From time to time, it is necessary to evaluate ourselves, to ask ourselves questions to see if we are living the life Christ designed for us to live. Without examination, we might not even see a problem.
My friend recently had some routine blood tests, and the results alarmed her doctors.
They noticed something troublesome with her white blood cells and sent her to a hematologist.
This specialist explained the blood mystery; my friend had once had mononucleosis in the past, probably years before, and she didn't even know it.
A Spiritual Heart Check
The following questions are designed as a spiritual heart check. They are meant to surface sin in our lives; not to make us feel condemned but to open an avenue in which the Holy Spirit can point out sin and then work His miraculous power.
God wants an intimate relationship with us, but unconfessed sin can block that intimacy, constructing, as it were, a big brick wall between us and Him.
So grab a Bible and go to a quiet place. You might consider answering these questions together with a friend.
Alone or with someone else, ask God to use this test to show any specific areas in which He wants to work in you.
Forgiveness Follows Repentance
If God has used any of the questions to point out areas of your life that need transforming, be encouraged -- that means the Holy Spirit is at work in you.
He wants unhindered intimacy with us, so He convicts us of sin to bring about repentance. The Greek word translated in Scripture as "repentance" means literally to "change your mind." Repentance is not guilt, remorse or even sorrow.
While these things may lead to repentance, repentance itself involves a change of direction followed by the active decision to choose God's way.
As I change my mind about my actions, confessing that they are in opposition to the revealed will of God, I am admitting ownership of my sin.
And ownership means acknowledging my participation in sin, despite the external influences that might contribute to my behavior. In other words, repentance requires that I set aside the "victim mentality" and declare myself the perpetrator.
God always welcomes the repentant sinner into His arms, showering us with forgiveness and mercy.
Just like any relationship, walking with God is moment by moment. We will sin again -- it is inevitable. But when we do, and we feel the prick of our consciences, which is actually the Holy Spirit convicting us, then we simply confess it right away.
The sooner we confess sin, the sooner our intimacy is restored.
Being Transformed by the Holy Spirit
It's been called "spiritual breathing." We recognize our sin and confess it -- exhale -- then fill ourselves with truth and the Holy Spirit -- inhale.
The Holy Spirit is a powerhouse; only He can change us. We Christians have Him living inside of us -- the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
All too often, though, we set up our own rules on how we will change, what we will change, and when we will change. God gave us the Holy Spirit to do that.
We need only depend on Him and surrender to Him. Surrender is not a one-time experience. We must regularly check our hearts through the Holy Spirit to ensure that we don't construct "barriers" between us and the Lord.
God wants us to live out of a fresh understanding of His love for us and out of the overflow of our love for Him. At the core of our identity, God wants to be there loving, leading and guiding.
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