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Twelve Questions Every Thoughtful Christian Should Ask Themselves Annually
Posted by Clare
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Was I a good investment for God this year?

I’m serious!  Have you ever thought of your life as a love gift Jesus gave to the Father for the purpose of serving in his kingdom, both in this life as well as the next?

“And they sang a new song, saying:  “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

You were purchased by Jesus for a purpose beyond your personal, eternal salvation.  You and I are an investment of sorts and as such have a mission from God.  So, how are you doing?

Evaluating God’s Investment

The end of an old year and the beginning of the next is a great opportunity for followers of Jesus to reflect deeply about their life this past year and about what in our lives this next year needs addressing.  It’s always been the practice of wise, spiritually vibrant Christians to live what’s been called, an examined life.

A family counselor once gave me this sage advice, “If nothing changes – nothing changes.”

Meaning, if I don’t have a plan to think and act differently, it’s highly unlikely that my life, relationships, and even my effectiveness for the kingdom, will ever improve.  This is the time for pre-decisions.

In Chapter Four of The 10 Second Rule, I describe a pre-decision as a choice we make ahead of time, to think and act differently – more wisely and more obediently.  But, the first step in making any pre-decision is self-examination.

Twelve important questions every Christian should ask themselves at least once every year.

I’ve prepared this list of questions I try to ask myself and urge others to ask themselves, every year.  Please don’t just read them, but set aside some time over the next week or two and meditate on them and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to which issues are the most critical for you to address.  And, resist giving “yes” or “no” answers, but write out ideas the Holy Spirit will give you to improve or change in each area that you’re convicted needs addressing.  If you want to download this list, write your answers or thoughts in the spaces provided:

1. From the time I invest in personal Bible reading and the quality of my prayer life, would God conclude I was serious about deepening my relationship with him?

2. What are the “weights” in my life? (Private, or “pet” sins, addictions, bad habits or distractions that are holding me back from being truly sold out to Jesus.)

3. Does my spouse feel cherished, respected and loved by me?

4. Do my children respect me and are they growing more spiritual because of me?

5. Are there any personal habits, like my language, anger, alcohol use, or choices of entertainment that may confuse my children or my friends about a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus?

6. Who is the most difficult person in my life right now?  What have I done to reconcile that relationship and have I forgiven them?

7. Who are the financially poor, the poor in spirit, the sick or the imprisoned people (the “least of these”) I’ve come along side of this year?  Whose life have I made better by my direct involvement in theirs?

8. Do I feel comfortable meeting with non-Christians and sharing my personal, spiritual journey?  (When is the last time I did that?)

9. Have I seriously and intentionally been trying to live by the 10 second rule?

10. Have I handled God’s finances wisely?  (Would God characterize me as being as generous to others as I am with myself?)

11. Read Revelations chapters 2 and 3.  If Jesus were evaluating my life this year, what would he say he finds both “pleasing and wanting” in me?

12. Based on how I use my discretionary time, my money and the things I’m obviously most passionate about, would the people who know me best, my family, close friends, and people at work, consider me a Christian or a serious follower of Jesus?  Why?

Now, if you’ve written your answers out, confess your failures to the Lord and commit yourself to live more purposefully and obediently.  Put the ways you intend to do that in your Bible or your journal and try to review them at least monthly and share them with your accountability partner.

My question for you:  What questions do you occasionally ask of yourself in an effort to live a more examined life?

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Comments (8)
  1. J said...

    As I reflect back on 2011 and those things that impacted me most, at the top of that list is the book you have written and the blog you have been faithful to write each Monday. I look forward to what new thoughts will be offered each week. Please continue in that. This current blog is especially helpful because of its clarity and listing of the specifics of my walk that demand my attention if I am to be living that walk seriously. Too often, I think about the global nature of my faith, and it melts into inaction. This helps me focus and pose the hard questions. You are a blessing in your work. Thank you and God Bless.

    • Clare said...

      Thanks for the affirmation! Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it and I really invite all of you to let me know what you’d like discussed. As I said in one of my first blogs, the good news for you is that I’ve sinned more than most of you,or at least thought about it hard enough. So I’ve got mileage that may help you with an issue. So let me hear what’s on your mind.

  2. Chad said...

    Thanks Clare,
    I also appreciate your blog. Rather than some vague comments, suggestions,etc, you offer real life questions/comments with possible solutions on the details of living the life of a true follower of Christ. Your book and blog help me take action in leading an examined life. Thank you!

    • Clare said...

      Everyone, last week I met with this man’s son, a terrific young man in high school who came looking for a second opinion from somebody other than his parents. (Just like most of our kids have done from time to time) We spent almost two hours together trying to give him honest answers.
      I spend about a third of my time with young men. What they want more than anything is a faith that works and is authentic. They have no interest in “doing church” for the rest of their lives, or as I say in my book, “We might as well go out and hit a bucket of balls on Sunday mornings.” And the best way I know of teaching our kids to love God is to live the kind of life, the questions I’ve asked are trying to get at.

  3. Dave Stravers said...

    “Was I a good investment for God this year?” is a great question for thoughtful self-evaluation. See a related book by John Piper, “Don’t Waste Your Life.” I’m concerned whether we really know what God wants to invest in? What are God’s investment goals? What is God’s #1 agenda for His world? Do the twelve questions account for those things that are at the top of God’s agenda?

    • Clare said...

      Dave, I have read Pipers book and it was a tremendous inspiration to me. Your question about God’s agenda and do these questions consider that is a good one. Here’s my short answer:
      I believe God has a personal agenda for each of us which includes personal holiness and loving him and others more than we do ourselves. Most of my questions are focused on this universal call on every believer to be like Jesus.
      But as you point out there is a much larger agenda God has for us individually and corporately, that is to make him, his greatness and his love for the world known to every man, woman and child. Each of us have different roles to play in that grand scheme. But unless we are individually and personally spiritually healthy, we’ll never be ready for that battle.
      For the rest of you I’d like to introduce Dave. He’s the President of Mission India, one of the finest evangelistic church planting ministries in the world. Amazing! That’s why he’s leaning on me to think more about God’s larger agenda. Perhaps I’ll write another set of questions zeroing in on that issue. Thank you so much Dave!

  4. Stephanie S. said...

    Clare~ You have made such a difference in my spiritual walk. You were there for my husband and I when we were so weak and frail. My spiritual walk has grown 10 fold since meeting with you. I have long to go, but then again, that IS why God put us here on earth, to learn. Thanks so much for your time and patience. Your transparency is truly appreciated. You are such a blessing.

    • Clare said...

      In the providence of God I was meeting with someone yesterday who is on a similar journey and I was sharing your story (without names of course) It gave her hope that the past can be overcome. Bless you for your teachability.

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