Evaluating your Spiritual Stocks

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; Prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5 From time to time it’s helpful to reflect, evaluate and test ourselves on all the major aspects of our life, particularly our spiritual lives. Another year will soon pass by and it’s also high time for spiritual stock taking.  This is essential for growth and development. It enables you to look back and use your findings to estimate your present position. Have you taken your spiritual stock for year 2011? How was your Christian walk with the Lord in the year? Have you grown and matured in faith to become more Christ-like than before? Where did you start? Where are you now?

As Jesus took spiritual stock of the Ephesus Church, he said a few commendable things and also made an important correction: “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." The church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1–7), started well, but along the way because of pressure, over confidence, negligence, or other vices, lost the vision and passion for the Lord. Their labour gradually came to be merely mechanical.  They have put service for the Lord ahead of love, devotion, and fellowship with Him. They moved away from their original position of devotion and fervour for the Savior by a gradual departure from the faith.

Jesus in Revelation 2:1-7 gives them a 3-step process and solution for spiritual stocktaking and renewal of their first love. The first step is to Remember (vs. 5). This is a call to reflect, to go back and recall the past and truly recognize one’s true condition. The psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 asked for God’s help to assess his behaviour and heart, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” The psalmist recognized that he needed God’s help in pointing out flaws in his lifestyle and shortcomings in his heart. Only God and His love can cause us to change, nothing else. Can you remember and recall your fall?

The second step is to Repent (vs. 5). The Greek word for repent is metanoew which means more than saying sorry or feeling bad about your mistakes. It means a change in mind or purpose, to change one’s decision. It means to recognize one’s previous decision or condition as wrong, and to accept and move toward a new and right path in its place. Repentance includes confession of sin with a view to stopping the bad behaviour so that it can be replaced with what is right. There is no better time to repent than now. Make the New Year 2012 to be a new beginning with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The third step is to Renew (vs. 5). “Do the deeds you did at first.” This is not just a call to more Christian service or to renewed Christian activity.  To renew means to restore your love for the Lord Jesus Christ. To renew means to get refocused and live for Jesus and to be occupied with Christ. This is a call to true fellowship with God and to experience His joy, peace and love in your lives. The joy and blessing of living a renewed and Christ-filled life is many. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Dear brethren, Have you taken spiritual stock for year 2011? What are your godly desires and resolutions for 2012? May the Lord help you to grow in His grace and knowledge in the coming year.

In His Love,

Pastor Mathews