Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spiritual Self-Examination
(The Secret to Beginning a Strong New Year)

This is part one of a three part series that we feel the Lord gave us concerning this New Year. For part two click... Here.    For part three click ... Here

All of us want a strong and spiritually prosperous New Year. All of us hope 2014 will be greater than 2013. Our heavenly Father desires this same thing for us. There is a way to ensure that this year will be better and stronger than the previous one. There is a way to ensure that, God Almighty, will not only be with us, but strongly support us in all that we do. It is assured if begin our new year with …. Spiritual Self-Examination.

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified (fail the test). (2Co 13:5)

The Apostle Paul tells us that we should examine ourselves to see if we are really still in the faith… or not. If Christ is still in us … or not.  Strange …isn’t it? Remember this is written to believers.

So why should I have to examine myself? I mean… if when I asked Jesus into my heart and the deal was sealed how could I ever possibly leave Him. Why should I waste my time examining myself? Why? Because it is possible to depart from Him and the scriptures make that incredibly plain.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; (Heb 3:12) See Heb 10:31, Isaiah 33:14

David had a healthy fear of God and knew that even though he had a lot of confidence in his walk with God… he could be missing something vital.

A Psalm of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, For I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the LORD; I shall not slip. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart. (Psa 26:1-2)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psa 139:23-24)

King David and the Apostle Paul knew that if we examine and judge ourselves rightly we will not be judged along with the world.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1Co 11:31)

So… we believe that here in Africa, our Father is showing us six places we should examine ourselves to see if we are indeed still in the faith and that Christ Jesus is still with us. We really want His strong support in what we're doing. Should He be showing you something different by all means listen to Him, but if not… these are six good places to start the new year.

Five Don’ts and Five Do’s
Number 1… Don’t drift! Son’s and daughter’s of God rarely ever walk away from God. They always drift away as a result of neglecting what He has already spoken to them.

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (Heb 2:1-3)

If I had a stick and threw it into a pond … it would stay right in front of me. It wouldn’t even move an inch. Yet if I threw that same stick into a river it would begin to leave me. Not because it did so on it’s own power, but because of the current in the river. The stick cannot move of it’s own will, but of the power of the river will take it where the river is going. This world we live in is like a river, there is a strong current in it. All you have to do in this world to drift away from God is … nothing!

If you remain passive in this world it's current (the spirit of the age) will carry you away from God. We must always on purpose be learning and moving toward our Father and His will lest we drift away from Him.

Number 2… Don’t ‘hang’ with people who are not of like heart!

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. (2Co 6:14-16)

Bad company corrupts good morals. If you ‘fellowship’ with unbelievers or believers with ‘worldly’ hearts, you will find yourself leaving God and you won’t feel a thing... till its too late.

Number 3… Don’t waste your time!
There are many things in this life that will consume your energy and resources.

"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.   (Rev 3:1-2)

There are many things in our Christian life that are getting weaker. They are dying because we do not commit our life to ‘strengthen them’.  We see all the time Christian things that are disappearing from the faith. What are we doing about it? Do we validate them with our lives? Or do we just let them die? We must ask ourselves if what we say we believe is really what we live.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2Pe 1:10-11)

Do… be a part of the Body of Christ
Number 1… Do be an active member of the Body of Christ. Are you a living, breathing part of the Body of Christ? Or are you just a visitor? Visitors ‘attend’ church services. Visitors are very religious. Visitors can stop ‘coming to church’ anytime they so desire. No commitment, No loss.

The questions we need to be asking ourselves are… if my brother or sisters is suffering … do I feel it? If my brothers or sisters are honored do I feel honored with them and rejoice with them? If not… you may need to ask yourselves am I really organically connected to the Body of Christ? Or just visiting?

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1Co 12:26-27)

Do I feel I am so connected to my brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ that if they do not make it … I don’t make it either? That I desperately need them to function? Are we a one man band or part of an orchestra?

And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary . (1Co 12:21-22)
Number 2…Do invest in the Kingdom of God.
Being temporal creatures we have just so much time and resources to work with. This is your time. Your eternal history is now being written. Many things will compete for your energy but only one pursuit brings eternal benefit. When your time is up… that’s it!

So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luk 12:18-21)

With Your hand from men, O LORD, (deliver me) From men of the world who have their portion in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure. They are satisfied with children, And leave the rest of their possession for their babes. (Psa 17:14)
Number 3…Do put people around you that will push you toward God and His will.  It is not always helpful to hang around people who don’t forward me in the things of God. Some people are fun to be with, some even never say anything I don’t want to hear… but they are not always beneficial. We need to seek out those who can help us go forward in our pursuit of God.

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. (Heb 13:7)

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:11-12) See also 1Cor 4:16, 11:1, Phi 3:17,1Thess 1:6, 2Thess 3:7,9.

In Conclusion…
The answer to a stronger and better new year is not always working harder or even more wisdom in your pursuits. It’s making sure that our hearts are perfect (loyal, honest, dedicated) before Him. We believe that 2014 will be a year full of revelation and support from heaven. 

If we desire a strong year we need God’s strong support. Therefore our hearts need to be… completely His. Should you want to succeed in any area of your life … see to it in that particular area your heart is completely set on pleasing Him. Otherwise you will spend your time in frustrating fights you can't win. He is ready to give His full support. In fact, He’s looking the whole world over for you right now.

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal (perfect) toward Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars." (2Ch 16:9)

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  1. Awesome road map for how to examine our hearts as we begin afresh in 2014 to seek the Lord with our whole heart!!
    Thank you for that exhortation. ~Mercy

  2. I felt like God was telling us at the Ingathering to get close and stay close. I sense there is a major storm brewing and we will need to lean even more heavily on one another to get through it. I am not afraid, because adversity draws God's people together, and it is a good thing! We will be fine if we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

    Anyway, thank you for the vision and insight into the ways of God that you always seem to have. I will take your advice to heart and do my best to walk in it.

    May God continue to bless all of you there through the work he has set before you to do. Miss you lots!