Taking Inventory for God
It happens at least once a year--that occasion when we take a moment to step back and evaluate things. Maybe we call it New Year’s Resolutions, maybe it is spring cleaning, maybe it is just a moment when things slow sufficiently in this “busy” world we live in so that we can just take a look and get rid of some old stuff. These actions allow us to function better and in a more comfortable way. As a school teacher, I find myself going through such an occasion annually as I close off a section of my life for a summer (my classroom). I can put the past and present on hold until the cycle restarts with the next school year. These are types of activities needed on a regular basis but that instead more often occur on a haphazard schedule as their may be time and opportunity along with a triggering event.
As Christians, we must recognize these are occasions that should have parallels in character evaluation of an even more imperative sort.
A danger for Christians is that we might not do this enough. Perhaps we find our ambition and service to the Lord becomes sacrificed to a too comfortable lifestyle. Maybe we’ve allowed ourselves to accept so many things “to be beyond our control” that we fail to maintain control over those things which we do control and dare not shirk. Worse yet, maybe we actually believe it is okay to live in a “gray” area. After all if God does not expressly condemn it, it must be okay.
As Christians we must continue to remember our fundamental beliefs and understanding. We believe God is our father, Christ His son, and that Jesus is our savior. We are told by God that if we wish to be treated as his children we must draw near to him and desire to be more like him. For this to happen we must always be willing to learn and obey. (Ephesians 5:1-7)
What materials are we to work with? A remembrance of Genesis shows us that we are made in the likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). What a joy, a blessing, to be like our Creator. We are able to make choices ourselves and having the ability to act upon our moral convictions.
We are also reminded in the New Testament that we are all parts of one greater body. We are to be one body with many functions all leading to the greater service of our Father. I Corinthians 12:12-26 illustrates that though we are each different and capable of varying abilities we are to work together to accomplish the greater tasks of one unified body. While we work together we are also to strengthen and edify one another.
How is our devotion? Do we study the Lord and the life we are to live? There is an expression--"experience is the greatest teacher." While it is true that any fool can observe an experience we must really understand that a wise person is required in order to take a proactive approach to minimize risk and danger before it is even encountered. Psalms 111:2-4 reminds us that the wisdom of God is eternally righteous, enduring forever and should be studied by those who delight in him.
With study comes understanding. We understand that we are to be different from this world in which we live. Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:11-12 that we are but here for a time and though subject to the desires of this world, there is need to continue to glorify our God so we too may be ready to meet him on that day of visitation. This is not to say we must isolate ourselves from this world but rather we are reminded to purify ourselves as a precious element in service to our Lord as spoken of in
James. Without knowledge, without an understanding, there can be no appropriate application of God's will to our lives.
How is our adherence to the Law? Where the Lord is clear there is no debate, we know the punishment. Even in the Old Testament this was all too clear. Leviticus 26:14-39 demonstrates that the expectation of God for His people. If the directions of God are not kept foremost that punishment is to follow.
What about those “gray” areas? There are those who argue that our God is a loving God. It’s true, He is. Our God will forgive all, we need only ask. This message is clear and one we can take the comfort expressed in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Once again we know what is written is true, God has expressed so himself. The question remains, why must it be absolute? If you ask this question, another must be answered as well. What is the motivation for even treading in this gray area? The Lords commands are in no way deceptive. His love for us in no way untrue. Once again, looking at I John 1: 1-10 we find a promise of forgiveness but also a direction to walk in the light. All creatures know light from dark--there is no ambiguity. Even plants thrive – only in the light. Life without it is impossible. Should we not also respond accordingly and thrive in the light? Every motive is to be pure, every ambition should be to serve in the wholeness of God.
Self-evaluation is vital if we are to be found pleasing to God in the last day. Even though our daily trials may seem trite and unimportant they prepare us for the great day of anticipation when our Lord shall come again.
We thank the Lord for the life he has given us.