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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 16, 2015

Spiritual Inventory

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

At the end or beginning of the year many retail companies take inventory of their stock: What is the value of the goods on hand? How often do we as Christians take our "spiritual inventory" to determine our condition?

We should be able to do so, as the apostle Paul exhorts us to do:

"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" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Many of us are familiar with this verse. We quote another scripture written by Paul less frequently that says the same thing: "For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another" (Galatians 6:3-4). The Greek word for "examine" here is dokimazo, which means, according to "Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words", "to test, prove, with the expectation of approving." It can also indicate "to discern" or "to distinguish," suggesting proving whether a thing is worthy or not.

The Living Bible adds clarity to Galatians 6:4: "Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won't need to compare himself with someone else."

Both passages, taken together, show us the positive effect of a "spiritual inventory". By measuring our own work – the fruit of our life, our deeds, etc. – by the absolute standard of comparison, we get a clear picture of our spiritual condition. And that standard of comparison of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. By comparing ourselves with Him as the standard, there is no need to compare ourselves with others, which sometimes leads to feelings of inferiority or superiorty.

Performing a regular "spiritual inventory" promotes our character development and our relationship to God and also contributes to a better relationship with our neighbor. In other words, proper "spiritual inventory" helps us in fulfilling the two great commandments.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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