Taking a Spiritual Examination
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles (NIV)
I don’t have a green thumb, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to grow plants and flowers. This year, my sister gave me a beautiful orchid for my birthday. On the card, she joked, “Happy Birthday. Enjoy the orchid and try not to kill it.”
Not wanting to disappoint my sister, I took extra care of the plant. I measured the water I gave it, marked the calendar so I’d remember when to water it again, and I even prayed over it. Caring for the plant made me consider what my life would be like if I gave this much attention to my relationship with God.
Often we neglect to care for our spiritual life. Too often we become apathetic and lazy in our faith. The result is lost passion and commitment, while self and sin thrive. Too often, we get nothing out of church. God seems far away, and freedom from bondage seems even further. I believe that these characteristics describe a Christian who is in need of a spiritual examination.
I realize that some of us are in a mess so big that we can’t see a way out. Others have tried and tried to live a holy life but continue to fall short. There are also those whose faith has become stagnate, and everyday long for something more. I know. I’ve been there. Whether we realize it or not, we have neglected some area of our spiritual life. Our passion and power have dried up. But with God, there is always hope. He can revive us!
Our key verse tells us how. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV ). According to this verse, the way out of our struggle is towards God through personal revival.
What exactly is revival? As one pastor put it, revival is: “coming to life again. It’s when we go from indifference to making a difference. It’s when we move from being comfortably numb to being passionately committed. It’s when we move from an appetite for the world and self to an appetite for God.”
Friend, I want to share with you a list of characteristics of a thriving believer that I keep tucked away in my bible so that I can periodically take a spiritual assessment of myself:
We need revival when....
... when we do not love God as we once did.
… when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
…when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible.
… when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
… when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
… when we make little effort to witness to the lost.
…when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study or prayer.
. . . when we do not tremble at the power of God.
On the other hand, the characteristics that take place when revival comes are…
... a deepened spiritual hunger
... intense fervent prayer that is enjoyable not dreadful
... reckless abandonment and surrender to God
... a fresh fullness of the Holy Spirit
... spontaneous evangelism and soul winning
... restored relationships
... a spirit of thanksgiving and joy
... increased hunger for God’s Word
... a desire to put God/church before entertainment
Just like any living thing, without proper care our spirits wilt. If you and I are smart, we will not neglect our faith. Daily, we will fall on our knees, confess our sin and seek God. Then, He showers down upon us fresh Holy Spirit power. Power that changes lives, restores relationships, brings healing, breaks strongholds, and enables us to live as God intends…passionate and purposeful.
Dear Lord, I confess indulging myself in pleasure and comfort. I confess a loss of passion and love for You. I have neglected my relationship with You and have lost the wonder of who You are. Oh, Lord, I cry out for forgiveness. I ask that You hear me, restore me, and heal me. I rejoice that You are the God of more than second chances. Awaken me, Lord, that I might live in righteousness again, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Use the above list to take a spiritual examination of yourself. Are you in need of a fresh faith? If so, humble yourself, confess your sins, and ask God for a fresh encounter with Him that creates new life within.
What characteristics above reveal to you that you have neglected your spiritual life?
Which characteristics show that you are alive and growing in Christ?
Read Acts 2:1-42, 46, 47
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 20 September 2007.