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Posts Tagged ‘2 Corinthians 13:5’

A Personal and Spiritual Inventory

January 7th, 2015

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV.

Be aware of the priorities and practices important to Christian life and faith.

My thoughts and comments today are about a “personal and spiritual inventory.”

While in college, I worked at a drug store tracking inventory, stocking shelves, and delivering orders to hospitals and care facilities. Taking inventory was my least favorite task. Counting every item on the shelves was laborious. An inventory revealed products no longer in reserve that would be needed, reducing potential sales and possibly disappointing customers. Also, inventory revealed things on the shelf that were no longer useful, taking up space, gathering dust, and wasting capital.

With the benefit of life experience, I now realize that taking inventory is valuable for a business, and even more essential for your life. The New Year is an opportunity to take a personal and spiritual inventory. Paul instructed the Christians at Corinth, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV. Welcome the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. You will discover what you need and don’t have or what you have and don’t need.

Like those stock room shelves, there is much that you and I accumulate along the way. A few of those thing may have seemed helpful at one time, but are no longer. Others are more hurtful than helpful – always were; still are. Consider such things as wrong opinions, old habits, secret sins, prejudices, disappointments, painful memories, attitudes, hurts, grudges, guilt, regrets, and unforgiveness. Those never were useful and are now just emotional and spiritual clutter. You may not be storing all of those, but you likely will find yourself holding on to a few of them on occasions. As the song from Disney’s Frozen advises, “Let it go!”

Self-examination can expose your need for graces and strengths, not as well stocked as once they were while you assume they are. Be aware of the priorities and practices important to Christian life and faith that once were plentiful in your character and activities. Are you ever surprised to discover you haven’t possessed some character qualities you thought you did. The worst kind of deception is self-deception. Humbly and sincerely pray as did David, ”Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV.

In your heart, do you still find ample inventory of: Godly dreams, holy aspirations, fervent love, authentic trust, enthusiasm, patience, obedience, engagement with God’s Word, fullness of the Spirit, or a heart of assurance? Peter reasoned, “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance Godliness, to Godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.“ See 2 Peter 1:3-11.

The Bible provided timeless and invaluable counsel for followers of Jesus then, and still is guidance for you today. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23. I’m glad I learned the importance of an accurate, personal and spiritual inventory. ”Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in Heaven” Lamentations 3:4041.

Today, my prayer for you is for an honest and frequent appraisal of all issues of your heart.

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Final Exams

September 27th, 2010

“Examine yourself to see if your faith is really genuine.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

“A personal, spiritual exam reveals who you are authentically before God.”

My thoughts today are about “final exams.”

Who goes eagerly to the doctor for their annual medical check-up? What business eagerly awaits the company’s financial audit? You may recognize they are necessary, even important, but can seem inwardly afraid of what they might reveal. When shying away from facing truth, realize you cannot fix something that you do not know needs fixing. There is failure if you do not?

Though more than four decades ago, I still remember the instantaneous anxiety produced by my arrival at a college course after too many needless absences, only to find that minutes later the class would be taking a major mid-term exam. I was unprepared for the exam and what it would reveal. I never wanted to feel that way again.

It is wise and profitable to stop periodically and examine how things are going, to consider how you are doing. Is life working for you? Are you making progress, standing still, or losing ground? “The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Socrates, ancient Greek philosopher, 470-399 BC). Those words seem as true today!

Businesses need honest examination occasionally, regularly even, as do churches, friendships, marriages, families, and individuals. Any and all can fail if assumptions are not tested. Many people are more inclined to examine other people, not so excited about self-examination. Best to leave others to themselves and God! You will have your hands full with just yourself, most likely.

Whatever else requires examination, always begin with the Bible’s advice, “Examine yourself to see if your faith is really genuine.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT. And where do you start? Start with an honest evaluation of your relationship with God. Is your faith really genuine? Your subjective bias requires help from the reliable objectivity of the Word of God as your standard, and the Holy Spirit for counsel and conviction. Read John 16:7-11 NLT.

Your goal is not justifying to God how good you are, nor groveling in any false guilt of how bad you are, and definitely not comparing yourself for better or worse with anyone else (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV). A personal, spiritual exam is for you to know your heart – to know just who you are authentically before God. How can you know that without inviting God to show you? “Put me on trial, Lord, and cross examine me. Test my motives and affections. For I am constantly aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth.” Psalm 26:2-3 NLT. See Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

Here is the only final grade that matters, from the One who always judges righteously. The Bible says this is how you prepare, “If we examine ourselves, we will not be examined by God and judged in this way. But when we are judged and disciplined by the Lord, we will not be condemned by the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 NLT. Read Romans 14:10-12 NIV/1 Corinthians 3:12-17 NIV. This is the final exam for which you must prepare every day! “Well done!” is what you want to hear from your Lord.

My prayer for you today is that your heart is ever open and true before the Lord.

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