The people's voice of reason

Gut Check Time

In the thirteen years that I have been writing

these Robservations for the Gazette, this is the first

time that I am writing an “in your face” religious

column, if you will. Although I am sure my leanings come out many times

in my writings, this was never intended to be the purpose of my Robservations

column. I must admit that this Christmas Season has been a little challenging

for me. Not so much with issues in my own home but I see many things

that given the opportunity and if allowed, they can take my focus away from

what is important. Whether it be the contentious divorce of my best friend

who lives in another state, the economy, health of several fellow church

members, the absolute incompetent hash this administration continues to

make out of our southern border, Israel vs. Hamas or war in the Ukraine,

there are many things that can be used to take our attention off what God

intends for us.

This Robservation is not intended to preach to anybody. If you are

a non-believer reading this, okay. If you are a believer, okay as well. This

not intended to push any buttons or to point a self-righteous crooked finger

at anybody. This is simply a tool that I found many years ago that I try to

use as a personal gut check to see where I stand with God and my walk with

Him. Simple. Nothing nefarious here. Several years ago before COVID hit,

several guys from our church did a bi-weekly prison ministry and one night

I taught on this subject.

This “Inventory of the Heart” can be found online and the first place I

ever saw it over a decade ago was in Ronnie Floyd’s The Power of Prayer and

Fasting. Again, the purpose of this “inventory” is not to pit us against one another

but to take an personal and honest look at how we stack up against God’s

uncompromising standard. Although certainly not comprehensive, this inventory

is nevertheless a great place to start a private self-examination. Ephesians

4:1 tells us that we are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which

you have been called.” The word worthy in Greek is axios which means

“appropriately, after a godly sort or worthily.” We are called to live a sanctified

life; a life in which we strive daily to become more Christlike. And no, it is

not easy.

I always marvel at people who point accusatory fingers at Christians

and say stupid things like, “I saw you do this” or “I know you did that.” Yes.

Absolutely, every single Christian on planet Earth today will “miss it” at some

level at some time. And for many, this is an everyday occurrence. Uhhhhh,

we are human and matter whether we strive for perfection, none of us are. That

is what the blood is for. Mess up, fess up and get under the blood. At the same

time, that doesn’t give us the heretical antinomian doctrine that releases

Christians from observing moral law because of God’s grace. Although God’s

grace is unlimited, to argue that one can sin-repent-sin again and repeat misses

the entire point entirely. Although salvation is NOT dependent upon our earthly

works, as Christians our daily walk should show evidence of said salvation.

A holy and sanctified life should be our daily goal.

If you complete this “inventory” and take an honest look at yourself,

you may be surprised at what you find. I will take a leap and say most “will”

be surprised. When I taught this lesson, I did an honest assessment and reported

that I was at best a C student. Many of the 54 questions arranged in 13 areas,

are piercing. But remember, this is strictly between you and God and He already

knows the answers. He wants us to know the answers. Forgiveness,

worry, pride, gossip; the list goes on. Many of these questions for some will

seem like a no brainer. Others? Ouch. If 1,000 people take this assessment,

there will be 1,000 different results. Why? Because we are all different and

the enemy knows this. I have written an entire book on this concept. As we

start 2024, I encourage all believers out there to accomplish this inventory of

your heart. Today’s world is such that anytime a believer can be led astray or

spiritually injured, there are forces more than ready to take advantage of that.

Take the test, shore up your faith and begin living that sanctified life for Christ.

There is no day like today.

INVENTORY OF THE HEART

GOD IS CALLING US TO BE AUTHENTIC

1. In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:18

– Do we worry about anything?

– Have we forgotten to thank God for all things? The good and the bad?

– Do we neglect to give Him thanks for our breath, our health, for life itself?

2. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask

or think, according to the power that works within us.

Ephesians 3:20

– Do we shy away from attempting to do things in the name of our heavenly

Father because we fear we are not talented enough?

– Do feelings of inferiority keep us from our desired to serve God?

–When we do accomplish something of merit, do we choose to give ourselves

or God the glory?

3. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you

shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to

the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8

- Have we been hesitant to thank God for miracles performed in our lives?

- Have we believed it is good enough to live our Christian lives in a casual

manner and that it is not important to share the good news of our deliverance

with others?

– Are we sharing the Gospel?

– Are we involved in advancing the Gospel across the world, at home, in

our city, etc.?

4. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think

more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have

sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

Romans 12:3

– Are we overly proud of our accomplishments, talents, families?

– Do we have a rebellious spirit at the thought that God may want to change

our stinking thinking?

– Do we brag to others what we have?

– Do we swell up with pride when receiving compliments?

5. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from

you, with all malice.

Ephesians 4:31

– Do we complain, find fault, argue?

– Do we nurse and delight in a critical spirit?

– Do we carry a grudge against believers of another group or denomination

because of different “truths”?

– Do we talk behind people’s back?

– Are we often angry with ourselves? With others? With God?

6. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in

you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19

– Are we careless with our bodies?

– Do we defile our bodies with unholy sexual acts?

– Do we overeat?

– Do we take care of our bodies?

– Do we desire to be physically fit?

7. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word

as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it

will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

– Do we use language that fails to edify others?

– Do we tell off-color jokes or stories that demean others’ race, habits or

culture?

– Do we condone these comments when guests are in our home or with

colleagues?

– Do we curse?

8. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and

do not give the devil an opportunity.

Ephesians 4:26-27

– Do we close our eyes to the possibility that we may be a landing strip for

Satan when we open our minds to him through ungodly practices, psychic

predictions, occult literature, violent and sex driven movies?

– Do we seek counsel for daily living from horoscopes in the paper, on

television or the web as opposed to seeking God?

– Do we let Satan use us to set up barriers that inhibit the cause of Christ

in our churches and in our homes through criticism and gossip?

9. Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

(i.e. Not slothful in business.)

Romans 12:11

– Are we chronically late in payment of debts? If at all?

– Do we charge more on our credit cards than we can afford?

– Do we neglect to keep honest tax records?

– Do we engage in shady business deals?

– Do we inflate our financial worth?

– Do we get into business partnerships with unbelievers?

10. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts

which wage war against the soul.

1 Peter 2:11

– Are we guilty of a lustful eye toward the opposite sex?

– Do we fill our minds with sexually oriented Internet sites, lewd movies,

books and magazines?

– Magazine covers? Centerfolds?

– Especially when alone?

– Do we indulge in lustful activities that God’s Word condemns such as

fornication, adultery, or perversion?

– Do we have improper Internet relationships?

– Are we engaged in pornography in any way?

11. Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a

complaint against another; even as Christ forgives you, so you also

must do.

Colossians 3:13

– Have we failed to forgive anyone who has hurt us, physically, spiritually,

emotionally?

– Have we written off people as not worthy of our friendship?

12. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full

of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:28

– Do we know in our hearts that we are often not what people see?

– Are we possibly hiding behind being active in our churches as a cover for

our activities away from the body?

– Are we mimicking the Christian faith for social status or acceptance in church

or community?

– Are we real?

13. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is

any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8

– Do we enjoy listening to conversations that hurt others?

– Do we pass it on?

– Do we believe rumors or partial truths, especially about an enemy

or competitor?

– Do we choose to spend little or no time each day allowing God to speak

to us through His Word?

THAT WHICH WE NEED

TO SURRENDER TO GOD:

OUR MINDS (The way we think)

OUR WILLS (What we are convinced we should be or do)

OUR EMOTIONS (How we feel)

OUR BODIES (The sum of who we are)

OUR TALENTS (The abilities for which we sometimes

claim full credit)

OUR ATTITUDES (Often our selfish response to others)

OUR MOTIVES (What we know really drives us to succeed)

OUR CAREERS (The business of life that too often becomes our

own life)

PASS FAIL

 

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