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?