“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2).
There is in every man or woman who desires to be truly successful and effective in life, an intuitive sense that requires of them a personal commitment to self-examination so as to insure they will have what it takes to deliver the goods when the moment of opportunity knocks.
Indeed, inherent to every significant advance in life is a time of individual introspection; a season when we take inventory and honestly assess who we are, what we’ve got, where we are headed, and how we plan to get there.
Inventory. Webster’s defines it as “an itemized list of current assets; a catalog of the property of an individual or an estate. A list of goods on hand. A survey of resources. A list of traits, preferences, attitudes, interests, or abilities used to evaluate personal characteristics or skills.”
Have you taken inventory lately?
There are defining moments in life when we each need to take inventory; not so much as it pertains to material wealth or other tangible possessions, but rather as it concerns the condition of our souls. We need to take stock on the welfare of our spirit; a real heart examination – not of the cardiovascular pump, but of the deepest interior of our very selves.
However, our inspections can be misleading, for our self-perceptions are not always trustworthy. “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” was the boast of one sad lot of Christians who lived long ago in a town called Laodicea. But when Christ took inventory of their lives, His report was altogether different. “You don’t know how bad off you are,” Jesus said, “you are pitiable like a blind beggar, poor like a miserable wretch, threadbare and homeless like a poverty-stricken outcast” (see Revelation 3:17).
We tend to see ourselves as we want to be, rather than as we are.
Honesty is crucial if our inventory is to serve any real purpose. For if we lie to ourselves at this point, then we have failed before we take even the first step. And to insure honesty, we really need someone else to assist us in our self-evaluation; someone who loves us, and will be objective in speaking truthfully to the vital issues in our lives.
Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight. Solomon understood this long ago, and wrote, “He that is first in his own cause seems just; but his neighbor comes and searches him out” (Proverbs 18:17). And again, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2).
Indeed, who better to examine us than the Lord? We’ll discuss this in more detail tomorrow.