Monday, April 16, 2007

"Clearing the Log Jam"

Thomas Watson once wrote: “O that I might prevail with Christians to take pains with themselves in this great work of examination. …. It is the note of an [false] professor, to be always abroad, spying the faults of others; but never at home with his own heart…”

That quote seemed especially relevant last night as I heard a sermon preached on Luke 6:39-49 (under the heading: “Dangers Disciples Face.”) In this passage, Jesus is speaking about the hypocritical attempt to sort out others problems without first examining ourselves.

Colin explained to the congregation: “We need to clean up our act, and clear out our own dirty laundry first. Why? Because we are hardly in a position to help others with small problems, when we have larger issues to contend with. What’s worse, we’re hypocrites.” The danger remains that while we seek to heal the wounded, we ourselves are covered in sores.

So let me ask you in the words of the preacher: “Where is your place of confession? Do you have a time and a place and a commitment to get alone with God somewhere, bible in hand, prayers in earnest, to check your eyes for logs? (and your heart for lies and lust).”

Examination has to probe. Therefore, utilising direct questions can help us to confront sin in our lives. One list people often use was compiled by Gordon MacDonald, in his book “Rebuilding Your Broken World.” Most of these questions are helpful to answer and pray over.

1. How is your relationship with God right now?
2. What have you read in the Bible in the past week?
3. What has God said to you in this reading?
4. Where do you find yourself resisting Him these days?
5. What specific things are you praying for in regard to yourself?
7. What are the specific tasks facing you right now that you consider incomplete?
8. What habits intimidate you?
9. What have you read in the secular press this week?
10. What general reading are you doing?
11. What have you done to play?
12. How are you doing with your spouse? Kids?
13. If I were to ask your spouse about your state of mind, state of spirit, state of energy level, what would the response be?
14. Are you sensing spiritual attacks from the enemy right now?
15. If Satan were to try to invalidate you as a person or as a servant of the Lord, how might he do it?
16. What is the state of your sexual perspective? Tempted? Dealing with fantasies? Entertainment?
17. Where are you financially right now? (things under control? under anxiety? in great debt?)
18. Are there any unresolved conflicts in your circle of relationships right now?
19. When was the last time you spent time with a good friend of your own gender?
20. What kind of time have you spent with anyone who is a non-Christian this month?
21. What challenges do you think you’re going to face in the coming week? Month?
22. What would you say are your fears at this present time?
23. Are you sleeping well?
24. What three things are you most thankful for?
25. Do you like yourself at this point in your pilgrimage?
26. What are your greatest confusions about your relationship with God?

Another useful list can be found over at Herald Mag. Here are the twenty five questions it poses.

1. Am I seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? (Matt. 6:33).
2. Am I redeeming the time? (Eph. 5:16).
3. Do I have a conscience void of offence? (Acts 24:16).
4. Do I meet with brethren whenever possible? (Heb. 10:25).
5. Do I deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus? (Mat. 16:24).
6. Am I becoming transformed by the renewing of my mind? (Rom. 12:2).
7. Do I search the scriptures daily and study to show myself approved unto God? (Acts 17:11; John 5:39; 2Tim. 2:15).
8. Am I attempting to please God instead of man? (Gal. 1:10; Col. 3:23).
9. Do both blessing and cursing come out of my mouth? (James 3:10; Col. 4:6).
10. Am I a peacemaker? (Matt. 5:9; James 3:18; Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14).
11. Am I ashamed of the gospel of Christ? (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 9:16; Matt. 24:14).
12. Do I render evil for evil? (1 Thes. 5:15).
13. Do I shun profane and vain babblings? (2 Tim. 2:16).
14. Do I behold the mote that is in my brother’s eye but do not consider the beam in my own eye? (Matt. 7:3).
15. Am I laying aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets me? (Heb. 12:1).
16. Am I stumbling my brother? (Rom. 14:21).
17. Am I provoking others? If so, is it to love and good works? (Heb. 10:24).
18. Am I holding fast the profession of my faith without wavering? (Heb. 10:23).
19. Do I love pleasure more than I love God? (2 Tim. 3:4).
20. Am I a respecter of persons? (James 2:1; 3:9; 1 Peter 1:17; Acts 10:34).
21. Am I walking after the spirit instead of after the flesh? (Ga. 5:16-18).
22. Am I putting on the whole armor of God? (Eph. 6:11).
23. Do I follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth? (Rev. 14:4).
24. Am I working out my salvation with fear and trembling? (Phil. 2:12).
25. Am I fighting the goof fight of faith? (2 Tim. 6:12).

(HT: Unashamed Workman)

1 comment:

Tina said...

I think these questions are great, and I'm going to start using them for myself and maybe my husband and I can spend time together answering them, too.