“Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23, ESV)
God is not interested in each of us becoming a shepherd out in the pastures of the world, but He is interested in our giving attention to where we are when it comes to our service to Him and others!
This principle is understood by any successful business owner regardless of size or number of employees. In order to be financially stable … it is imperative at the end of the business year to take inventory … to take stock … of what came in by way of materials … what went out by way of product … and the cost of labor to get it out the door!
Yet another year is coming to a close and what a year it has been in so many ways! Every New Year brings with it the truth that “we have not passed this way before” … but our generation has not “passed this way before” in terms of the pandemic and all the accompanying challenges that continue for the foreseeable future. Other generations have had their own challenges to be sure.
The business of “self-examination” is not an easy assignment to meet! The cold and chilly winds of self-examination are just not that easy to contend with. Perhaps this is one of the major reasons we are not more successful with the process!
The Bible is replete with passage after passage encouraging the “wise” person to “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless you fail to meet the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
In order for any of us to do better in our lives with our lives … and that should be the desire of each one of us … we have to “look into the mirror of God’s Word” and be willing to see our weaknesses, our faults, our sins and the very real need to make a change!
Now making the change is not defined by what we think or want to excuse or justify! Making the change is found in my willingness to surrender my own self … my own will to the Chief Shepherd and Lord of all mankind!
It is very easy to trust in our own vision of who we are, or what we should be and do, isn’t it? Yet, the Bible warns us in no uncertain terms that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV)
Care to guess why this is so true? Listen again to these words, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23, NKJV)
Satan would have each of us believe that we are fully capable of planning our own course … but he is a liar … and he will never tell us the end result of listening to his advice!
To become “wiser” in God’s ways … we must offer this plea, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties.” (Psalm 139:23, NKJV) Just as David asked … invited … and sought for the Lord to continue searching his heart and the thoughts and desires that lay there … and help him root out anything that didn’t belong there … it should be the same desire for each of us.
The God who made each of us … provides all that is good for each of us … watches over each of us … is truly the great heart-searcher! He has and always will know what is best for us!
Perhaps at the very core of our relationship with God is the humility of heart to say, “Thy will be done.”
Diligence is to be descriptive of the entirety of our lives … in the business of everyday life … looking after our families … all areas … with the view of eternal life.
It is my prayer that now and however long our future is to be on this earth that we allow the strong, cold, and chilly winds of self-examination help to drive from our hearts the fears and doubts, to the place of the “peace that passes all understanding” with the assurance that it “…will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, NKJV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.