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For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:6

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging on in our world, much discussion has been made about physical health and how to maintain it. What you may not be hearing about so much is the topic of spiritual health and the eternal consequences that are attached to it. If you are a Christian, someone who is saved by faith in Jesus Christ, your primary concern should be to keep your heart right with God. (Proverbs 4:23) Religion, on the other hand, is all about appearances and performance. Whenever discussion of spiritual health is brought up, you will most likely hear about religious activity such as church attendance, Bible reading and acts of service. Certainly those are good practices that we all should follow, but they are no guarantee of our heart being right with God. Jesus spoke most harshly to the Pharisees, the people who were very religious and who practiced attending services, reading of scripture and public acts of service. Jesus called these people vipers, white washed tombs and hypocrites who were condemned to hell. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because their religious acts were not based on faith and love, but on approval from people and worldly self gain under the guise of religion. The Bible teaches in Galatians that what we need to focus on is having faith in God that is rooted in love for Him and other people. ( faith and love) We need to check our spiritual health with questions like “Do I believe God loves me and has good purposes for everything in my life?” and “Do I trust that Jesus paid for all my sins on the cross and I am forgiven?”. Positive answers to those questions would be a good sign of your faith life being healthy; however, faith alone is not enough to fulfill God’s purposes for your life. God wants us to live motivated by love for Him and other people as Jesus taught in Matthew 22:37-40. While love can be emotional, it does not have to be. We can love by faith as we simply do what is best for others and sacrifice to help them as a way for us to honor God. We can love our enemies without “warm and fuzzy feelings” simply because we want to please God. No matter how great our faith is, if it is not based on love, God reveals it will be of no account in eternity as taught in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. We need both faith and love to be healthy spiritually. How are we doing in this? If we are honest, we may say some days are better than others. Life is fluid, not static, and each day brings new tests and challenges that can affect us in many ways, for good or bad. We must make the daily choice to put God’s will above our will. We need to think of this whole effort as a journey and not a destination. None of us will be complete and perfect until we meet God in Heaven and He finishes His good work in us. For now, we press on and keep growing in spiritual health while making necessary adjustments just like we do for our physical bodies in an ever changing world. Let God work in and through you as you surrender to Him each day and you will be surprised by the blessings that follow!

Pastor Gary Houdek