In the past month, I have been preaching in my church on the topic “The Healthy Church.” Most pastors and Christians would like for their churches to grow, but often we ask the wrong questions when it comes to seeing that happen.
For a church to grow as it should, it needs to be healthy. And the one thing that is required for a church to be healthy is for it to have healthy members. Are you a healthy Christian? And just what does that mean anyway?
Earlier in my life, I did not think about going to the doctor very often. In fact, from the age of 15 to 40, I probably went to the doctor due to sickness fewer than 10 times. Now I was injured more than that. Between sprained ankles, a blown-up knee and other bumps and bruises, I have met more orthopedic surgeons that general practitioners in my life.
Most of us don’t like going to the doctor. It’s not that we have a special dislike for doctors; it simply is that we would prefer not to need them. It takes time and money to see doctors, and they often tell us things we do not like to hear. “Quit doing this. Don’t eat that.” But from time to time, we need a medical assessment.
And that is even truer spiritually speaking. When is the last time you had a spiritual health assessment? And where would you go for that anyway?
May I make a suggestion? The Bible can help us understand where we stand in God’s eyes. Jesus said to his followers, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” He was speaking in that particular text about false prophets. But the same thing could be said about those who claim to follow him. We are to bear fruit in keeping with who we claim to be.
In Galatians 5:22-23, we see a list called “the fruit of the spirit.” These nine traits — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — are the fruit of the spirit. As we exhibit these fruit in our lives, we show ourselves to be healthy believers.
Are you a healthy believer? Would others agree with your assessment? Again, you need to look to the Scriptures to see the truth about yourself. But you also might ask fellow believers what they think. Yes, that is dangerous. It could be painful. But you need someone who will be honest with you. It could be one of the most helpful things you do this year.
I long to be a healthy Christian. I long to be a part of a healthy church. I pray that the same can be said for you. God can use healthy Christians and healthy churches to accomplish his purposes in this world. Are you ready to be used for his glory?