Gospel Insights

by Michael Smith


Chapter Thirty Two


Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting
(Psalm 139:23-24)


A Spiritual Spring-Clean

In the days when most homes had coal fires, once the weather warmed up most housewives thought about spring-cleaning the house from all the smoke and dirt that had built up over the long winter months.  Likewise, it is good for the Christian to periodically examine ourselves to see whether there is any 'smoke and dirt' we need to clean out of our lives if we are to be temples fit for the Holy Spirit of God to live in [1].

The prophet Hosea says: "break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12).  To break up our fallow ground is to soften up any hardness in our hearts to prepare us to bring forth more fruit, and we do this by holding up our Christian walk to the light of God's Word, and considering whether we may be harbouring any sins deep in our hearts.  Sin is not a popular word these days, but it is sin that separates us from a holy, loving, righteous God, that keeps us from a close daily walk with Him, and that blocks our way into heaven when we die, so it is vitally important that we keep 'short accounts' regarding our sin in order to be at one with our Creator again.

What are some of the sins that offend God and cut us off from Him?: Ingratitude; doubt and unbelief; neglect of prayer or worship and of reading the scriptures; idolatry (anything or anyone that is more important to us than God Himself Who created us, died for us, and gave us eternal life - what can ever be more important to us than our love for Him?  Everything else must come second); lack of care for our families and anything that threatens or breaks the family unit and hurts the children; self-centredness (which is the root sin of pride); covetousness (seeking our wants rather than simply our needs); lack of concern for others in their need; greed; envy; lying; cheating; lustfulness; sloth (laziness); worldly-mindedness; gossiping, backbiting, and tale-bearing; unforgiveness; resentment; bitterness; anger; hatred... [2].  The list seems long, but if we prayerfully examine ourselves we will probably uncover at least one or two of these nasties lurking in the dark corners of our hearts, and we must grab the housewife's broom and sweep them out!

If we take them to the Lord and repent, seek His cleansing forgiveness and a fresh refilling of His Holy Spirit, then we can leave behind the past and start again afresh with thanksgiving and new found joy in the grace and strength God freely gives [3].  Praise the Lord!

A Spiritual Health Check-Up

From time to time we may have a physical check-up to see how well our bodies are working, and whether there is anything that needs medical attention.  Our walk with God is even more important, and so, in tandem with our spiritual 'spring-clean' it is wise to occasionally give ourselves a spiritual 'check-up' to see if we have matured in the Faith and grown in the Lord, and are closer to God now than when we first believed.

Am I growing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit?  (Galatians 5:22-23),

Do I regularly worship God, and is my relationship with Jesus deeper now than in the past?  (John 4:24),

Do I regularly read the Bible and remember what it says to me and what it teaches me?  (Psalm 119:105),

Do I faithfully spend time every day in prayer?  (Colossians 4:2),

Have I been led by the Holy Spirit to add fasting to times of prayer?  (Matthew 6:16-18),

Do I recognise and confess my own failures, bad habits, and ways that offend God?  (1 John 1:9),

Have I learnt to forgive others who have hurt or offended me, without giving way to resentment, bitterness, or hardness of heart?  (Matthew 6:14-15),

Am I a self-disciplined person, learning to put God first in my life, managing my time effectively, and able to persevere with something God has asked me to do without giving up before it is finished?  (Philippians 2:12-13),

Am I content to live a simple lifestyle, limiting my wants and only seeking my needs?  (Philippians 4:11-12),

Am I willing to give up worldly pleasures that can crowd out time spent with God?  (Luke 6:12),

Do I gladly and generously give of my time and money to help build God's work and to be there for others in their need?  (1 Peter 4:10),

Have I shared my Christian faith with someone else recently?  (Matthew 10:32).



[1]  2 Corinthians 13:5a.          [2]  See, for example, Psalm 51;  1 Corinthians 5:11 and 11:28-31;  Galatians 5:19-21;  Ephesians 5:3-8.          [3]  1 John 1:8-9.




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Michael Smith 2013