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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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TIME FOR A CHECK-UP

We live in a health conscious world. We are encouraged to watch what we eat and to exercise regularly. We are also told to get regular check-ups. Sadly, many care for their physical health, but never check on their spiritual health. One purpose of the Bible school is to help us get a "spiritual check-up." Just as a doctor examines our bodies, we must examine our souls and look for problems (2 Cor. 13:5; 3 Jn. 2). Just as a physical check-up can often catch a problem before it gets too far along, a spiritual check-up can catch things before they bring about spiritual death.

WE NEED TO CHECK OUR EARS. A doctor tests hearing; we must test our spiritual hearing (2 Tim. 4:4). Hearing helps us grow in faith (Rm. 10: 17) and knowledge ( 2 Pet. 1: 5 3:18). Some common "hearing problems:"

* Some are "hard of hearing" (Mt. 13:5; Acts 28:27; Heb. 5:11; 2 Chron. 24:19). They resist the truth (Acts 7:51-55) and retreat from its hard teachings (Jn. 6:60-66).

* Some have completely stopped up their ears (Zec. 7: 11; Acts
7:57; cf. Neh. 8:1-3). They have rejected the Word (Acts 28:23-29) and rebelled against God (Ezek. 33:30-33).

A good hearer:
* Responds to God's Word (2 Sam. 7:17-29). 0- Repents at rebuke (2 Sam. 12:12, 13).

* Rejoices to learn (Acts 13:48).

* Researches further (Acts 17:11). We need to go to lengths to protect -physical hearing from loud  music and machinery  and our spiritual hearing from false teaching (Lk. 8:18).

WE NEED TO CHECK OUR EYES. A doctor tests our eyesight. Spiritual eyesight is also very important. It helps us to see the devil's traps and avoid them (2 Cor. 2:11). It helps us see opportunities and take advantage of them (Jn. 4:35; Gal. 6: 10). Some problems which affect spiritual eyesight:

Some lose their ability to see "afar off' (2 Pet. 1:9). Cannot see afar off is all one word in Greek (myopazon) and is only found here in the New Testament. It comes from myops, "shortsighted." We get our word myopia from it. What is near can be seen-the world with its desires of the flesh and eye, and the pride or vain glory of life (1 Jn. 2:15-17), but eternal things can't be seen (2 Cor. 4:18). With a myopic (myopadzo) squint, the worldly person grasps only that which is close at hand. In his spiritual amnesia,  he forgets the suffering of his Savior. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, seeing only the near (Gen. 13:12). The rich man neglected Lazarus as a begger who could not benefit him, not realizing that helping him would have laid up treasures in heaven (Lk. 16:19-21; Mt. 6:19-21). Demas was dazzled by the nearat-hand attractiveness of this present age (2 Tim. 4: 10).

Some are "far-sighted" (hyperopia). The eyes of the fool are in the ends of the earth (Prov. 17:24). The prodigal son got the "far country" in his eyes and could not see how good he had it (Lk. 15:11-24). This is the person who cannot appreciate present blessings, who are restless and dissatisfied even with abundance. Some men would work in the kingdom "if only they could be at a big church with big programs" or "in a foreign missionary field" not remembering that Jesus said, "In as much as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me" (Mt. 25:45).

We may go into a trance dreaming of worlds to conquer while at  our very doors and within our homes the Master is hungry and sick and in prison (cf. Mt. 25). At a religious convention in Pittsburg some years ago, a young woman from a western village sought funds to remain in Pittsburg and do social welfare work.  When the committee in charge inquired of the work she had been doing at home, it came out that she had never done anything.  The chairman said, "Young lady, what you need is to learn how to move in your own burg before you move to Pittsburg!"

Great spiritual opportunities do not lie at the foot of some rainbow, but here, not upon some nebulous tomorrow, but now. As Paul put it: "The word that is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach" (Rm. 10:8).

* Some get something in their eyes (Lk. 6:42; 2 Pet. 2:14).

* Some have "blind spots" (Mk. 8:18). "Blind" in 2 Peter 1:9 means "self-blinded, closing his eyes to the light; contracting the eyelids, as one who cannot see clearly."

* Some become completely blind (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Jn. 2:11).

Christ recommends "eye salve" for vision problems (Rev. 3:17). He can open blinded eyes (Eph. 1: 18; cf. Jn. 9:1-4 1).

WE NEED TO CHECK OUR MOUTHS. When we go to the doctor, he usually says, "Open up and say, 'Ah."' The tongue can give clues to more serious problems. We need to check our tongues (Prov. 12:18; 13:17; Jas. 3:6). Some common spiritual speech ailments:

* Curses (Psa. 10:7).
* Lies (Psa. 63:11; 109:2).
* Corrupt communication (Eph. 4:29).
* Talebearing (Prov. 18:8).

Proper speech includes teaching the lost (1 Pet. 3:15), prayer (I Thes. 5:17), and singing praises (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19).

WE NEED TO CHECK OUR HEARTS. A doctor pulls out his stethoscope and listens to our hearts in a routine check-up. If we have heart trouble, then we have serious problems. There are some problems which can affect our spiritual heart, too.

* They can become hardened (Zec. 7:12; Mk. 3:5; 10:5; 16:14; Jn. 12:40; Rm. 2:5; Heb. 3:8).

* They can become sick and faint (Isa. 1:5; Lam. 5:17; Mt. 13:15; Acts 28:27). If the heart is sick, it may need to be pricked (Acts 2:37).

* They can slow down (Lk. 24:25). Hearts need to be exercised (cf. I Tim. 4:8; Heb. 5:14).

A "enlarged" heart is unhealthy physically, but is good for the spiritual heart (Psa. 119:32). Our hearts are extremely important to our spiritual health. We are to love God with all our hearts (Mk. 12:30; Deut. 26:16; 1 Kgs. 2:4). Only the pure in heart shall see God (Mt. 5:8). We must obey from the heart (Rm. 6:17; Eph. 6:6). We must love our brethren with a pure heart fervently (I Pet. 1:22).

Healthy hearts are:

* Circumcised (Rom. 2:29).
* Clean (Psa. 73: 1).
* Confident (Psa. 112:7,8).
* Contrite (Psa. 51:17).

How is your health? The Great Physician's office is always open (Mk. 2:17; Lk. 5:3 1).

Source:  “Inspire”
Jacksonville church of Christ
Jacksonville, Alabama