What does it mean to be spiritually healthy? Let’s get a little more specific: Were you spiritually healthy yesterday?
Answering this question is easy. Sure, it’s a little personal, but coming up with an honest answer is something most of us could do without much effort.
The next question goes a little deeper: Why did you give that answer? How do you gage your spiritual health?
Answering this question is tough. You could skip it by thinking, “My spiritual health is based on how I feel.” It takes courage and hard work to come up with a wise answer that’s based on scripture.
The first 10 verses of John 15 uses the word “REMAIN” 11 times–that’s a lot! And it’s not like John lost his Jerusalem Thesaurus, he was intentional with his language. It’s clear that remaining in Jesus is important. But what does it actually mean to remain in him? According to Jesus, there are clear evidences of maintaining a healthy connection with him. We can move beyond guessing about our spiritual health, we can know with confidence. In this passage, we find at least four evidences:
Bearing Fruit — “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (v. 4).
A healthy vine bears fruit, that is it’s purpose. In this passage, Jesus doesn’t specifically describe what fruit looks like. The Bible has a lot to say about bearing fruit, Galatians 5:22-23 is a popular passage. Sticking with this text, we can know we are remaining in Jesus when we do what he created us to do.
Jesus’ Words In Us — “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you” (v.7).
We are spiritually healthy when God’s Word is on our minds. This could be reading (or listening to) the Bible, memorizing a scripture, or meditating on a verse. If we go a whole day or a week without thinking about Jesus’ words, we are missing the mark.
Answered Prayers — “Ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (v.7).
Remember, context is always important when understanding scripture. This promise assumes that we are remaining in Jesus, bearing fruit and keeping Jesus’ words in us. Answered prayer is also evidence of remaining in Jesus. When was the last time you asked for something from God and received it? This is one way you can know you are remaining in him.
Obedience — “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love” (v.10)
Obedience is the foundation for remaining in Jesus, everything in the spiritual life begins and ends with obedience. This is not a matter of earning God’s favor, as Jesus say earlier in this passage, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (v. 3). We can know if we are remaining in Jesus if we do what he tells us to do.
Consider your yesterday: Did you bear fruit? Did you keep Jesus’ words close? Were any of your prayers answered? Ultimately, did you obey Jesus?