Assumptions Can Be Spiritually Dangerous

We’ve probably all been burnt by making assumptions—about health, our cars, our houses, our jobs, our relationships. When we assume everything is all good without checking on it, we can get into serious trouble.

20 years, two knees and two hips ago I was a runner. I loved being in the forests of the Northwest so much I took up running on the trails. At one point I was averaging 50 miles a week, and frequently ran the distance of a marathon each Saturday just for training purposes. I was in great shape! I ate well, my weight was perfect. I knew I was one of the healthiest people around, so I didn’t bother with annual check-ups, even though I got nagging notices from my doctor’s office.

When I finally went in to see him because of allergies, it turned out my blood pressure was through the ceiling. I had already done damage to my kidneys and was told my blood pressure was high enough to put me at risk for a stroke!

I was not only not functioning in a healthy way, I was in serious danger and I didn’t even know it because I assumed I was healthy!

When I had been in ministry over 30 years I found I was doing the same thing spiritually—with my own spiritual health, and that of my congregation. As a leadership we were committed to making mature disciples. But we were assuming we were successful. When one of my elders asked how we knew we were being effective, I could only quote our attendance and giving numbers, and cite some specific people’s stories. I had to admit that for the most part, I was assuming.

This led us to search the scriptures for the metrics that would tell us we were making healthy and mature disciples of Jesus. We found that they are there, and pretty obvious. There are certain aspects of spiritual health that everyone agrees are essential to a disciple. But we weren’t talking about these with our people. Again, we were just assuming they were growing and healthy in these areas.

We began to sit down systematically with every person (or couple) in the church and talk about where they were with regard to worship (the 24/7 kind as well as congregational worship), prayer, Bible study, serving (inside and outside of the church), relationships, giving, and sharing their faith. What we found changed the ministry of that church, and the way I have done ministry ever since.

In 2019 I founded a ministry called The Essential Faith Project, dedicated to assisting the Church in making, assessing and strengthening disciples. One of our main resources is a computerized assessment of spiritual health. That assessment is now available for individuals and marriages, and churches can use it to gain data on where their people are as a whole with regard to the essentials of spiritual health.

We no longer need to assume we or our people are healthy spiritually or have spiritually strong marriages. We can use this simple tool to know—and to guide us in making adjustments that will allow us to be healthy when we aren’t!

I encourage anyone who calls Jesus Lord—and especially church leaders—to check out this resource at For more information on how it can be used, we invite you to view the video link in this article.

Know Jesus and Be Faithful!   

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