It may be time for an annual spiritual checkup

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century preacher, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. Throughout his lifetime, he added to his list, and when he died, he had 70 resolutions.

At the top of his list he wrote, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions…Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.” According to his biography, Edwards did a “self-check” each week. He regularly looked at how he was doing and asked God’s help in the process.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Mine usually include losing weight and exercising more. I once watched a TV program featuring Dr. Oz talking about living a healthy lifestyle. He told his audience about five numbers that could save a person’s life.

Dr. Oz said the first number you should know is your blood pressure – an ideal number is 115 over 75.  The second number to know is your waist-size, a number he said should be half your height. Your weight is a third important number, and Dr. Oz recommends weighing yourself once a week.

The fourth number on his list of numbers that could save your life is your cholesterol.   Your HDL cholesterol should be greater than 50 and LDL under 100. Your fasting blood sugar, the fifth number you need to know, should be less than 100, per Dr. Oz’s advice. I found similar recommendations on the Mayo Clinic website.

Reading about the need for physical fitness and annual check-ups started me wondering about a spiritual check-up. The C.S. Lewis Institute has published an “Annual Spiritual Check-up” based on Matthew 22:37-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Too often, in the busyness of our day-to-day lives, we let other priorities crowd out the

two highest priorities Jesus gave us,” the check-up reads. Then, there’s a list of questions for self-examination that cover various aspects of living the Christian life.

Here are just a few of them.  “Am I growing in my desire to obey and please God?  Do I obey out of gratitude for God’s love? Or from guilt or fear? Do I thank God every day for His love, grace and mercy…Am I treating others with the same grace God has shown me?

“Is there anyone among my family, friends, neighbors or co-workers that I refuse to forgive? Am I focusing part of my time and money to help the poor and disadvantaged?  Am I teaching my children about the importance of helping the poor?”

The Apostle Paul instructed that we should examine ourselves in regards to our faith.  C.S. Lewis once wrote, “A man’s spiritual health is exactly in proportion to his love for God.” Have you had your spiritual check-up?  Go to to consider how you’re exercising your faith.