“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Each year many of us will go through a physical check-up, perhaps do a financial check up at year’s end or at tax time, and perhaps do a performance review at our workplace. But how often do we take time to review our spiritual life?
Those who are saved by grace are called to grow in grace (2 Pet. 3.18). As disciples of Jesus, we are to live a life of love – love for God and love for our neighbor, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Too often, in the busyness of our day-to-day lives, we let other priorities crowd out the two highest priorities Jesus gave us. The following questions are designed to help you examine your spiritual life over the past year and to prayerfully seek God’s help in areas where you desire to grow in the New Year.
Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.
1. How is my personal relationship with God?
• Do I have a growing desire to spend more time with God? Am I spending appropriate time praying, reading and meditating on the word?
• Am I growing in my desire to obey and please God? Do I obey out of gratitude for God’s love? Or from guilt or fear?
• Have I fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit? Do I ask God to fill me each day with the Holy Spirit?
• Are there areas I am holding back from God? Which ones? Why?
• Am I more aware of the sins in my life? Do I repent on a daily basis and receive forgiveness and cleansing from God. Have I fully, truthfully repented of all past and current sins?
2. Am I actively serving God?
• Volunteering at church?
• Praying regularly for the pastor, staff, missionaries and volunteers?
• Am I seeking to make others feel welcome in my church?
• Doing my job with excellence?
• Reaching out to those around me?
3. Am I growing in my desire and actions to give sacrificially to God’s work in the church, in caring for the poor, and in other ministries? Am I teaching my children about sacrificial giving and putting God before materialistic desires?
4. Am I living in humility before God, my family, friends and co-workers?
5. Is there evidence of grace growing in my life? Do I thank God every day for his love, grace and mercy and saving me from what I deserve? Am I seeing evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in my life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)? Am I learning to see others through the mind of Christ? Am I treating others with the same grace God has shown me?
Loving Your Neighbor
6. Am I loving my family as I should?
• Husbands, are you loving your wives? How, specifically?
• Wives, are you respecting your husbands? How, specifically?
• Parents – are we teaching our children the Bible, how to pray, and how to please God?
• Children, are you honoring your parents? How, specifically?
• Am I managing my time in a way that reflects God’s priorities and honors my family relationships? What specific changes are needed?
• Are there any outside influences that are harming my family relationships? If so, what will I do about them?
7. Am I forgiving others? Is there anyone among my family, friends, neighbors or co-workers that I refuse to forgive? Do I fully trust that God has forgiven my sins?
8. Am I growing in fellowship with other believers?
• Am I part of a small group? Is it making a difference in the lives of participants?
• Do I have a godly mentor to help me grow in my walk with Christ?
• Am I mentoring/discipling a newer believer?
9. Have I personally witnessed to anyone in the past year? In my neighborhood? In my workplace? Am I prepared to share my testimony? To share the Gospel?
• Am I fervently praying for and planning opportunities to witness in this coming year?
• Am I being salt and light in my neighborhood, workplace and social groups? How, specifically?
10. Am I focusing part of my time and money to help the poor and disadvantaged? Am I teaching my children about the importance of helping the poor? How?
Jesus says that if we love him, we will obey him (Jn. 14.15), and he calls us to grow in grace and love. Do you have a plan for growing in your love for God and love for your neighbor for this next year? Will you prayerfully prepare one before the end of the year? To help you grow in these areas, you’ll find a variety of resources on our website.