As we begin a new school year (which, most churches orient their calendars around) I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16). Consider the following questions in order to be proactive and intentional about becoming all that God has called you to be.
- Is responsive obedience the fruit of genuine joy in the gospel? We can obey God out of fear or from love. God prefers love.
- Have I maintained a genuine awe of God? Awe inspires, it overwhelms, it intimidates our humanness, it inspires worship. Awe isn’t learned; it is realized.
- Am I content with who I am becoming? Every day we get one day closer to who we will ultimately be. Am I satisfied with who this will be?
- Am I becoming less religious and more spiritual? The Pharisees were religious; Christ is spiritual. Much tradition is religious, while relationship with Christ is spiritual.
- Does my family recognize the authenticity of my spirituality? They see us whole. We would like to believe, and must believe, that if we are growing spiritually, our family will recognize it.
- Do I give-to-get-to-give-again? John Wimber used to remind audiences that the reason we give is not just to “get,” but to “get” so we can give again, and again, and again… Are we giving away that which God blesses us with?
- Do I have a quiet center to my life? Peace is not just the absence of conflict, but the absence of anxiety in the midst of conflict.
- Have I defined my unique contribution? Do we know what we can do effectively? The need is always bigger than any person can satisfy, and so our call is simply to handle the part of the need that is ours to do.
- Is my prayer life improving? One test of our prayer life is this: Do our decisions have prayer as an integral part, or do we make decisions out of our desires and then immerse them in a sanctimonious sauce we call prayer?
- Is my humility genuine? Humility is not denying the gifts and power that we have but admitting that the power comes through us, not from us.
- Is my soul being fed? We have different personality and character traits that need developing or dwarfing. That means we must search out the spiritual food that feeds our soul.
- Do I have joy? God doesn’t need us, God loves us; and we don’t work for Him to earn His love, we work for Him as a result of His love. He lets us work in order to mature us. That brings joy.
A spiritual audit is more than a statement of condition. It is also an indication of spiritual potential. May the coming school year be a season growth toward your destiny in Christ.
This post was adapted from an article originally published in 1998 by the (late) Fred Smith in Christianity Today/Leadership Journal. I have continued to adapt it over the years as I think, plan, pray, and grow. You can read the original article here.