Taking Your Inventory

Under the heading, “How It Works,” the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.”

The Fourth Step is very important to the AA program: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

I have used worksheets from the Internet to take my personal inventory. If you have never taken a spiritual inventory, I suggest you give it a try.

When you have finished, claim this promise from our Savior, “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9).

Use Paul’s List Too

As you consider an inventory of your spiritual life, use Paul’s message to the church as part of your evaluation.

Colossians 3.12-14 – Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Let’s think deeply about what Paul has said.

(1) We are God’s chosen ones, holy and loved by God.

As we meditate on being chosen, let’s recall what God said to the Hebrews.

Deuteronomy 7.7-8 “It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.

It was because the Lord loved you and . . . brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Someone or something that is separated for God’s use is “holy.”

Inventory Question: Do my attitudes and actions show that I am set apart for God’s use?

(2) Clothed with compassion.

Compassion in Greek refers to the seat of the feelings and of the feelings themselves. Feelings of kindness, benevolence, compassion, and pity are described by this word.

Inventory Questions: To what extent am I able to identify with the needs of other people?

Like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), am I inclined to help others in need, or am I impervious to their need?

(3) Clothed with kindness.

Some words that expand the meaning of kindness are goodness, mercifulness, consideration, generosity, and thoughtfulness.

Inventory Question: As I consider the expanded meaning of kindness, does my behavior exhibit these attitudes and actions?

(4) Clothed with humility.

Humility was not a valued characteristic in the Greek world of Paul’s day. It became important only when people began to model their lives after Jesus.

Jesus demonstrated humility by his willingness to obey the Father’s will and suffer crucifixion.

He humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
(Philippians 2.8)

Inventory Questions: How does my obedience to the Father’s will reflect the characteristic of humility?

In what way does my resistance to God’s will display my pride?

(5) Clothed with meekness.

Meekness best describes what happens when a wild horse is broken and becomes useful.

In Psalm 32.8, God directs David, the most powerful king of Israel’s history, to be meek. Meekness is contrasted with the self-willed state of a person in verse 9.

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.
(Psalm 32.8-9)

Inventory Question: How quickly do I adjust my attitude and behavior, when God gives me direction?

(6) Clothed with patience.

Patient people “bear with one another” (verse 13). They are tolerant of the failings of others.

Jesus taught his followers, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22.39). A patient person gives the same consideration to others that they want to be shown to them.

Inventory Question: When confronted with the failings of others, do I treat them like I’d like my issues to be treated by them?

(7) Clothed with forgiveness.

The advice is to “forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you” (verse 13).

Forgiveness absorbs the hurt of an offense and releases the offending person from guilt.

Jesus absorbed the hurt and wrongdoing of all of humanity on the cross.

Inventory Questions: Am I willing to absorb the hurt that I have experienced and no longer hold it against the offender?

Am I willing with God’s help to begin the process of forgiveness?

(8) Clothe yourselves with love (verse 14).

The best definition of love is to meditate on the cross. Love is an action more than it is a feeling.

Love gathers all of the qualities mentioned in these verses and uses them on behalf of another person.

Inventory Question: To what extent do I live in God-inspired love?

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this inventory and much more in a short YouTube video. It can be found today on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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