By Chuck Lawless
It’s hard to believe that almost ½ of 2014 is now gone. Rather than worry about days past, though, let’s focus on preparing for the rest of the year. Use this list as a spiritual checkup to evaluate your walk, and then let us know how we might pray for you.
- Are you reading the Bible daily? If you adopted an annual reading plan at the beginning of 2014, is your reading up to date? If not, take time this week to caught up. You might choose, if necessary, to adjust your plan – but still read daily. If you did not adopt a plan in January, pick a strategy for rest of the year.
- Are you praying daily? Are you praying regularly and recurrently (1 Thess. 5:17)? Do you pray for those in authority, including government and church leaders (1 Tim. 2:2)? Are you praying by name for other believers to speak the gospel boldly and clearly (Eph. 6:18-20, Col. 4:2-4)? Do you pray for your enemies (Matt. 5:44)?
- How often have you shared the gospel this year? Is the gospel so striking to you that you cannot keep it to yourself? Have you reached beyond the church world to develop gospel-centered relationships with unbelievers? For what non-believers are you praying as Paul did (Rom. 10:1)? Ask God to increase your burden for lost people (Rom. 9:1-3) throughout the remainder of this year.
- Are you faithfully fighting sin in your life? Be honest – have you experienced victory over sin this year? Is there a sin that continually haunts you even though you’ve sought to overcome it? If so, what steps do you still need to take this year? Confess that sin to someone? Seek accountability? Simply repent?
- What scriptures have you memorized this year? Do you echo the desire of the psalmist: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You” (Psalm 19:14)? Based on your memorization of God’s Word this year, would I conclude that you treasure God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11)?
- Are you serving faithfully in a local church? The church is much more than a place to attend; it is a family that loves us and provokes us to good works (Heb. 10:24). Through the first half of 2014, have you used your spiritual gifts as a member of a local body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:1-11, 1 Pet. 4:10)? Are you supporting His work financially? Commit today to invest yourself in God’s church throughout the rest of 2014.
- Are you exhibiting the work of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-23)? Here, allow the Word to guide your self-evaluation: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious:sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy,drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,gentleness, self-control.” Which traits most characterize your life today?
- Who is walking more with God because of your influence this year? That is, are you making disciples? Have you purposefully pointed away from self to direct others to follow the Son of God (John 1:29)? Or, to ask the question in the negative, is there anyone who walks less with God today because of your example and influence this year?
- What steps have you taken to spread the gospel to the nations? The Great Commission is a global calling (Matt. 28:18-20), even for those not called to go to the nations full-time. Have you intentionally studied about God’s work around the world this year? Are you praying for missionaries by name? Are you fully open to taking a mission trip this year or next?
- How would your family assess you as a family member and a believer this year? Those who live with us are most equipped to evaluate our spiritual walk. If I were to ask your family about your walk with God, what would they say? Would they say your life – all of it, including behind the scenes – models Christ? If not, decide today what steps you will take the next six months.
Regardless of what you learn in this evaluation, God is a God of new beginnings (2 Cor. 5:17) – which means you may recommit yourself to Him today.
How might we pray for you as He grants you a start to the second part of this year?