One of the greatest applications that we have derived from our study in Hebrews 6 is the fact that we should all take part in frequent and transparent self-inventory. Taking such assessment of where we are in our faith journey and striving to see how we are growing in our faith and in obedience as disciples is a great way to gain assurance in our salvation while making it extremely difficult to ever fall away. Simply put, it is a great way to heed the warnings of Hebrews and take our salvation very seriously.
In one of my classes this past week, our professors instructed our class to spend the 3-hour class time taking a personal retreat. We were challenged to spend that time with nothing but a Bible and a journal in communication with the Lord. Leading up to this time of retreat, our professors gave us a couple of tools to use in preparation for such a time. I would like to copy one of those tools here, as I believe it is an incredible tool for self-inventory and assessment. As you will see, this series of questions are deeply challenging! They are not designed to repress us into guilt or self-pity. Instead, they are tools that can help lead us into conviction, and on toward confession as we seek to grow in personal holiness and in sanctification as believers. As I read these questions, I am struck with the question in my mind of what my life would be like if I committed to read through them and intentionally and honestly answer them just once a month.
Here they are for your consideration…
1. Genuine Salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
a. Was there ever a time in my life that I genuinely repented of my sin?
b. Was there ever a time in my life that I placed all my trust in Jesus Christ alone to save me?
2. God’s Word (Psalm 119:97; 119:140)
a. Do I live to read and meditate on the Word of God?
b. Are my personal devotions consistent and meaningful?
c. Do I practically apply God’s Word to my everyday life?
3. Humility (Isaiah 57:15)
a. Am I quick to recognize and agree with God in confession when I have sinned?
b. Am I quick to admit to others when I am wrong?
c. Do I rejoice when others are praised and recognized, and my accomplishments go unnoticed by men? (Romans 12:15)
d. Do I esteem all others better than myself? (Philippians 2:3-4)
4. Obedience (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Samuel 15:22
a. Do I consistently obey what I know God wants me to do? (James 1:21-25)
b. Do I consistently obey the human authorities God has placed over my life?
5. Pure Heart (1 John 1:9)
a. Do I confess my sins by name?
b. Do I keep “short sin accounts” with God (confess and forsake as He convicts)?
c. Am I willing to give up all sin for God?
6. Clear Conscience (Acts 24:16)
a. Do I consistently seek forgiveness from those I wrong or offend?
b. Is my conscience clear with every man? (Can I honestly say, “There is no one I have wronged or offended in any way and not gone back to them and sought their forgiveness and made it right”)
7. Priorities (Matthew 6:33)
a. Does my schedule reveal that God is first in my life?
b. Does my checkbook reveal that God is first in my life?
c. Next to my relationship with God, is my relationship with my family my highest priority?
8. Values (Colossians 3:12)
a. Do I love what God loves and hate what God hates?
b. Do I value highly the things that please God (e.g., giving, witnessing to lost souls, studying his Word and prayer)?
c. Are my affections and goals fixed on eternal values?
9. Sacrifice (Philippians 3:7-8)
a. Am I willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to see God move in my life and church (time, convenience, comfort, reputation, pleasure, etc…)?
b. Is my life characterized by genuine sacrifice for the cause of Christ?
10. Spirit Control (Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18-21)
a. Am I allowing Jesus to be Lord of every area of life?
b. Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to fill (control) my life each day?
c. Is there consistent evidence of the “fruit of the Spirit” being produced in my life?
11. “First Love” (Philippians 1:21, 23)
a. Am I as much in love with Jesus as I have ever been?
b. Am I thrilled with Jesus, filled with His joy and peace, and making Him the continual object of my love?
12. Motives (Acts 5:29; Matthew 10:28)
a. Am I more concerned about what God thinks about my life than about what others think?
b. Would I pray, read my Bible, give, and serve as much if nobody but God ever noticed?
c. Am I more concerned about pleasing God than I am about being accepted and appreciated by men?
13. Moral Purity (Ephesians 5:3, 4)
a. Do I keep my mind free from books, magazines, movies or other entertainment that could stimulate fantasizing or thoughts that are not morally pure?
b. Are my conversation and behavior pure and above reproach?
14. Forgiveness (Colossians 3:12, 13)
a. Do I seek to resolve conflicts in relationships as soon as possible?
b. Am I quick to forgive those who wrong me or hurt me?
15. Sensitivity (Matthew 5:23, 24)
a. Am I sensitive to the conviction and promptings of God’s Spirit?
b. Am I quick to respond in humility and obedience to the conviction and promptings of God’s Spirit?
16. Evangelism (Romans 9:3; Luke 24:46, 48)
a. Do I have a burden for lost souls?
b. Do I consistently witness for Christ?
17. Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1)
a. Am I faithful in praying for the needs of others?
b. Do I pray specifically, fervently, and faithfully for revival in my life, my church, our nation and the world?
So, how would our lives be different if we were to take this assessment seriously once a month, and actually followed up on any convictions that arise? How would our church look different? How much more confidence would we have in living bold, missional lives for the sake of the Gospel?