A few weeks ago, I experienced a medical emergency.
Thankfully, the most common responses from others were prayer and loving care. However, once the concern and well wishes were over, the response was, "How could this happen to you? You are young and look healthy."
The answer is pretty simple. The causes were poor diet, lack of exercise and family genes. Since then, I've been eating healthier and exercising more.
This whole situation reminds me of the spiritual condition many of us are in.
First, sometimes it takes an emergency to make us aware of our true, spiritual health. It happened to the runaway son (Luke 15) and to King David (2 Samuel 12).
In both cases, it took extremely difficult circumstances to wake them up to the reality that they were far from God.
Second, we can look spiritually healthy, but be completely unhealthy. Looks can be deceiving (Luke 7:21-23).
Because we go to church, post spiritual things on social media and are involved in philanthropy, we may appear to have a close relationship with God. But, underneath the facade, we may be very unhealthy because of a poor diet of worldly entertainment, a lack of spiritual disciplines and the continuation of bad habits passed on to us by our families.
Third, living a spiritually healthy life will take a new mindset and new habits.
Christianity turns the tables here. Because of God's grace offered through faith, we are declared spiritually healed and healthy (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We pursue a spiritually healthy lifestyle because we are already healthy in God's eyes, not to become healthy in His eyes. We do the work out of thankfulness, not obligation.
So we do the hard work of living for God even if it's tough and discouraging at first. It takes time to develop new habits and to build spiritual muscle.
In Colossians 3, Paul urges the Christians to "put to death" and get "rid" of their old, unhealthy habits and to "put on the new self" and "clothe" themselves with the habits of Jesus. May God's Spirit empower us to live the life God has called us to live.
All wake-up calls are jarring, like an alarm clock. Some people wake up and get moving. Many will continue to snooze. It's why Jesus says to many: "Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God." (Revelation 3:2)
Jeremy Walden is pastor of Mosaic Family Church, a nondenominational church in Auburn, and teaches Family Communication at Auburn University.