2000-01-05 - Measure Monthly/Abandon Annually
Originally Published 1997-10-03
Lamentations 3:40 Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord. (NRSV)
Socrates once said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." I say an unexamined life is not Biblical. An unexamined life is a life that is not being lived to its fullest potential, to the potential God intends for our life. It is a life not being lived out in abundance.
Jesus said in John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NRSV)
What do I mean by measure monthly? At least once a month we should take time to measure the progress we are making in becoming more like Christ. We should measure our emotional balance, spiritual balance and our physical balance. Sit down and ask yourself -- or even better -- sit down with an accountability partner and ask the tough questions. For your emotional balance, ask, "how am I handling the stresses in my life? How am I reacting to irritations? How am I handling the relationships in my life? Are my relationships with others becoming deeper and more meaningful or am I pushing people aside? Am I running so fast and so hard that emotionally I am numb or dead to the feelings I have and others have? Am I becoming more loving? More Christlike?"
For physical balance ask, "How are my eating habits?" You know the computer acronym, GIGO, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." It applies to our bodies. "Am I getting regular exercise? Am I sleeping enough? Am I always worn down?"
For spiritual balance, I ask myself at least monthly, "Am I growing in Christ? Is my love for the Bible increasing? Is my love for Christ increasing? Is my love for people increasing? Is my heart growing bigger for the cause of Christ? Are my prayers more frequent and more heartfelt? Am I taking every opportunity to mature in Christ? How was my church attendance, my Bible study attendance, my small group attendance last month?"
Finally, abandon annually. At least once a year just set aside a day to reflect back on your life, asking the same questions as monthly. Instead of "New Years Resolutions" make some "New Life Resolutions."
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. (NIV)
I have heard people say, "I love God, I love people, I know my Bible, I am going to coast on to the end from here." To which I reply, "You know if you are coasting, you have to be going downhill." You can't coast and grow. I don't want to get to the end and stand before God a stressed out, burned up, kicked around, shriveled-hearted Christ-follower and say, "well God, I coasted on to heaven." No, I want to stand before our Holy God with a great big grown heart, with a great big love for Christ and a great big love for people, and I so much want to hear Him say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant; enter the Kingdom."
So are you coasting or growing? I hope this devotional has caused you to stop long enough to at least examine the "gauges on your dashboard," and has triggered a change in your life. I pray that God uses these words, to touch you in a way that you can step back, look and then move forward! All followers of Christ are going to Heaven, no doubt about that. Why take the third-class seats, when you can go first-class? It's a great ride.
Father, We thank You and praise You for giving us a life here on earth. We want to bring You honor and glory. We want others to see our lives as Christians, as balanced Christ-followers, just trying to do life right. Just trying to live the abundant life that You so much desire for us to have. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to get out of balance. Forgive us for falling short of Your plan for our lives. We ask this forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.