spiritual health

THE DANGER OF SPIRITUAL TOXINS

There are a lot of opinions about being healthy, but every serious view recognizes that we must focus on more than one component.

Good health involves how we eat, how we exercise AND what we eliminate from our lives. If we are serious about our physical health, we don’t shop in the junk food aisle (at least not too often).

In a similar way, spiritual health requires attention to more than one area. We will not be healthy if we pray, but ignore God’s Word. Our soul will be anemic if we read the Bible regularly, but ignore the community of a local church.

However, just as important as what we take in, is what we cast out. As Paul writes in Romans 13:14 put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires”.

We live in an extremely toxic world. Unless we are intentionally ridding our system of these toxins, they will affect our spiritual health. Even the world recognizes this as a general principle, as evidenced by the rigorous attention given to the effects of secondhand smoke.

The difficulties we face in eliminating toxins are many. Not only are these toxins common, they can be subtle. Pride, and the self-centered attitudes that our human nature consider to be normal, the Word of God rejects as ungodly!

If we are to rid ourselves of spiritual toxins, we must be serious about self-examination. And if we are to be successful in self-examination, we will need the help of Scripture and the community of God’s people.

Pastor John MacArthur gives us some direction is this article “Eliminating Spiritual Toxins”.

Physical health has significant benefits, but they cannot compare to having a healthy soul. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us:

“train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”

QUACKERY FOR THE SOUL

 

 

In 1685 Charles II of England suffered a stroke

For treatment, the royal physicians drained the king of two cups of blood. 

Next they administered an enema

and a purgative

followed by a dose of sneezing powder 

Afterward, they drained him of another cup of blood.

All of this had no positive affect.

So, they rubbed an ointment of pigeon dung and powdered pearls onto the king’s feet. 

And they seared the king’s skull and bare feet with red-hot irons.

Still nothing helped!

After all this treatment, the king fell into convulsions so the king’s doctors prepared a potion whose principal ingredient was “forty drops of extract of human skull”.

After four days Charles died.

We immediately see the foolishness and quackery of these treatments which not only did not help the King, they increased his suffering and probably hastened his death.

Great attention was given to the King’s condition, but the doctor’s ignorance distracted them from helpful care.

 

This may seem like a detached incident from history for us.

Yet, it is an all too accurate parallel of how the leaders of our age are trying to treat the ills of the human soul today.

The sickness of the human soul is caused by sin and the only possible cure is to put our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For those who are followers of Christ, continuing spiritual health comes through feeding on the Word of God and applying what it says in our lives. Living on a diet of some biblical truth and some of our own wisdom is a sloppy mix that will leave our soul enfeebled.

None of us want quackery for our bodies, so why would we want it for our soul?

 

GODLY HABITS IN A NEW WORLD

Christians know there are basic habits or godly disciplines that should be part of our life if we want to be spiritually healthy and to stay on mission.

Read our Bible

Pray

Attend church regularly

Give generously

Give Facebook a break

Silence our smart phone

Check, check, check, working on it, and . . . wait a minute, when did smartphones and Facebook become part of my spiritual health check list? When new technologies began  to be such a dominant part of daily (or hourly) life.

The answer is not to throw new technologies away (at least not for many of us), but we do need to consider how these technologies end up using us, and most importantly, how the new cultural norms they produce affect our spiritual health.

Clint Archer addresses this with these 4 helpful suggestions on the Cripplegate Blog

Sermon Leftovers 1/31/11

Acts 2:42-47  “Our Mission (part 1): People who Pursue God”

Acts 2  SHOWS US THE CHURCH AT ITS BIRTH

1.  A powerful change has taken place in these people

  • They were ordinary people who faced many weakness and problems
  • Yet the change in them is so real, it was touching other people

2.  The description given to us is that of a healthy church

  • How should we respond?  How deeply do we want this to describe us?

3.  Ephesians 4:1-12 describes the role of a pastor in this matter

As church members we have a three part responsibility in response

  1. To be “equipped”
  2. To be involved in “ministry”
  3. To “build up one another

4.  The mission statement of our church is an expression of these responsibilities:

“Pursuing God, Together, with Outstretched Arms”

On Sunday we examined how the first part of our mission statement is exampled before us in Acts 2

HOW DID THIS COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS “PURSUE GOD”?

1.  They were committed to being equipped by their leaders  vs 42

  • When biblical teaching is put into practice, powerful results take place
  • Do you believe this?  If the answer is yes, how are you acting on that belief?

2.  They were wowed by God  vs 43

  • “Signs”of God’s grace, and “wonders” of His power surround us if we look for them
  • Amazement over God and His works, will lead us to follow Him more closely

3.  They lived in thankfulneess  vs 46-47

  • Thankfulness is a sign of spiritual health (consider the alternative)
  • Thankfulness to God increases our love for Him
  • Thankfulness makes us content, so we want to stay in His ways
  • If we are thankful, we will trust our Lord and serve Him

WHERE ARE THESE PRINCIPLES AT WORK IN OUR LIVES?

1.  What do you do with the teaching you hear?

2.  What happens when you hear something that you do not like?

3.  Is there any area of your life you are working on now?

4.  If God is not a huge “WOW” to you, why not?

5.  How often do you thank God for saving you and keeping you?

WHAT STEPS CAN WE TAKE TO BE MORE CONSISTENT IN PURSUING GOD?

1.  Spend time getting to know God

2.  Get on a pathway that helps you to learn and grow

3.  Be persistent; everyone who matures spiritually has to be persistent

4.  When you fall . . don’t stay down

There is wonderful vibrancy to a life that eagerly pursues God.  Let that vibrancy be the characteristic of your life!