Thursday, May 14, 2009

Have You Taken Inventory Lately? (Part 2)

“Examine me, O LORD,” whispered David, “and prove me; try my reins and my heart” (Psa 26:2).

Here is an expanded paraphrase of this prayer: “Examine me, O Lord, from head to foot; order your battery of tests. Make sure I'm fit inside and out. Test my thoughts and find out what I am like. Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and affections. Look closely into my heart and mind, and judge my desires and thoughts. Go for it, Jesus; and don’t stop until You are done!”

Is this something you are ready to pray? Are you prepared for the Lord to answer such a prayer? He is more than ready to respond. What is it that holds you back? Is it fear of being found out? Is it guilt over something you have done? Is it shame over something that was done to you? Is it pride? Or, is it unbelief?

None of these things are worthy of your life, and you should not allow any of them to limit you from being who God created you to be, and fully experiencing all that the Lord has purposed for you. The truth is, He already knows what’s in your heart – and, He loves you anyway. The exam is for your benefit; not His.

There was a man who shrugged off his need for such examination. He was a rich man, who lived for only one purpose – to build bigger estates and expand his assets so as to secure for himself a life above and beyond the need for anything, or anyone. He enjoyed great success and fared sumptuously throughout his days upon this earth. Yet, in the end he had nothing. “Fool,” was the final word facing him as he stepped from Time into Eternity. For on the night his soul was required of him, nothing of what he had laid up was of any use in the presence of Almighty God. (see Luke 12:16-21).

Jesus taught that Life does not consist of the things a man possesses. So, when it comes to taking inventory – we must look past our bank accounts, our educational degrees, our celebrated accomplishments, cherished awards, and other personal achievements. We must look instead to the inner chambers of our souls. What do you have in there that will carry on beyond the grave? That, in the final analysis, is what matters most of all.

Some years ago I came upon a wondrous poem in an old book. I was profoundly impacted when I first read it, and have carried it deep in my heart now for several years. Each time I reflect upon it, I am presented anew with a question of where I am as I journey through life. Indeed, the poem itself highlights the very passage of my soul through this pilgrim world. It will do the same for you.
As you read it you, too, will find yourself in its brief stanzas. There are only four, yet they comprehensively sum up the present condition of every person living in the earth. This short poem is about you. In fact, it is in one way or another your very confession at this moment in your life. Here, read it and you will see what I mean.

O the shame and bitter sorrow
that a time could ever be
when I let my Savior's mercy
plead in vain, and proudly answered,
“All of self and none of Thee.”

Yet He found me.
I beheld Him dying on the cursed tree.
I heard Him pray, “Forgive him Father.”
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of self and some of Thee.”

Day by day His tender mercy,
healing, helping, guiding me;
sweet and strong, and O so patient,
brought me lower till I whispered,
“Less of self and more of Thee.”

Now, higher than the highest heavens,
deeper than the deepest sea.
Lord, at last Thy love has conquered.
Grant me now my soul's desire:
“None of self and all of Thee!”

See what I mean? Somewhere in the middle of reading that poem your heart said something to you. What did it say? And what are you going to do about it? Which of the four phases best depicts where you are in life right now? Honestly. What would others say? What would the Lord say? Is it possible that the time has come for you to move to the next phase? Couldn’t you take just one more step forward, onward, and upward ere time end and you come up short of what your life could have been?

In other words, have you taken inventory lately?

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