CR Devotional Lesson 11
Spiritual Inventory Part 2
The cycle of unhealthful choices continues as our parents repeat to us some of the old-fashioned maxims their parents quoted to them: “You just have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and go on.” “It’s our secret; nobody else needs to know.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “Let sleeping dogs lie.” These pat answers can keep us from reaching out to get the help we need, while our hurts, hang-ups and habits only continue to escalate.
A man bears scars from his childhood due to years of physical abuse from his father. While growing up, a woman was subjected to her mother’s rage. A family loses its home and cars because the father can’t refrain from daily gambling. Through Internet contacts, a woman reunites with her high school sweetheart and becomes unfaithful to her husband.
Of course, no child ever deserves to be abused in any way. A young woman never willingly subjects herself to longwinded tirades from her mother. The family never expects to lose its home due to betting on horse races. And a husband never foresees his marital relationship being torn apart through the use of a computer.
Things have happened to each of us that we never wanted to happen. We didn’t ask for physical abuse, rage, financial pitfalls or the loss of our possessions or relationships. But if we continue to keep our secrets, the cycle of unhealthful choices will continue into the next generation.
Our spiritual inventory can offer us freedom, perhaps for the first time in our lives. We have the unprecedented opportunity to share our secrets with safe people and can finally exempt ourselves from the unmerited guilt and shame we’ve carried for so long. In some instances we find ourselves able to acknowledge, particularly when we see the details in writing, that we carry no part of the blame for what has happened to us, that we had no responsibilities for others’ actions. With the obstacle of undeserved guilt and shame set aside, we’re free to focus on other areas of our inventory. We can, for instance, concentrate on aspects of our lives in which we’ve blown it by making poor choices.
In Part 1 of our spiritual inventory we looked at our relationship with others, our priorities, our attitudes and our integrity. We evaluated ways in which our past actions in each of these areas had either a negative or a positive effect on our lives and the lives of others.
To complete our spiritual inventory, we need to examine shortcomings or sins that may be preventing God from working effectively in our lives and recoveries.
The fifth area that we need to evaluate is that of our mind. Did you know that the most difficult thing to open is a closed mind? Romans 12:2 gives us clear direction regarding our minds: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We need to acknowledge and examine ways in which our coping skills-our denial-may have protected us from pain and hurt in the past. Our denial may have afforded us protection, but it did so by preventing from living in and dealing with reality. Have you filled your mind with hurtful and unhealthful movies, Internet sites, television programs, magazines or books? If so, it’s possible that you’ve failed to concentrate on the positive truths of the bible.
The next area to examine is our body. Satan works through our bodies, our flesh, but thank God that the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God freely gives us the grace of his Spirit. He values us so highly, in fact, that he chose to place his Spirit within each of us. We owe it to our Creator to have as much respect for ourselves as he has for us. First Corinthians 6:19-20 asks, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
The seventh area we need to examine is that of our family. Joshua, one of Israel’s Old Testament leaders, made a bold statement regarding his household: “I serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Perhaps you have physically or emotionally mistreated your family. Emotional abuse doesn’t have to take the form of raging, yelling or screaming. Tearing down a child’s or spouse’s self-esteem and being emotionally unavailable to them are both ways in which you may have harmed your loved one. God designed the family to be a safety net from life’s storms. As much as it depends on us, we need to provide a haven for our family. If that isn’t possible and you don’t feel safe there, let Celebrate Recovery be your family.
The final area to explore in our spiritual inventory is that of our church. Hebrews 10:25 motivates us with these words: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Analyze whether or not you’ve been faithful to your church in the past. Your church is like a bank: The more you put into it, the more interest you gain. Determine whether you’ve been supportive or critical of your church. If you don’t like something about it, get involved so you can help change it or at least understand it better. Replace your grumbling with service.
These are the eight different areas that will help you begin and complete your inventory. As you start to work on your spiritual inventory, remember two things. First, in Isaiah 1:18 God invites us: “Come now, let us reason together…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Second, keep your inventory balanced by listing not only the negatives but also the positives in your life. List your positive new relationships, the areas of your life you’ve been able to turn over to God, the improvement in your attitude since you’ve been in recovery and the ways in which you’ve been able to step out of your denial into God’s truth.
Take a Look:
- In what ways do you try to fill your mind with the truth and with other positive thoughts?
- How have you mistreated your body in the past? How are you treating it today?
- How would you rate your relationship with your family? How can you improve it?
- Do you have a church home? Do you actively support it with your time, talents and treasures?
- Once again, listen to Isaiah 1:18. Memorize it. God assures you that, no matter how deep the stain of your sin, he can remove it and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.
A couple of reminders:
- Keep your inventory balanced. List you strengths, along with your weaknesses.
- Find an accountability partner and/or sponsor. The road to recovery isn’t a journey to be made alone.
God bless you as you courageously face and own your past. He will see you through!