Check Your Vitals – Theology Essay
“Are you living and breathing?” the doctor jokingly asked as he checked my vital signs. We may be breathing, but are we really living? When those trained in C.P.R. encounter someone in distress they immediately check their vital signs. As important as it is to check our physical well-being, it is even more vital to check our spiritual well-
being. Many people spend much time and energy in keeping physically fit, but neglect the vital spiritual dimension. God’s Word points out that, “Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (I Timothy 4:8). Check your vitals. Are you pursuing God or the gods of this world? Are you filled with pride or peace? Are you motivated by lust or love? Are you serving self or the Savior?
Millions viewed the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan. People have discussed why he was such a great and respected president. Most have concurred that President Reagan’s heart and attitude brought honor and respect from friends and foes alike. He was optimistic, kind, considerate, courageous, and humble. One historian remarked that many famous people have great egos but Ronald Reagan was a great man with a small ego. He exemplified biblical virtues. May all the citizens of the America that Ronald Reagan loved check their vitals for these virtues.
Jesus taught us the secret of true happiness and blessedness. In Matthew 5 he taught the BE-Attitudes. These attitudes fly in the face of “modern man”, and many American “religionists”. But they are attitudes of true spiritual health and vitality. Do you need an attitude check?
We would do well to invite God, like King David did, to examine our vitals. Note what David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV). “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
A wrong attitude can bring much heartache and destruction. Cain’s attitude led him to kill his brother and gave him the infamous distinction of being the first murderer in human history. He became angry because God received Abel’s sacrifice but not his. “So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’” (Genesis 4:6).
Cain illustrates what happens to people who sin and then deny or justify their attitudes and misbehavior. When we sin, fear, guilt, shame, anger, resentment, and loss of integrity follow. Some choose to sin, ignoring the consequences. But God in His mercy offers a way out. (See I Corinthians 10:12-13.) Cain didn’t take God’s warnings seriously. He could have avoided the tragedies that occurred. He lived a wasted life.
Mary Magdalene lived a life in bondage without hope. No one had to tell her that her way of living was taking her downhill fast. She knew changes had to be made or she was headed toward destruction. When Jesus offered the opportunity of liberation, forgiveness, and new life, she accepted and her life was rebuilt into something beautiful. (See Luke 7:27; 8:2.)
Check your vitals. Cain was stiff-necked and unrepentive. Mary was open, unfisted, and ready to submit. What about you? In his book Rebuilding Your Broken World, Gordon MacDonald reveals that he and his wife had to answer a significant question concerning their marriage, “Will you concentrate on the pain of this broken – world experience and resist it, OR will you permit the pain to become an environment in which God can clearly speak to you about matters He deems of ultimate importance? The choice is yours.”
What instruments do we use to check our vital signs? The Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5) and the Holy Scriptures gauge and empower our vitals. When you realize you have a wrong attitude you need a WORD WASH. Meditate on the Word. (See Ephesians 5:26.) The Word points us to Jesus. “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God. . . made himself of no reputation, taking the from of a bondservant. . . he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. . . and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” ( Philippians 2:5-11).
Perhaps you have checked your vitals and realize that you need more than CPR – you need a resurrection. Christ offers you a New Life. (See II Corinthians 5:17.) Confess your sins. Turn from them. Avoid them at all costs. Live with a forgiven, clean conscience. Don’t dwell on what God has forgiven. “If we confess our sins, He faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( John 1:9).