WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 20, 2021
TOPIC: SPIRITUAL CHECK-UP
BY T. O. BANSO
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5 New King James Version).
If you have not been doing a spiritual check-up of yourself, it’s time to do so. Many people have suffered from untimely death because they neglect their physical health. A comprehensive medical check-up in the hospital could have saved them. Some of them had money to undergo the tests required but they were negligent. Some of them procrastinated as they were busy with other concerns including their businesses. They had no time for an exercise that could have helped them to stay alive.
In the same way, many people engage in spiritual neglect. They don’t check up on the state of their spiritual health. Do you do regular spiritual self-examination? Do you frequently engage in spiritual check-ups to be sure your life is right with God?
2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified” (New King James Version).
During routine medical check-ups, some people have been diagnosed with some diseases and early detection saved them. Unfortunately, in some cases, life-threatening diseases were detected too for a medical solution. In the two circumstances, some of the persons involved might not have been previously aware they had any disease. But medical check-ups revealed the true state of their health.
Spiritual check-ups will help you to know the state of your spiritual health and save you from untimely spiritual death. Many people are spiritually sick, but they don’t know it. Some are full of spiritual activities, but they might have backslid without knowing it.
Backsliding is a thing of the heart. Some pastors might have backslid, but are still preaching. Likewise, some church workers and other Christians might have backslid, but they don’t miss church programmes! They could be very active in the church but are backsliders. Anyone can backslide. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says if you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin that others have fallen into.
Non-believers don’t backslide because they have never been saved. It’s a Christian who can backslide. Truly, the term “backsliding” is not found in the New Testament but we can learn from the Old Testament what the Bible says about it with regard to the Israelites. For example, Jeremiah 14:7 says, “O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many, we have sinned against You” (New King James Version).
From this scripture, we can say that a backslider is a Christian who is sinning either privately or publicly. He is a Christian committing a sin that causes him or her to cease being a vibrant Christian but lukewarm. Does that describe your condition? Do a spiritual check-up.
Examine your heart today because backsliding is a thing of the heart. In most cases, others only later see the outward manifestations in a backslider. Backsliding first takes place in the heart. “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above” (Proverbs 14:14 New King James Version).
Physical signs of backsliding in a backslider become evident after the person has backslid in the heart. We find this example in King Solomon. “So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice” (1 Kings 11:9 New King James Version).
Solomon disobeyed God because his heart had turned from the LORD, which the LORD had warned the Israelites against. “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods. ‘Solomon clung to these in love’” (1 Kings 11:2 New King James Version). Solomon’s heart turned away from the LORD to foreign gods,
Have you backslid by turning away or turning back from the Lord? Has your love for God waxed cold? If this is true, you have backslid and you need to repent and return to the Lord. The Ephesian church was guilty of leaving her first love and the Lord told her, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5 New King James Version).
Have you stopped running the Christian race but have joined the world in their rat race? Maybe you used to be a worker in church but you have ceased to work for God. You have backslid. “But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62 New King James Version). Repent and return to the Lord.
Have you returned to your old sin? Returning to your vomit is a manifestation of spiritual sickness. This is backsliding. “As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11 New King James Version). The Bible calls Christians the salt of the earth, but do you still retain your flavor? “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13 New King James Version). Also, the Bible says Christians are the light of the world (verse 14). But is your light shining or you’re full of darkness? Repent and return to the Lord.
Do spiritual a check-up today? Identify the sin in your life. It could be spiritual pride. In other words, you are focusing on your works and not the works of Christ on the cross that saved you.
Your sin could be a lack of hunger for the Word of God. Probably you can go for days without private reading or studying the Word of God and still feel comfortable about it. This is backsliding.
Have seemingly harmless worldly pleasures such as games and sports, recreational activities, favourite TV programmes, and the likes become more important to you than prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual activities? “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man” (Proverbs 21:17a New King James Version).
Do you justify your sin or don’t feel guilty when you sin? Do you tolerate or condone sin in fellow believers? A Christian should love sinners, including sinning Christians, but hate sin. Are you controlled by the flesh? Are you manifesting in your life the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:19-23). These are signs of spiritual illness. They’re signs of backsliding.
Do you have an obsession with money, worldly goods, fashion, etc? This is worldliness and a sign of spiritual illness (1 Timothy 6:10; Ecclesiastes 5:10; Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; Matthew 16:26; 1 John 2:15-17). You have backslid and you must repent and return to the Lord.
Probably you are living a hypocritical life or a double life. If you enjoy the company of sinners while maintaining a form of godliness among believers, you’re spiritually sick.
Examine yourself today. Do a spiritual check-up. And maybe you already know what is wrong with you. Confess, repent, and forsake it. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10 New King James Version).
Those who are God’s children do not continue sinning, because the new life from God remains in them; they are not able to go on sinning, because they have become children of God (1 John 3:9). God said about Israel, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him” (New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my sins today, forsake them, and return to You. Father, heal my backsliding. Holy Spirit, help me to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in my life and not the works of the flesh. Help me to keep standing in the faith and not fall. Holy Spirit, touch the heart of every backslider so that they will repent, confess and forsake their sins, and return to the Lord.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947