To be healthy, you need a balanced diet of the four food groups. To be spiritually healthy, you need a balanced spiritual diet as well. It's important we don't all focus on one food group, our favorite. We need to take a look at our spiritual diet and see if it's balanced.
1. Relationship with God
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: '"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"
God is intended to be the absolute center of our lives. No contest. This comes from our gratitude for all that he has done for us
1 Cor. 15:9-10
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
2. Relationship with Family
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Our commitment to our family comes directly from our commitment to God
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Our commitment to our children comes directly from our marriage commitment.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise -- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Need to be intense about our commitment to our families, parents as well:
1 Tim. 5:3-8
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
3. Relationship with the Church
Can't seek God without the church. Christianity is a religion of relationships.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Have to seek the kingdom first as an essential part of our commitment to Christ. This involves commitment to one another in relationships.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
1 John 3:16-18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 4:19-21
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
4. Relationship with the Lost
Finally, we have a commission from Christ to share with those around us
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Although this isn't our first priority, it's our commission, our purpose from God
1 Cor. 9:19-22
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
Just like our love for one another, our fruit shows us to be disciples of Christ
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. f you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
Need to determine to eat liberally of the four spiritual food groups in the new year. We're all good at some of these areas. What's God's vision for us?
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Spiritual Inventory and New Year’s Planning Guide
Give yourself one extra point for each category, and evaluate yourself 1 through 3 on each topic within each category (1=weak, 2=average, 3=strong). A "perfect" score in each category is 25 points, and a "perfect" total score is 100 points, but nobody's perfect! Remember, this is not intended to be legalistic or guilt-inducing, but to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and determine where to focus in planning for the New Year!
Relationship with God
I. Knowledge of the Word
II. Personal faith in the heart
III. Daily Bible study (consistency/effectiveness)
IV. Daily prayer (consistency/effectiveness)
V. Zeal and joy for God
VI. Personal righteousness and purity
VII. Sacrifice and lifestyle
VIII. Understanding the deeper truths
Relationship with your Family
I. Daily prayer with your spouse
II. Family devotionals (consistency/effectiveness)
III. Spirituality of your family
IV. Character development of your children
V. Relationship with other relatives
VI. Schedule and priorities
VII. Serving others together as a family
VIII. Spiritual perspective on your work life
Relationship with the Church
I. Commitment to church activities
II. Discipling relationships (consistency)
III. Discipling relationships (effectiveness)
Quality of your fellowship at church activities
V. Depth of relationships with others
VI. Serving and volunteering in the church
VII. Hospitality and giving to others
VIII. Closeness of relationships within the Family Group
Relationship with the Lost
I. Frequency of contact with non-Christians
II. Number and quality of invitations
III. Following up with non-Christian contacts
Relationship building with non-Christians
V. Focus on non-Christians in the fellowship
VI. Involvement in studies with non-Christians
VII. Overall effectiveness (personal fruitfulness)
VIII. Understanding of how to lead others to Christ