The end of the year is a great time for reflection. A time to look back over the year and see where you have grown, where you have stumbled, and where God is leading you. It is a good practice to do this, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13 ” Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted (The Message).”
Several people have asked if I would post the questions that I wrote for yesterday’s sermon. I wrote these questions for myself, and I hope that they will help you in your own spiritual journey.
- Do you see your money, time, and material possessions as primarily belonging to you to do with as you please; or do you see all of these things (your time, your paycheck, your savings account) as primarily belonging to God. Do you see your money as there for whatever you please, or are you growing in seeing yourself as a steward of God’s resources that he has temporarily placed you here to manage?
- Do you find that a significant amount of energy and though is spent thinking about what you want or what you do not have? Do you find that you always have something that you wish you had, or do you find that you are growing in thankfulness? Do you find that whether times are tight financially or the money seems to be coming in regularly that you often tell God how thankful you are for what you have?
- Do you spend a lot of time and energy worrying and in anxious daydreaming, or do you find yourself spending more time in prayer? Are you giving your greatest concerns to God and growing in your faith in Him, or are you seeking to control things yourself and bend them to your will?
- Just as the Jews in the time of Jesus were looking for a political savior, do you find that the majority of your time and energy is focused on worrying about the politics of the kingdoms of this world? Are you looking for a political savior which will shape the world in the way your want, or is your thought life more devoted to allowing God to shape your heart to be more like His? Are you growing in seeing the world through God’s eyes or are you seeing the world through an increasingly political lens?
- Are you spending more or less time in prayer than you were one year ago?
- Are your prayers mostly about yourself, mostly about things directly related to your life, or do you find yourself praying for the concerns of other people as well?
- What did you look forward to the most this year? What makes you hopeful about next year?
- We all have emotional struggles, we all have bad day, seemingly pointless tasks we must accomplish, and seasons of grief and loss. But, overall, would you say that your life is characterized by hope and joy? Are you satisfied in God even if life has been hard and difficult? Or, do you find that you are mostly angry , frustrated, and hopeless?
- Do you find yourself hungry to learn more about God?
- Are you growing in your ability to love your neighbor as yourself? Are you, overall, more self-centered or others centered?
Remember that the point of these questions is to think about what direction you are growing in, none of us is perfect. The wrong response to these questions would be guilt. If you are trying to follow jesus and you have gotten off track or fallen in a rut, guilt isn’t going to get you any closer to God. The proper response is a simple prayer: “Jesus change my desires. Help me fall more in love with you and care about all of these other things less.”
The whole point is putting God in Control of your heart not you. This isn’t a new years self improvement plan, this is about surrendering your heart to King Jesus and asking Him to help you grow.
May your new year be full of growth!