The 19th century Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “You may judge a man by what he groans after.”
The biblical metaphor of the church as a ‘bride’ is a rather awkward one… However, the thing about metaphors is that they are used to highlight a particular aspect of the illustration…
Growth in love to other people is a mark of spiritual health.
Do you feel thirsty for God? Whether it is because you are far from God and long for him, or because you are instead close to him but thirsty for more, this thirst is a sign of spiritual life, and an indicator of health.
Spiritual health refers to the wellbeing of the life of the soul – whether it is alive or dead, thriving or anaemic, growing or shrivelling.
How naturally does rejoicing spring forth from your faith? The third of the blessings arising from being justified in Christ in Romans 5:1-2 is ‘hope of the glory of God’. This is something that ‘we rejoice’ in.
How do you relate to God? I have heard it said that Christians can either relate to God like a ‘son’, or like a ‘servant’.
Evangelical Christianity has traditionally been very strong on the fact that through faith in Jesus Christ they are justified, or acquitted from the guilt of their sin. But I think we are not so strong on remembering the fruits of that justification.
The short New Testament letter called First John gives a series of ‘tests’ by which Christians (real or professed) can check whether their faith is genuine, rather than sham or superficial. The first of these so-called ‘tests’ is that of obedience.
When I first wrote this and posted it on Facebook it created quite a stir. This illustrated two things: 1. We really do value rights more highly than responsibilities, and 2. a valid point can be destroyed by a poorly chosen illustration!