Its always a sobering experience to take spiritual inventory of any kind. If
every Christian made it a practice, we would ask ourselves: According to
Gods Word, how effectively are the churches being salt and light to the people
Asking questions like this is crucial! Not doing so
is disastrous. Jesus addressed it in Matthew 25 in the parable of the Ten
Virgins. Five were wise, and five were foolish. The five who were foolish did
not take regular inventory of the oil for their lamps. Yet they were expected
to be ready for the bridegroom when he arrived. When he arrived suddenly and
without warning, they were unprepared. Then come some of the most painful words
in the entire Bible: . . . while they went out to buy (more oil), the
bridegroom came . . . and the doors were shut . . . (Matthew 25:10). In
other words, Too late! You cannot enter now!
Transparent honesty is another aspect of our spiritual inventory. We must
face up to the conditions in society today. They are deplorable, at best. For
some time we have been slouching towards Gomorrah as Robert Bork described it
in his 1997 book by that name. Were going downhill at avalanche speed.
Besides transparency, the most important aspect of our spiritual inventory
is conducting it in light of Gods Word. Jesus said to His disciples, You
are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world (Matthew
5:13-16). In other words, we are Gods provision to preserve society; we
are to bring out the best flavor in a community or nation. Hes saying: You are
the Light in the darkness.
If a nation is getting darker, or decaying, the problem is not entirely with
society. The problem really lies with the condition of Gods people.
Surveys by George Barna, a Christian sociologist, indicate that there is
virtually no difference in the lives of the people of God and the society
around them. Its Barnas opinion that the people of God are no longer a
significant difference or influence, morally or even spiritually, in the
culture. Even more disturbing to Barna is his conclusion that Gods people,
especially the leaders, are not taking enough notice of this fact. Instead, we
conduct our programs and activities, often simply to grow larger in numbers,
but our influence as salt and light is not being felt in the culture.
Some are already saying that the greatest mission field may be the churches.
I dont agree that a large percentage of the people of God are not saved. But I
do believe that most of Gods people are not being seriously discipled, as Jesus
commanded (Matthew 28:20) and as the early church in Jerusalem practiced (Acts
2:41-47). Evangelism is a by-product of effective discipleship. We have
reversed this, making discipleship a by-product of evangelism. When Gods people
are carefully and diligently led to practice everything Jesus
commanded (Matthew 28:20), their lives are so filled with the presence of
Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that their influence is explosive in
the lost world around them. Yet we have seriously neglected this mandate of
God, and our nation is suffering the terrible consequences.
Thus, we must take a thoughtful inventory of the spiritual condition, by
Gods standard in His Word, of the people of God. When Gods people once again
are holy, as He is holy (1 Peter 1:13-21, especially verses 5-16), the effect
of their lives in the homes, the schools, the workplaces and every aspect of
society will be powerfully evident. To neglect the people of God is to neglect
the spiritual life, health and destiny of our continent and world!
The author of Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby is president of
Henry Blackaby Ministries. Visit www.henryblackaby.com for more information. Bible
references are from The New King James Version.
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