The Bible is graciously concise on its medical analysis of alive vs. not alive. Because knowing if you're breathing or not really should be a quick and dirty assessment, right? As in, I should be able to tell just by looking at you. And you at me.
Truth is, you can tell from just a glance. And so can I. Jesus and Paul are the ones who gave us some pretty clear definitions.
Jesus says, "You will know them by their fruit. A good true = good fruit; bad tree = bad fruit."
Paul elaborates a bit in Galatians 5. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." And then I love what he says after that: "Against such things there is no law." LOL, Paul. But I suppose it's good to put it out there. There is, in fact, no law against love, no regulation outlawing goodness, no celestial legislation coming through putting the kabosh on kindness and gentleness. Good thing. But then, I have a ways to go in all these areas. Hmmmm.
This is the vitals check for me. How am I doing in these areas?
- Am I growing in love for God and for others? (After all, Jesus said love fulfills the law.)
- Am I more joyful than I was on July 11, 2011? (That's last year at this time in case you don't have a calendar handy.)
- Do I live my life with greater peace than two years or even two weeks ago?
- Does my life overflow goodness and kindness to those around me?
- Am I hospitable, making time and space for ones who need it most?
- How is my patience? Or am I an angry person? (Sad face. Being a mom made me realize how impatient and short-fused I really am.
- Or am I developing a gentle heart and way toward ones who push my buttons?
- Am I quick to forgive or am I holding grudges?
- Do I keep the disciplines of reading and meditating on the Word, talking to God, enjoying him?
- Do I have a muzzle on my gossip and my bad talk or am I spewing venom about people I don't like?
- Do I value rest and quiet or am I persistently spazzing out with an endless agenda?
- Do I prioritize the people who are closest to me?
- Does John and Josh know they are so terribly dear to me, loved more than my heart can contain?
- Do I make my atmosphere cleaner, healthier and happier with my speech and my presence, or am I just wacky or worse, negative and clouding up the space with gunk?
Fortunately, Holy Spirit is in us and around, serving with such humility as our gentle teacher when we ask for help. And we really need it. I really need it. But the point here is, we're not on our own. This is not a self-help plan. This is life with God, a promise that we're never alone to work out our salvation. He is the one who starts the work, and he will finish it. As long as we keep coming back.
So plug in and take your vitals. How are you feeling? How are you doing? Ask the Spirit to show you where you low or need to grow. He would love to help.