Personal Inventory

by: Gary Evans

Email: info@icogsfg.org

 


When two people are married and expecting their first child, their expectations run through the ceiling. The parentsí minds are on it continually with thoughts of proper diet, doctor visits to insure that the little one is growing in the womb properly, is the baby ok, and is the baby healthy and ready for birth? The saga continues, the mother evaluates her health, her diet and her life style to read to the little one that is growing in her womb.

We may ask why? It is because that little one is a part of her. She feels the childís presence even though she has never seen it, and she loves the child with all of her whole being.

It is the same with us, we have not seen Jesus Christ or God the Father, but we can feel their presence in our lives, the amount of their love shown is overwhelming and when it comes time for birth, this child of God must evaluate, must examine his spiritual condition, his spiritual health.

The Passover

We observe the Passover yearly. The Holy Days picture Godís plan of salvation, and His year begins with the spring Holy Days of which the Passover is the beginning of the Holy Day season. The Passover is a very important time of the year.

Letís see what the apostle Paul said about the Passover in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32: "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily." That is, not understanding it or observing it in a wrong way. "Shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. {28} But let a man examine himself." That is, genuinely look at ourselves. "And so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." It must be a unified thing. {29} "For he that eats and drinks unworthily." Not understanding how to observe it properly or doing it in an irrelevant manner. "Eats and drinks damnation" that is judgment. "To himself, not discerning the Lord's body. {30} For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" Some at that time did not understand the Passover service, they were taking the Passover lightly. For us today we are to look at and examine ourselves. The Greek word for Ďexamineí is Ďdokimazoí and it means to Ďtestí. We are to test ourselves, to look at our lives, we are to look at it in an examining way, to prove, to try our spiritual growth, and the question that we ask ourselves is: Am I healthy, am I spiritually healthy? Am I pleasing to God? Am I maturing, ready to enter the birth canal?

The Passover is an acknowledgement of our accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, our sacrifice, our Passover Lamb, who willingly shed His perfect blood for us. Our observing the Passover is our acknowledgment of our need for forgiveness of sin because we are sinners. We evaluate, we change, we grow, because part of God is in us.

Search Me, O God

David understood this need as he thought about his life. He realized that he needed Godís involvement in this process of spiritual growth. In Psalms 139:2 David prayed: "Search me". David prayed and asked God: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts". David asked for correction and certainly it seems, through our lives we get enough correction, but David asked for more. David wanted God to know Him and know His heart and to know his thoughts.

David continued his prayer in verse 24: "And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." David was asking for correction and guidance. Davidís desire, as our desire should be, is to be pleasing to God. He wanted to be healthy spiritually and he realized that of himself, that that was impossible, so he called upon God to search and look at him, to know and to try him and yes, David asked for trials. This at times is a hard thing to pray for, but David ask for trials, to determine his state of spiritual health and that God would know his heart and know Davidís motive in life.

God has created a wondrous thing in us, a miracle in our bodies, He has given us a heart and a mind which doctors and scientists understand only on a basic level. Within our hearts and minds is the core of intellectual activity, and as I thought about this subject, I wondered just how intellectual is my intellectual activity, because of some of my thoughts that I have had from time to time.

God Has Given Us His Spirit

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh." God has called us and He has placed His Spirit in us. {4} "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)" This is talking about our minds. {5} "Casting down imaginations" Some as we have discussed earlier, like to live life after their own pleasure and after their own reasoning. {5} "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God". We certainly can make things high above God, and it says: "and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ".

These scriptures tell us that we have a battle to fight, and it is a real battle. We have spiritual weapons to fight self exaltation, weapons to fight pride, evil imaginations, and to give us spiritual sanity. We should desire spiritual sanity.

What is Attitude?

The thought process as we think along these lines, our environment, our spiritual condition, brings attitude into the equation. What is attitude? Our attitude is a state of mind, our emotions, or feelings concerning the subject matter. Our attitude determines our approach to a subject, or a happening in our life, or a different individual or our attitude to determine our approach, whether it be hostile towards that subject or person, that matter we are dealing with, whether it be loving, whether it be helping or edifying, or correcting. It is our approach towards a subject, encouraging or even controlling.

We either control this attitude in a Godly way or we allow this process to run its course in human carnal reasoning, and as we do, we allow pride, we allow vanity, we allow ego to run its course in our lives.

When we think about ego, what is that word all about? Ego- it is about self. It is about our attitudes. Ego to me means "Edging God Out." It means taking God out of our lives and doing it carnally with our own human reasoning.

It All Belongs to God

We must realize that it all belongs to God. Isaiah 66:1-2 "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build unto me?" Can we of ourselves build a house large enough to house God? "Where is the house that you build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?" With all of the ability that mankind has, can we even begin to compare to God?

Verse 2: "For all those things hath mine hand made." We see that it all belongs to God. "And all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man". As we enter the Passover season we look at our lives and this is what we desire God to say of us. "But to this man will I look," so we want to have the attitude of a child, we want God to look at us, we want our bodies to be the dwelling place of Godís Holy Spirit. God will look to us in honor and He says: "will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit" We need to have a spirit of repentance, a spirit that is humble before God, not only before God, but before mankind as well, and we must demonstrate humility in our lives. We must also "tremble at Godís word." Why would we tremble at the Word of God? Because we understand it, we stand in awe and we stand in respect of the Great and Almighty God, a deep respect for God and what He has done for us and certainly what He will do for us in the future.
Fruits of the Spirit

As we control our thought process, our overall attitude will be one of respect for God, one of respect for our fellow man with love. As we look into our lives, as David did, we will begin to experience joy in this life that God has called us to. We will begin to experience peace and patience and there is one thing that seems that the nation of Israel was very short of and that was patience. God will give us patience and He will give us kindness so that we can be kind to one another and then we will understand that God is love. God is kind and He will give us goodness, that we are able to do good for others as we desire others to do for us.

God will give us faithfulness that we are faithful to Him and faithful to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. We certainly need gentleness, to be gentle and kind to one another. We also need self-control. We have just talked about the fruits of Godís Holy Spirit, and God wants us to have those in our lives and with those we realize the greatness of our God in humility, honor and love.

Yes, at this time of the year as we go into the Passover season, it is very special and it is very important for all the people of God. This process of assimilating thoughts, attitudes will lead us in a direction and it leads us to action. It leads us to speech, it leads us to words and as we think about our words, Godís Spirit will help us control this process, produce works that are pleasing to God as we will reap the benefits, blessings will follow as we follow the lead of Godís Holy Spirit.

James 2:26 "For as the body without the spirit is dead." So we certainly need the guidance and direction of Godís Spirit to lead us, as David prayed, "Try me God" We need Godís Spirit to try us. "So faith without works is dead also." So we need the works. The works that we do, the works that we think about, the works that we are to do as Christians as God has called us are to be works of the Spirit and not works of the flesh as found in Galatians 5:19.

Our actions, our words reveal who and what we are. Our actions and words reveal what we stand for, who we are, the direction in our lives and the presence of God.

The Tongue

 James 3:1 "My brethren, be not many masters." This is talking about the tongue and conversation. It is talking about the office of the master, it is talking about teachers. "be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation". It seems as though that some in the past, some in the present and some in the future will abuse that office. We are to have high expectations as we allow God to work through us and with us.

Verse 2: "For in many things we offend all". Yes, we do, in this Christian life, many times we stumble and we fall, a slip of the tongue and we offend. We need to watch what we say and many times we fire off and we donít watch, we donít think about it and we fire off a comment and someone is offended. After we think about it we go back and ask why did I do that? Why did I do it that way? What was I thinking? And thatís common for many of us. What was I thinking? For myself Ė I was NOT thinking! We slip up so many times and we offend other people. "If any man offend not in word". We are to watch what we say. "The same is a perfect man". We certainly desire that all that have Godís Spirit go on to perfection. That is what Hebrews 6:1 talks about, going on to perfection. God wants us to go on to perfection and to be mature and grow in maturity. "The same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body" We are talking about a little thing, the tongue, and if we are able to bridle the tongue we are able to bridle the whole body.

Verse 3: "Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body" A bit can control the whole horse, that little thing in his mouth, and yet the tongue is a mighty thing in the body, and it is very difficult and very hard to control. Apart from Godís Spirit, it is almost impossible.

Verse 4:"Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds" with so much power and might and "yet are they turned about with a very small helm". As we look at our lives, what turns us? What guides us and directs us? Certainly the Spirit of God and the word of God, such a small thing as it enters into our beings. "Wherever the governor listeth.." or the sternsman controls, and we know that Christ controls our lives through the power of Godís Holy Spirit.

Verse 5: "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" Here we see the power of evil speech. We have seen the tongue wag, and people boast, how great they are, and certainly the leaders of the world boast how great they are. Some of the leaders in the world will mock and they are just little people, and their tongue wags. "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" It starts out very small and it can lead to a forest fire, destroying all that is in its path.

Verse 6: "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body". If we allow the tongue to flap, flap, flap, it will defile the whole body, and if it continues it can defile the whole Church. "And setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell".

Verse 7: "For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: {8} But the tongue can no man tame." Mankind has control over it. Apart from Godís Spirit, we cannot possible, even thoughtfully control the tongue. So it is with the power of Godís Spirit, it goes on to say: "it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." What God is telling us here is that it is a universal sin, and if we allow it, it is capable of destroying all.

Verse 9:"Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God." In like matter we shall be like God.

Verse 10: "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be." So we are to grow past that point, out of our mouths should come mercy, uplifting speech, we should encourage one another, not slander, not gossip, not degrading one another, not degrading someone else, but out of our mouths, out of our beings, of what we are, who we are, what we stand for, where we are going, God in us, out of us should come the fruits of Godís Holy Spirit. Sometimes that is difficult, it can be very difficult.

Verse 15-16: "This wisdom descendeth". This is talking about worldly wisdom. "This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. {16} For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." This is one of the reasons that I have a pet peeve with politics, within and without. Politics to me is destroying, politics as we know it is evil, and it destroys, it does not bring about unity. It does not bring about faith. It is not edifying. It is not uplifting. It is who your buddies are and what you can do for me, and I will repay you in like manner.

Verse 17: "But the wisdom that is from above." We are now talking about Godly wisdom. This is the kind of wisdom that we want and desire in our lives, because we know that one day that we will have to deal with individuals, and we will want that kind wisdom and knowledge that God has in our lives, and we should want to use it now, and know that it works, so that we can give it to others.

"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure". So we see the difference, the kind of person that we should be compared to others.

Sincerity and Truth

How are we to keep these days of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread? In sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8.). That comes from inside, that comes from a circumcised heart, that comes from a heart that is dedicated, that is yielded, that is humble before God. Thatís the type of heart God wants each and everyone of us to have. God wants us to have a pure heart in which that individual will have an attitude that is peaceable, it will be gentle, and easily entreated, one that can sit down and talk and communicate, one that does not have to be in control, a heart that is open, full of mercy, and yet we find that mercy is a precious thing. Very few are "peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17.)

Peace

Verse 18: "And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

I can remember time after time after time that I cried out to God and told God all I want, and that goes back into the early nineteen nineties, is a little peace in my life, "Please Almighty God, give me a little peace". God has promised us peace.

As we seek God in the proper way and God directs our lives, He promises that kind of peace, He promises unity, He promises that we will be of one mind, and it doesnít come easy, it is something that we have to work for, strive for, and we can make that a part of who we are.

Thoughts, attitudes, words lead to something, they lead to works, sometimes the works are good works, sometimes they are bad works.

Be Humble

James 4:10-11: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you that up". As we come before God with respect and honor and we humble ourselves before Him, He will lift us up, He will edify, He will encourage, He will give us joy, he will give us peace, and we will know that it is all worth it. Everything that we go through in this life and even as David cried out, give me trials because they help us see our self, that we can rejoice in those trials because we know that trials help us to see and understand.

Verse 11: "Speak not evil one of another, brethren." Slander, it seems as though there is an awful lot in the Bible about speaking evil, about putting one another down. "He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law". We are coming into some very serious scripture, so if we speak evil of a brother, then we judge our brother and speak evil of the law. What is the law? Who gave the law? If we speak evil of a brother of the law, are we not speaking evil of our creator and Godís Holy Spirit. "If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law". It seems as though there may be a lack of understanding here. If we judge, we are not a doer of the law, but God wants us to do the law. In essence, to do the law, is what we are being told here. If you are a judge, you are placing yourself above the law, and if you place yourself above the law, you are placing yourself above God.

James 4:17: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." God has called us and placed His Spirit in us, and we have studied the Bible for many many years, we are to act upon the knowledge that we have. God tells us: "to him it is sin". We are to act upon the knowledge that we have, and if we donít, it is sin.

Our Relationships

One of the greatest offenses that we have committed in times past, and some commit even today towards God, deals with our relationships.

As I prepared this sermon over the last couple weeks and thinking about it, I remember times that I sat at the Passover service, there were people within that congregation that had problems with me, or vice versa. It comes home to play when you think about it in that perspective, that in relationships in times past, and even some today, that sometimes we treat one another with contempt, and thatís a heavy word, contempt. We have treated one another in dishonor, and disrespect. We must realize who and what God is, God is love and understanding and in essence, in times past and some still do today, we have slapped God in the face by the way we have treated one another, those who have Godís Spirit, with our conduct as Christians, one toward another.

Judge Not that You Be Not Judged

This is about condemning, and I have in the margin of my Bible, just for me, Gary Evans, I donít want justice, I want mercy.

Matthew 7:1-2: "Judge not, that you be not judged". This is very very important, and I hope that all of Godís people understand this concept.

Verse 2: "For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged." We will be judged by our attitude, how we relate to others, how we conduct ourselves one toward the other, and the attitude we have in entering those relationships. Thatís the reason God helped me, in my attitude, to display the fruits of Godís Holy Spirit, because thatís the way we will be judged.

"And with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." How we treat people, how we look at people is how we will be judged. At the end of Christís message on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, His words are very very sobering, it brings reality to focus, doesnít it? Yes, we are to discern. Yes, we are to make certain judgments in our lives, yes, we are to do those things, but to judge other Christians, those who have Godís Holy Spirit is wrong.

God and Jesus Christ have reserved, it is their divine right, to judge, not ours. As we look upon, treat other brothers and sisters in Christ with the fruits of Godís Holy Spirit, so shall we be looked upon, treated by a loving Father and the Son. As we judge, as we deal with others, so God will deal with us. Only God can know the true intent of our heart.

God will search our hearts. He will try us , and we are to pray for that and He will bless us according to our works, that is in Jeremiah 17:10.

We are to Examine Ourselves

We are to examine, we are to test ourselves, to approve ourselves, to look into our own lives, not in someone elseís life, but certainly in our own lives. We are to examine, test whether or not we are pleasing to God? Am I doing it Godís way? Am I learning, am I giving of Godís Spirit, am I giving of the fruits of His Spirit to others? Am I examining? Am I pleasing to God? Am I doing all that I can in my life, all that I can possibly do?

2 Corinthians 13:4-5: "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God". Certainly for us, we are to live, for of ourselves we can do nothing,, except by the power of Godís Holy Spirit, the power of God." For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. {5} Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?"

Verse 11: "Finally, brethren, farewell". The word Ďfarewellí could be translated as: "rejoice". God has given us His truth, God has given us His way of life, He has called us, he has put His Spirit in us. He has given us direction in our lives, He has told us how we can control our thoughts, our actions and our attitudes and our minds. He has given us the Passover and the Days of the Unleavened Bread and His master plan. We are to rejoice because we understand Godís plan.

"Be perfect." We are to be filled up with the character of God. "Be perfect, be of good comfort." We are to have respect toward God and respect towards one another. "Be of one mind." We are to be unified. "Live in peace." Godís Spirit and Godís way of life is one of peace. "And the God of love and peace shall be with you." This is a promise from God and if we look at our lives, diet, exercise, growth, maturity are we ready to enter into the birth canal, to experience a new environment, a new life in the Kingdom of God.

When a mother is pregnant, her baby is in perfect harmony with her body. We as Christians must be in perfect harmony with the body of Christ, which is the Church. We and the Church also must be in perfect harmony with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.