritual health checklist. Everyone’s different, but I recommend engaging a process like this at least twice a year.  I encourage you to find a quiet place to take this. Pray. Write down your answers using pen and paper. Share them with someone you can trust to encourage you as you take the necessary steps to improve your spiritual heart health.

1. How well do I know Jesus words?

  • When did I last study the Bible?

2. Would others describe me as humble, empathetic, meek and God-focused? (5:3-6)

  • Can I give an example?

3. Am I merciful, pure, and a promoter of peace in my dealings with others? (5:7-9)

  • Can I give an example?

4. Do I maintain the above character in the face of opposition? (5:10-12)

  • Can I give an example?

5. Do I represent God clearly to those outside the church? (5:13-16)

  • Can I give an example?

6. Do I pursue holiness of heart and hand, or do I rationalize my sins? (5:17-37)

  • What are my strongest temptations?

7. When did I last pray for my enemies?

  • Who are my enemies? (list them)

8. Is my church involvement for God’s benefit, or to impress others? (6:1-23)

  • What was the last good deed I performed in secret?

9. Is there anyone in my life who’s hurt me that I have not forgiven? (6:14)

  • Do I know of anyone who holds a grudge against me? Do I need to ask for forgiveness?

10. My biggest concern right now is……

  • When did I last pray sincerely about this?

11. Do I invest more energy in the care of my soul, or talking about the souls of others? (7:1-12)

  • Who do I know right now that needs Christ in their life? When did I last pray for them?

12. Have I answered these questions diligently and honestly? (7:13-27)

  • Is the kingdom of God the greatest priority in my life?
  • Am I building my life of the rock? Am I doing the words of Jesus? (7:24)

May you draw closer to God and more deeply commit to his mission as you seek to live the life He has willed for you.

HERE’s another Spiritual Checkup resource written by my friend Charles Kiser.

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