I recently had a friend tell me that “Jesus is not about taking dirty people and making them clean. He is about taking spiritually dead people and making them alive.” I have a habit of writing quotes down in my notes in my phone so that I can ponder them later. When I heard that, I pulled out my phone, wrote that down and then thought about it.
Often times, the situations and actions of our past make us feel “dirty.” We feel like we don’t measure up to the Christian attitudes or culture the world wants us to emulate. What we don’t consider many times is that it isn’t the dirtiness that Jesus is concerned with, it’s the spiritual condition of our heart.
So how do we measure the spiritual condition of our hearts? How do we put aside opinions of the world or our own feelings of uncleanliness and focus on our personal spiritual growth? I think Paul gives us an example of a spiritual litmus test.
The first question to ask yourself is: “Does what I’m doing benefit me spiritually?” The apostle Paul once said, “All things are permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Even though certain things are permissible, they still weigh us down by tearing us away from God and His people or by dulling our hunger for God’s Word. Use this question to determine if your actions or thoughts are beneficial to your spiritual growth. Even though no one is there telling you not to do something, is it truly beneficial for you?
The second question you want to pose is, “Does this thing bring me under its power?” Paul provided us with this principle, when he said, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any,” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Perhaps you are under the power of something. It’s not that it is a bad thing in and of itself, but it might be that you have had so much of it that it is beginning to control your life. We want to avoid those things. We want to be under the power of Christ and Christ alone.
The final question of the litmus test pertains to the gray areas in life. When those times come our way, we must ask, “Do I have an uneasy conscience about what I am doing?” To put it scripturally, when these situations arise, remember the words of Paul, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23). If your gut is telling you something is off about a situation, maybe it’s your spirit asking you to reconsider.
You see, wise Christians constantly take inventory of their lives and avoid whatever aspects of life that can hurt their spiritual walk. Be wise and take inventory of your walk with God. Remember, Jesus wants to take your spirit and make it alive. He wants to make sure your heart is healthy and thriving.