Directions & Map
For A Check-Up
I'm over 50 years old and medical science recommends that "old" men like
me have an annual physical check-up. It's a new year and so I decided it
was time to make an appointment with my doctor for an upper, lower and
in-between once over.
The first thing the attending nurse checked was my vital signs. She measured
my temperature, respiration, pulse and blood pressure. As I reflected on
these primary indicators of a person's physical condition, I saw in them
an analogy of our spiritual lives as well. As the new year begins, it is
time for a check-up of our spiritual vital signs.
How do we know if we are getting sick? We either shiver or run a fever.
Likewise, we now something is wrong with our spiritual life when we experience
the hot flashes of anger and hostility or the frigid feeling that nobody
cares. Relationships suffer irreparable damage if left untreated. We need
to take time to rebuild relationships by applying the salve of love and
the patience of listening. Confession may be part of the treatment and
forgiveness is part of the cure.
A second vital sign is respiration. It is our ability to breathe--to take
in and transfer oxygen to our blood stream and expel harmful gasses from
our body. Respiration to our body is what renewal is to our spirits. For
our spiritual life to grow and be healthy, we must renew ourselves through
regular worship, study and the fellowship of other devout saints in the
Pulse is the third vital sign in the medical examination. Pulse has to
do with both rate and rhythm of our heart. In other words, not only the
number of times the heart beats, but also the regularity of those muscle
contractions is important to a healthy body. In terms of our spiritual
health, the pulse is measured by our commitment to live out our faith in
our day-to day-activities. Commitment is made manifest in our attendance
in worship, church school , and auxiliary groups of the church to mention
a few. The spiritually healthy person is an involved participant in the
life and activities of the body of Christ because it is through these gatherings
that we receive nature, encouragement, fellowship, admonitions and mutual
caring and support. A person whose heart only beats twice a year would
not be considered a very healthy person any more than the Christian who
attends church only on Christmas and Easter. If your spiritual life feels
empty or inadequate, it may be from a lack of regular and frequent gathering
together of God's people for prayer, study and meditation.
The fourth vital sign of my body's heath is blood pressure. Blood pressure
is recorded in our medical chart as a series of two readings of millimeters
of mercury, such as 120 over 80. Spiritually, the reading might be read
in terms of desire over follow-through. The thrust of our spiritual arteries
must be measured in terms of mercy over sacrifice and genuine caring over
A healthy life requires regular check-ups, spiritually, as well as physically.
If we check the vital signs of the spirit and discover symptoms of ill
health, we need to lay them at the foot of Christ's cross and allow him
to bring healing and wholeness once again.
About the Author:
|Joseph Huse is pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church
in Minot, ND. Reverend Huse is a gourmet cook! He and his wife
Dinah are passionate about sharing their gifts with those in
their church and their community.