Honest accounting is imperative when taking inventory for a business. How much has been sold? How much has been given away through marketing efforts? How much has been lost through theft or damage? And how much product needs to be sold or given away to make room for this years’ investment?

Personal Inventory is a lot the same, but far more important than profit margins and tax write-offs. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Taking Inventory is an important step in Recovery: examining where we have been, where we are now, and where we are headed. And honestly, aren’t we all recovering from something? Some of our inventory needs to go—unhealthy habits, attitudes, or relationships that are weighing us down. On the other hand, some of what we used to have, we should have kept. Instead, we sold, gave away, or lost vital parts of ourselves through violence or carelessness. These are things we need to examine so we know how we got to where we are now, and how to plan for a better future.

February is here, and many of us have already blown our New Year’s resolutions, or realize we’re on a pointless quest for self-improvement, because we failed to consult our Maker before committing. It’s easy to let others dictate how we invest our time and energy, but God invites us to ask Him for wisdom and walk in His ways.

 Charles E. Hummel says it well: “If the Christian is too busy to stop, take spiritual inventory, and receive his assignments from God, he becomes a slave to the tyranny of the urgent. He may work day and night to achieve much that seems significant to himself and others, but he will not finish the work God has for him to do.” Stop. Take spiritual inventory. Receive assignments from God.

I believe the following scriptures tell us the same things.

Stop:

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40).

It’s hard to do a 180 when you’re running at top speed. Sometimes we need to stop and take stock of what we’re doing/thinking/saying to realize we’re walking in disobedience.

Take spiritual inventory:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right” (2 Corinthians 13:5-7).

How do you know if you’ve passed a test? By looking at the teacher’s answer key. We don’t pass a test because our answers feel right, or match the answers of the students around us. We can only pass the test of faith if our answers are in agreement with the Author of truth and His written Word.

Get assignments from God:

“Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).

Part of the purpose of taking communion is to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross, but also so we can reflect on how we’re doing in our relationship with Him. Are there any barriers between us and Jesus’ life and message? Are we honest representatives or just playing a part? This is the time to confess and get back in step with Him.

Here are some questions you might consider when taking your inventory. Ask God:

  • How has my past (both positive and negative) made me who I am today?
  • What do I have in my inventory that I need to clear out?
  • What do I need to pursue in order to draw closer to You and others?
  • What is the next step you would have me take?

#betterthantaxreturns #stockpile #examineyourfaith #accountable