To ASPIRE to a quiet life

The last few years have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty. The reality is, since the fall from the Garden, every year is a year of uncertainty.

time and chance happens to them all.” [Ecc 9:11b]

Even with all this uncertainty, the Scriptures show us that it’s possible to smooth out the hills and valleys.

As we approach the New Year, many of us will be setting resolutions for 2022. Before we decide on what weight we want, or financial goals, let us consider what Paul told the saints at Thessalonica.

Read 1Thess 4:9-12.

v9-10: “But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another; for indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, that ye ABOUND more and more;” (emph mine seb)

The first thing we notice is the goal to ABOUND in LOVE. That’s a worthy goal. Faith, Hope & Love are 3 great things, but the greatest of these is Love… [1Cor 13:13]

  • We start by Loving the Lord thy God (Mat 22:37),
  • We are to Love Others (Mat 22:39),
  • We must also Love being Virtuous in keeping God’s commands (1John 5:3; John 14:15),
  • We ought also Love our Enemies (Luke 6:27).
  • We ought also to Love His Appearing in the Sky (2Tim 4:8).

v11a: “and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,”

The second thing Paul writes what we might say, STAY IN YOUR LANE. The word “study” is philotimeomai, and means, eager or earnest to do something: labor, strive, study. [Strong’s Greek Dictionary]

In other words, we are to STRIVE for peace, not to STRIVE with others. This is not to say we should roll over whenever someone teaches error. Rather, it’s about not STRIVING over pointless matters. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” [Rm 12:18]. We’re to strive for a quiet life, which means that we won’t be busybodies nor disorderly [Rom 13:13; 1Peter 4:15; 1Tim 5:13; 2Thess 3:11-12]

v11b: “and to work with your hands…

Part of living a quite life is through working to PROVIDE for the care of our own households. This wasn’t the first time Paul wrote about working to provide for our own; [Eph 4:28] nor was it the last time [1Tim 5:8].

v11c “…, even as we charged you;”

This is not Paul’s own guess work; to live a quiet life is an INSTRUCTION from the Lord. [1Cor 14:37].

v12a “that ye may walk becomingly toward them that are without,”

To live a quiet life ultimately is about our influence toward all. Paul wants us to have a good REPORT from outsiders so that we will not hinder the gospel. This is also a qualification of Elder. [1Tim 3:7; 2Co 8:21; Col 4:5; 1Pet 2:12]

v12b “and may have need of nothing.”

Finally, Paul concludes that we are to EXCEL in these things so that we “lack nothing.” Once you carry your own water, you will appreciate every drop. [Gal 6:5]. This doesn’t mean we won’t need someone’s help sometimes, just that we should be striving so that we won’t need it.

Paul often worked so as not be a burden on others so that the gospel would not be hindered. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” [2Thess 3:7-9].

As we think about 2022, let us ASPIRE to Abound in Love, to Study to be quiet, as Instructed by the Lord, to have a good Report of outsiders, and to Excel more & more. May God bless us all.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.

5 Strategies to Endure GRIEF

Nobody is immune to sorrow, loss, and pain. Sometimes we add in guilt for feeling joy during times of celebration.

It is possible to be happy and to experience Joy without guilt. While I’m no expert, I have experienced GRIEF and have gone through its seven stages.

I’m no expert; I’m just a student of the Bible and have found some strategies that have helped me. Perhaps they can help someone else who may be struggling with the weight of GRIEF.

It may help to know that after every winter there is a spring.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

[Ecc 3:4]

5 Strategies for Living through GRIEF, (from my own experience).

1) You never get over death, nor should you, but you may GROW through it. That hole in our hearts never gets smaller, but our hearts can GROW larger with time. If we will Look up, we can GET UP. [1King 19; Col 3:1-4]

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” [Jas 1:2-3]

2) It’s OK to REMEMBER our loved one that sleeps. If you mention my mother’s name you might make us cry. If you don’t, you’ll break our hearts. Talk about your loved one who sleeps. A word of warning; it’s possible to steal another’s joy. You can end every conversation by REQUIRING others to REMEMBER your pain. This may be difficult to understand right now while you’re engulfed in sorrow, but be aware of other’s joy or pain and that it’s unfair to steal another’s joy. There’s a time for every season. [Ecc 3:1-13].

RECOGNIZING other’s Pain or Joy gives one perspective. Perspective is powerful, but it’s up to you to RECEIVE it. Perspective is a self-soothing tool. It’s no real comfort to say that somebody else has it worse than you. How would you comfort that person with the most pain? (REMEMBER Job? Jas 5:11). But there is Someone who feels what you feel.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Heb 4:15]

3) Don’t IGNORE your feelings, nor your physical health. It’s easy to let GRIEF permeate every part of our life and destroy it. Don’t IGNORE your emotions, but also don’t IGNORE the rest of your life. Get up & move, take a shower, and do what needs to be done. Keep doing those IMPORTANT things. Also, don’t ISOLATE yourself from others. You’ll be surprised by how many people are grieving something. You can grieve & still do what is IMPORTANT. Go to worship [2Sam 12:20-23], celebrate birthdays, and do your work. You’ll discover an INCREASE in strength you never thought possible.

And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” [1Kings 19]

4) Ecclesiastes 7 talks about the “house of mourning.” It’s better because it’s there that we will consider our own END and take it to heart. The end of the book concludes with this lesson; “fear God & keep keep His commandments.” Life is frail & short [Jas 4:14]. Think on ETERNAL life. The hope of being resurrected unto ETERNAL life is our only true comfort. [1Thess 4:13-18]

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” [1Thess 4:13]

5) Prevent the repetitious spiraling FALL into darkness. GRIEF doesn’t have to define you & become your identity. Instead, FOCUS on the FUTURE and the FRUITFUL things you can do. There are people you can help, like those that have helped you. It’s possible to FEEL joy again. Ask yourself this, “What would your loved one want for you?” Do they want you to give up or to FEEL joy again? We know, through scripture, what they truly want for you. [Php 3:13; Luke 16:27-28]

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Phil 3:13-14]

It may not feel like comfort at this moment, but you’re not alone. One thing I noticed during my two plus years of trial & loss was how many others needed help. There were others who were just beginning their grief as I was working through mine. Your pain now can become another’s lifeline later. We’re all in this together.

— spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ that meets at Franklin & Juniper Street in Borger, Texas.

Why We Left the World

It was a dark and stormy night that frigid evening in November of 1997. It was dark, and the storm was within our hearts, because we had just learned some things about our condition toward God.

By that time my wife and I had been engaged for a few weeks in some simple bible studies with Uncle Charlie.  

The study had just ended having studied what God required of us to receive His grace. We didn’t answer at that moment. Uncle Charlie said, “Ok then, I guess I’ll be going.” I knew he wanted an answer, but none came.

After he left, we talked. We talked for an hour.

WHY WE LEFT THE WORLD.

We weren’t terrible people; we were just a young couple with 3 children trying our best to take care of ourselves. We both believed in God but never really knew about our responsibility toward Him. Until that night.

That night we realized the LOVE that God had toward us and the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) We realized that this LOVE was demonstrated through the death of Christ on a cross. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We realized that to LOVE God we must keep His commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Luke 6:46)

That night we heard a very clear EXPLANATION from the scriptures about our sin condition and the sin solution. There were no words without a passage to support them. The passages themselves are very EASY to understand.

  • I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)
  • Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 10:32-33)
  • Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
  • But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:13)

We knew that it was an all or nothing decision. Before we would do anything, we agreed that this was an all or nothing endeavor.

God would not take a half-hearted lip service. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7) We had a godly FEAR of the Lord. A mix of Reverence, Awe and Terror. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31)

We agreed together, but when? “Now,” we said. “TONIGHT.” To delay may mean death. It was well after 10:00pm when I called Uncle Charlie to tell him we desired to obey the gospel in water baptism. He asked, “when?” I answered, “TONIGHT.” He joyfully replied, “LET’S GO!” Had he tried to put us off, or schedule a TIME to be baptized we would likely never have done it. We knew that the TIME was right now, as soon as possible. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

What is the biblical TIMING for baptism? Immediately upon understanding your condition toward God and understanding what HE requires of thee. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33)

That night we put on Christ through baptism. That night we obeyed the Gospel. That night we began our newness of life.

We slept peacefully that night knowing that we had done what the Lord had commanded to be done. We rejoiced and continue to rejoice giving thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2Cor 9:15)

— spencer

In everything give thanks

It’s quite easy to give thanks for those good things we enjoy. When we like the giver, like the gift and when we feel like we deserve it.

It’s not so easy to give thanks for those good things disguised as work. It’s often years later before we can find the reasons to be thankful.

The Hebrew writer alludes to this truth; “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” [Heb 12:11]

Is it possible to follow the command of God to give thanks for everything, even the not so fun stuff?

To illustrate this point, indulge me in a little walk down my own memory pain, ur I mean lane.

Growing up the son of a 3rd generation sign maker and sole proprietor, my bother and I found ourselves many SATURDAYS and most of the SUMMERS at our father’s SHOP. From very early days, “tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother,” I can remember spending hours holding a paint can, paint thinner, and paint pallet as my father hand painted all types & sizes of advertisements. Over time and learning to read, I became spell check before such a thing ever existed. I could tell which letter dad was about to form just from the position of the brush. I would audibly grunt as the squirrel haired stick approached the surface; it was my respectful warning for him to check his spelling.

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” [Prov 10:5]

I HATED IT… sometimes. No kid wants to work it seems, and I was no different. But it wasn’t a choice. It was a matter of fact. It was as certain as a meal, or going to school. It was going to happen. Very early on I accepted my fate. I could go to the SHOP bitter or I could go to the SHOP & get better. Either way, I WAS GOING TO THE SHOP.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” [Prov 19:18]

I don’t know if it was the 3rd year or the 13th year, somewhere along the way it became an OPPORTUNITY to learn. The typical sign SHOP requires woodworking, painting, electrical and welding skills. It requires drawing, planning, organizing and socializing (sales). Over the years my older brother learned many of the fabrication skills while I, the younger, navigated toward the office, sales, and organizational skills. One day as dad left for a sales meeting, he shouted to a SHOP full of grown men, “Nobody answers the phone except Spencer!” I may have been 13 or 14 by then.  

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

As I reflect back on those dreaded days in the SHOP, I now have a better understanding and appreciation for them. Today I realize some of the lessons I’ve learned and the PERSON I’ve become because of those years. While at the moment there seemed to be no joy, but rather grief, many years later I am truly thankful for the time well spent.

While we can’t say what would have happened had my summers been spent under my own direction, we can make a fairly good guess they wouldn’t have been nearly as useful.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”

[Prov 23:24]

Today, I am thankful to my dad as well as to my heavenly FATHER for those dreadful years well spent at the SHOP. Many of you have had similar experiences, or maybe even more painful ones. May we reflect on the good and be thankful.

It may be difficult to find the good in every memory, but we can at least be grateful for our survival, growth, and the lessons learned. May we find the ability to fulfil the command of God and “In every thing give thanks.”

— spencer

We Persuade Men.

Is it Wrong to Persuade? Some view our insistence in giving and requesting a “book, chapter, and verse” as being argumentative, or pushy. But is it really? Could it not just as easily be called persuasion?

God insisted David give Him a “thus saith the Lord” regarding the topic of building a temple; read 2Sam 7:1-7.

In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?”

It’s when we don’t give a “thus saith the Lord” that we’re actually just arguing opinions. Is it wrong to use persuasion?

We use it in just about every other are of our lives

  • People persuade when applying for work.
  • People persuade when looking for love.
  • People persuade kids to eat their vegetables.
  • People persuade to get our kids to do well in school.

We find persuasion used in scripture

  • Stephen used it. “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” (Acts 6:10)
  • Certainly, Peter used it; “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)
  • Naaman’s servants had to use it. They couldn’t command him to dip in the Jordan. “And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2Kings 5:13)

What is Persuasion?

  • It’s Persistence. Someone once said they’re not convinced of Hell because believers aren’t very persistent in their warnings about it.
  • It’s continuing to study with a sinner (who is willing to study) until they understand the importance of the gospel. (Acts 17:11; cf. Mat 15:14)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the Love of the Lord and their response to His love. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the perils of ignoring the gospel. (Acts 24:25)
  • It’s showing them that it does matter what one believes. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
  • It’s helping them see the wisdom in choosing to obey the Lord. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
  • It’s showing the sinner about the urgency in obeying the gospel. (Acts 16:30-34)
  • It is helping the sinner realize the frailty of life (Jas 4:14).
  • It is convincing the lost that there is a desperate need. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Persuasion is NOT.

  • Manipulation, which is using unfair or deceitful means to accomplish our own purpose. (2Cor 11:3-4)
  • It is not force or coercion. One convinced against their will is of the same opinion still. “… for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)
  • It is not steamrolling nor threatening another person into submission. (Acts 4:21; 19:34)
  • It is not badgering nor mocking another person. (Acts 17:32)
  • It is not arguing out of anger. (Acts 7:57)

Persuasion is just good old-fashioned evangelism from a fully convinced child of God who loves his family, friends, and neighbors enough to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Starving Strays

Living in Borger has opened my eyes to the enormous problem of STRAY dogs.

Multiple times a week there are social media postings about them. Most often the STRAY is afraid of the one trying to help them.

Whenever a good Samaritan approaches to help the STRAY, it will often run away in fear even with an offer of food or water! There’s no recognition that this person is trying to help. They have no idea they need help.

This illustrates a spiritual problem with those who are wandering the shadows of death outside of Christ.

They do not recognize that the Lord is calling them to come to Him with the Bread of Life. They seem to have no concern that they are spiritually starving and astray.

Many are lost, starving, headed for trouble, and in need of His help and rescue. 

What do you know about STRAY sheep?

Jesus saw people as SHEEP without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Matt 9:36). Some look at these passages and note that Jesus fed them. Yes, He did, but He fed them the bread of Life. “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” Stray sheep need to be fed the spiritual food of eternal life (cf. John 6:51, 68). Unfortunately, some will not take the spiritual food, but offer it any way.

On one occasion, Jesus looked upon the city of Jerusalem and shed TEARS over it, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37; Luke 19:41-44). Strays are in jeopardy. How do we feel about that? Does it move us to TEARS? Some of us want to get rid of the strays that wander onto our lawns. Let’s have compassion on the straying people.

Some stray intentionally. Peter refers to some who have gone astray as those who will “RECEIVE the REWARD of unrighteousness. “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;” (2Pet 2:13-15). Jesus is no respecter of persons. He died even for the unlovable. (cf. Rom 5:6-10)

Anyone who is off the path of righteousness, regardless of the reason, is ASTRAY. “All we like sheep have gone ‘astray’; we have turned, everyone, to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus went to the cross to make our salvation possible because we have all gone astray. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1Peter 2:24-25). We need to remember that we once were straying and someone reached out to us.

He invites all to come to Him for salvation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30). Being a stray may seem like freedom, but it’s actually bondage to sin. As counterintuitive as it may sound, submitting to the YOKE of Christ is freeing! “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom 6:16) Some of the straying want to be free to live how they want, but that’s a dangerous way to live away from the protection of the Good Shepherd. (cf. John 10:7-14)

As the Good Shepherd, He has set forth the rules of entry into His fold: Hear. Mat 7:24; Believe John 8:24; Repent Luke 13:3; Confess Mat 10:32; Baptized Mark 16:16; Faithfulness Mat 28:20. He is the door, the way, the truth, the life.

Jesus sees us in our sorrowful, starving, and straying condition. Without Him we are lost sheep, astray from His life saving blood. He is calling through the Gospel (cf. 2Th 2:14). He is offering us the bread of life (John 6:48). His is the door of the sheep, offering salvation (John 10:9). You have nothing to fear and everything to gain. Let Him comfort you with His staff & His rod (Psalm 23:4).

WALK as other gentiles

Paul wrote in Ephesians four:

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

This is one of the 7 WALKS found in Ephesians. Let’s break down this WALK of the other Gentiles to find what we may learn.

THE FUTILE WALK. Eph 4:17-19

The first thing that jumps out is verse 17, WALKING in the VANITY of their minds. This word vanity refers to our modern word ‘FUTILITY.’ Futile means; incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful; trifling; frivolous; unimportant. Once you see that, you can immediately recognize this problem with so many of us. We focus on the minors, ignoring the majors. We know more about the celebrities of pop culture than we do of the heroes of faith (cf. Heb 11). Keeping up with the Kardashians will not help any go to heaven.

In one sense, everything is trivial when compared to an eternity in Heaven or Hell. If we elevate any activity above serving the Lord, it is WALKING IN FUTILITY. Politics, Pop Culture or even your Papa can become vanity when we view them as our savior.  Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37). Paul wrote, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)

The next glaring condition is, “being ALIENATED from the life of God.” Paul’s theme in the opening chapters of Ephesians are about ALIENS being reconciled to God. “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” He finishes by saying, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13) being ALIENATED from God is a hopeless existence and to be greatly avoided.

Next, Paul describes the walk of the other gentiles as giving themselves over to “LASCIVIOUSNESS, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (4:19). This describes LEWD behavior coupled with greediness. Greed is exemplifying self.

Paul will write to the Galatians about the lust of the flesh, one of which is ‘selfish ambitions’ (emulations kjv). Look at the other lists in Romans 1:20-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; 2Timothy 3:1-9 et al. LEWD & GREED together opens the door to all kinds of debauchery in hedonism.

Lastly, intermixed with all of the above is that their understanding is darkened. Their KNOWLEDGE of God, His Love, His Promises, His Sacrifice is as blindness of the heart. He also calls it ‘ignorance.’ It’s one thing to be ignorant, this text suggests ignorance because they don’t want to know. Someone who will not see has no advantage over the one that cannot see.

The most common problem I notice when talking to folks is the complete lack of interest in the reading of God’s word. This among those who claim to love the Lord. They often refer to what they think the bible says, what their pastor said, what they think they know, but seldom do they actually know. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

The bible says this about the Word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

6 Point Spiritual Check-Up

Point Spiritual Check Up.

The New Testament has more than a few passages about performing a Spiritual CHECK-UP to avoid becoming spiritually sick, or even dying spiritually.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;” 2Cor 13:5

But let a man examine himself.” 1Cor 11:28

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” 1Co 11:30

Here are 6 areas from scripture that the Growing Christian CHECKS in their Spiritual life.

“Say AHH.” One of the first thing a doctor checks is your throat & mouth. Spiritually speaking, we are to check our own mouth and our CONVERSATIONS. We need check the words that we use with others.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

[Jas 3:12; cf. Col 4:6]

Another thing he checks is you HEIGHT. Jesus refers to one’s height when discussing worry & anxiety. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? [Matt 6:27]

None of us can change our height by worry, neither can we change our situation with it. We are to be active in our seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. [cf. Eph 3:18]

The EYES will also be examined. How are the EYES of your understanding?

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” [Eph 1:18; cf. 2Peter 1:9; 1John 2:9,11]

Our WEIGHT will also be measured. God WEIGHS us spiritually in His balance. [cf. Prov 16:2; cr. Dan 5:27; 1Sam 2:3; Job 31:6]

In another sense, weight is a metaphor for the COMPLICATIONS & Distractions of life.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every WEIGHT, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” [Heb 12:1]

Every check up includes a checking of the Heart. The Proverbs writer said,

KEEP thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Prov 4:23; emph mine seb. cf. Mt 12:34; Mr 7:21]

 We need to KEEP our hearts. We cannot KEEP it from God. “Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men,” [Acts 1:24]

Lastly, an examination will include taking our Temperature. Spiritually speaking, this is like checking our SPIRIT or our zeal.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:15-16; cf. Titus 2:14; 3:8]

This article was written to help us take a tangible look at our spiritual lives. Our Eternal Lives are on the line. We must avoid becoming spiritually sick, or worse, spiritually dead!!

For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” [1Cor 11:30]

A Life out of BALANCE for Christ




“And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” (1Cor 7:35)

Take a look at the self-help section of your local book store and you’ll find any number of books about getting your life back into balance.

What they mean by balance is having a life where you can somehow do all the things you want to do without neglecting your family, your health, or your finances.

While this is good in principle, there is a better perspective that says your life should be OUT of BALANCE for Christ. Let me explain.

What if I told you that there is a way to be OUT of BALANCE with the world that would bring you more peace and BALANCE with God and would bring more peace in your life? Would you believe it? Well, there is.

First, we need to recognize that God never tells us to be IN BALANCE with the world.

  • (Mark 4:19) “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
  • (Jas 4:4b) “know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” [cf. Mat 10:34-37]
  • (1Peter 2:9) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

However, He does want us to have peace in our lives. “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1Tim 2:2) But how do we have peace with a life OUT of BALANCE with the world? Here are 7 strategies:

ONE: Regular BIBLE reading to replace some (most / all) of our Secular TV or Reading. The Bereans were “more noble” in that they searched the scriptures daily. (Acts 17:11; 2Tim 2:15)

TWO: We can simplify life by disentangling ourselves from some of the busy AFFAIRS of this life. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2Tim 2:4). We can replace them by setting “your AFFECTION on things above, not on things on the earth. (Col 3:1)

THREE: We can all put our LOVE for God back into its proper place, above everything and everyone. (cf. Mt 10:37; Col 1:18; John 14:15; 1John 5:3; 1John 4:7-12)

FOUR: We can stop trying to be ALL THINGS to ALL MEN so we can be ‘menpleasers’. The Bible says, “for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal 1:10b). Paul sought to be ALL THINGS to ALL MEN so that he might “by ALL MEANS save some.” (cf. 1Cor 9:19-23; Eph 6:6; Col 3:22).

FIVE: We could change who is in our NETWORK of friends. God teaches through His word that friendship with the world and the corrupt of the world can negatively influence us. (cf. Gal 5:9; Jas 4:4; Joh 15:19; 17:14; Ga 1:10; 1Jo 2:15). He also tells us that we are not to separate from everyone in the world, otherwise there’d be no evangelism and you’d have to leave the world completely (1Cor 5:10). The warning is about allowing our NETWORK of friends to draw us away from serving God.

SIXTH: While it’s true we’re commanded to work and to take care of our homes, there is a warning about allowing the CARES and the worries of this world to become a distraction that takes us away from serving God, jeopardizing our soul. (cf. Mark 4:13-20; Mat 6:24-33)

SEVENTH: Related to the 6th, but deserving its own category is the warning about money. ECONOMICS is important and there’s no condemnation of wealth. However, there is a stern warning about allowing money to become our master or placing our trust in our ECONOMIC abilities. (cf. Mat 6:19; 1Tim 6:17; Eph 4:28. 1Tim 6:10-19).

A life out of balance with the world will keep us from falling out of BALANCE with God.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor 10:12; cf. Eph 4:14; 2Pe 1:10-12; 2Pe 3:17)

6 Verses that COMPEL me

When speaking about being compelled, we often think that someone is forcibly moving us to do something we don’t want to do.

God doesn’t do that. We obey God because of our love for Him, and because of our reverential belief in who He is, and what He can and will do.

We do this willingly because we believe Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

We’re willing participants.

Another way of saying compelled is with the word motivation. I am emotionally motivated by God’s word. We know the will of God only through His divine word. The Bible has many motivating passages, but I wanted to look at just 6 passages that COMPEL (motivates) me to be a better child of God.

The first is what CHRIST said He will say on the judgment day. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46; cf. Mat 7:21-23)

Another equally compelling passage is about OBEYING the gospel. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2Thess 1:8; Heb 5:8-9). False teachers claim that there’s nothing a person can do to be saved. But that’s why they’re false teachers.

Moving on to living Godly in Christ, this next passage compels me to do better. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5). To MORTIFY your members is to kill off sin in your life. That’s serious language. He’s not advocating self-harm, rather he’s illustrating the seriousness of sin.

Within this same chapter, Paul adds details that continue to motivate me to living Godly, “PUT off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” “PUT on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:8-17)

Some wonder why I’m so vocal about the Bible. When we realize our helpless condition, and the salvation only through Christ Jesus, we are compelled to obey the Gospel. Then comes the realization that people you love are lost if they die in their sins. Therefore, I’m compelled to EVANGELIZE to the lost world. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:9-11; cf. Mat 28:18-19)

The last, but certainly not the least passage that compels me is actually several; those passages about LOVE. It’s best to read them and let them be their own commentary…

  1. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37)
  2. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3)
  3. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1John 4:7-8)
  4. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” (Luke 6:27)
  5. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1John 2:15-17)

Which bible passages compel you?