A member of my local church drove by the parsonage one day to give me a present in the form of a book written by one of my favorite authors and speaker, Dr. Charles Swindioll. The book was entitled, A Grace Awakening, and I once I opened the first page I could not put it down until I had read completely through it. That book, is still available to this day. My personal copy is dog-eared and marked up as it has been ready often, as well, I have the book on audio recording and from time-to-time I listen as I drive between appointments. Back to the class...
In the very beginning of the class, the concept was taught to the student that a self-inventory is necessary before you can ever effectively share you faith with someone else. I began this self-inventory and continue to do that almost daily. The book from Dr. Swindoll opened my eyes to the fact that I was looking at life incorrectly and a well, I was approaching ministry in a non-Biblical way. I found precedence for this practice in the New Testament when Paul wrote, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5)
There was a tremendous change that was taking place in my heart as I realized that much of what I did in ministry was based out of blind-obedience and not from an act of faith. This was troubling in light of the fact that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (cf. Romans 14:23) I realized that while my actions may have lined up with the rules and regulations I was taught, my reason for doing them did not line up with the Scripture. This was a troubling revelation for someone who handled the Word of God on a regular basis and was given the care of souls.
On day two I challenge you to do what I have practiced for all of these years, as I lead by example. Take the time to examine your heart. Examine your motives, and examine your practices. I can't help but believe there is room for improvement in all of our lives...I know there is room in my life.
Open your Bible as you enter your prayer time. Speak to God from deep inside your heart and share all that is troubling you...then, take time to think through the Scripture...speed-reading is not the object of this exercise, but rather to read, ruminate and ingest the Word. The listen as God speaks to you through His Word, which I believe to be the preserved Will of God for all mankind.
Resist the urge to blame others for your problems, own up to them and make them your own. Then, in very large letters write this verse across the page that lists your failures and your sin. Once you have written this verse, ask God to forgive you for missing the mark, then tear that piece of paper into as many shreds as you possibly can...for that is what God has done with your sin.
Are your ready? Here is the verse to write across the record of your sin and failure:
" our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
As you throw the paper away, remember these words of hope from the Scripture and, and begin to live free!
After all, "As far as , so far hath he removed our transgressions us." (Psalm 103:12)
MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU!