“Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.’” Haggai 1:5 (NIV)
The Prophet Haggai urged the post-exilic remnant to reflect on some of the things happening to them and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had commanded them. It is a good thing to pause and think about the direction of our lives from time to time- kind of a spiritual evaluation. No matter who you are, no matter how long you have served the Lord, we believe this type of introspection, examination and reflection is a good and necessary thing.
As you face the new year, here is a diagnostic tool for you to use to do your own intentional spiritual tune up. Answer the questions honestly and prayerfully in the presence of God so that you can gain a more accurate idea of where you are in your spiritual formation and what you need to work on by God’s grace.
This is not an exercise in navel-gazing. Many Christians aren’t growing spiritually because they have no plan for growth, they are unwilling to pay the price for growth, and they have not called someone else alongside to hold them accountable so that growth can take place. So here are some questions to help you “give careful thought to your ways.” Your responses could also provide helpful information to a mentor whom you might ask to help you in your growth.
1. Do I struggle with God’s approval of me? (In what way?) [The issue of grace or God’s approval of us is formative to how we live our lives – Titus 2:11-12]
2. What are the ungodly heart-attitude(s) in me that may compromise my usefulness to God? [A question to uncover heart issues not just behavior- Matt.7:15-20; 2 Tim.2:20-21]
3. What do I need to do to strengthen my walk with God? Is there a spiritual discipline that I must implement? [1 Tim. 4:7]
4. What is the single biggest time-waster in my life, and what will I do about it? [Eph. 5:15, 16]
5. What one thing do I most regret and how am I dealing with that? [How we deal with past baggage is important to how we live in the present- Phil.3:13]
6. What’s the single most important thing I could do to improve the quality of my family life this year? [If unmarried, answer with your family of origin in mind.]
7. For whose salvation will I pray most fervently this year? [2 Peter 3:9]
8. What is the most important decision I need to make this year and how will I keep God in the middle of my future concerns so they are not merely my own dreams? [Phil.4:6]
9. What is my most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step I can take toward achieving it in a way that honors God? [Financial stewardship- 1 Tim. 6:17-19]
10. What could I do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy I will leave to my children and grandchildren? [Stewardship of the family- Psalm 71:17,18]
11. Who will I ask to come alongside of me to help challenge me to love and good works? [Heb. 10:24)] Who will I come alongside of to do the same thing? [The importance of mentoring and being mentored.]
12. Who could I welcome into my life that looks and talks differently than I do? [The love of the “stranger”- Matt 25:31-40