By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writer’s Opinion)
GROVE, OK (ANS – January 15, 2017) — “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” — Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB).
From the posts I’ve read on social media and remarks from friends, I’m certain most of us are glad 2016 is behind us.
Although 2016 was a challenge, I held out hope for a promising ending. However, I was confronted with disappointing news several days before the end of the year. It wasn’t just one piece of news — it came in a bundle of three — all on the same day.
I turned to trusted friends, asking for prayer. The next morning while writing in my prayer journal, God’s Holy Spirit revealed an answer to my “Why?” The reply came, “We each have free will.”
We can choose to follow God’s leading or we can select our own path. I trust the path others have chosen is the path God has prepared for them. I must walk forward, faithfully, on the path God has prepared for me.
While each day offers an opportunity to examine our spiritual lives, a new year is especially conducive to searching our hearts and our lives to see if they line up with God’s plans. Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Do I have a growing desire to spend more time with God? Am I spending quality time praying, reading and meditating on the Word? Just as we go for a routine physical exam to detect health problems before they become serious, we can do the same for our spiritual health by seeking Him each morning before our day becomes busy and filled with distractions.
2) Am I letting my busy schedule crowd out the power of the Holy Spirit? We are saved by grace and we are called to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). As Jesus’ disciples, we are to live a life of love — love for God and love for our neighbor.
3) Have I fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit? Do I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit each morning? Until we understand the power of His Holy Spirit in our lives, we aren’t maturing spiritually. Galatians 5:25 says, “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
4) Are there areas of my life I am holding back from God? Which ones? Why? Spiritual maturity is an ongoing process. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:12 that he has “not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize.”
5) Is there evidence of spiritual growth in my life? Do I thank God every day for his love, grace and mercy? Is the fruit of the Spirit in my life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) more evident?
Make time for a spiritual check-up. God promises new life which is better than a new year.
Photo captions: 1) You will feel much better after a spiritual check-up. 2) Carol Round.
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