What’s on your shelves?
As mothers and wives, we spend our lives taking inventory. We could quite possibly do inventory for a multi-billion dollar business with all the knowledge we have acquired! Every year and several times during the year, we are restocking the proverbial shelves of our lives and homes. We each have our very own Esty store. Actually, it is more like a super Walmart. We stock everything; food, clothes, furniture, bathroom supplies, bedding, cleaning supplies, and you should check out our huge inventory on toys, not to mention, our Christmas Store. At our companies we aim to please our, ever so little and some not so little, clients.
You want it? We’ve got it!
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. – Proverbs 31:14-22
We are constantly refilling orders every day, but who is taking a spiritual inventory?
Philippians 2:16 says,
“holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain”
That word holding fast literally means “to have or hold upon, apply, to observe, attend to, to give attention to, to check.” We are to give attention to the word of God, we are to observe it and apply it. Why? Because on that day, the day we meet our maker, we want to stand before Him and know that we have not run this race, the one we are in the midst of running, in vain.
Have you ever labored in vain? Worked so hard at something, given much time and energy, only to find at the end of it all it was of no use? I have. It’s kind of like cleaning the family room before your two-year-old wakes up, useless really. On a serious note, it is such a let down and even makes us angry. I personally do not want to get to the end of my life and find out it was in vain. Without real significance, value or importance.
Our spiritual inventory has value.
We are all keenly aware when there is no food in the pantry, usually because someone who is two feet tall is screaming, “snack”. But how do we know when we are running low spiritually? Well, the psalmist gives us some direction when he says, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct [it] to You, And I will look up” Psalm 5:3, NKJV. We need to give God our firsts: The first of our money, the first of our talents, and the first of our time. Before facebook, the phone or even ebay. Make it a habit to give God your firsts.
Do you ever feel that God isn’t listening?
Often, we get caught up in asking for the wrong things, well James puts it this way,
“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” – James 4:3
A good practice to get in the habit of doing is at the end of our prayer time saying, “not my will but thine be done.” It’s been said that Prayer is a mighty instrument, not for getting man’s will done in heaven, but for getting Gods will done on earth. By the same token, sin also plays a part in God not hearing our prayers. Isaiah cuts straight to the heart of the matter when he states, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden [His] face from you, So that He will not hear Isaiah 59:2, NKJV. Sin separates us from God. We need to keep short accounts with God. He promises us in 1 John 1:9,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Think of it this way, if you carry an American Express card you pay it off at the end of every month. This particular card does not accumulate interest unless you go over thirty days, hence the express part. If we confess our sin regularly to God, keeping a short account, it keeps us in good standing. Now, at this point, most of you are saying, “but wait, I thought we can’t earn a right standing with God?. Yes, that is correct. When we are talking in regards to our salvation, eternal life, there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it. It is a free gift. However, we are called as Christians to live clean lives and that requires repentance from sin and the confession of it. Two of the things we as Christians don’t practice nearly enough.
“He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” -Psalm 103:9-13
Remember, Repent, Repeat
As we trek into the New Year. Let’s get out our pen and paper and take a spiritual inventory. May I suggest, writing out everything you can think of. Here are a few to get you started, and then add your own:
What did I do well last year?
What could I improve on this year?
Did I grow, spiritually, they way I desired?
Was I a good steward of my time, talents, and treasures?
What are my spiritual goals this year?
What would I like to see spiritually in my children this year?
What character issues do I need to work on?
What character issues do I need to help my children work on?
Did I do well on the home front (cleaning, cooking, providing for my family)?
What are things in my schedule I need to change to accomplish these goals?
I pray as we journey together through 2013, that it will be a year of changed lives, with tremendous growth for us all. I will be taking some time to ponder these things in my life. I constantly need the refilling and power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the every day tasks that God has appointed for me. It is necessary for me to understand and apply these things…it helps me breath. When I take times with the Lord, confess my sin to Him, pray and ask His help and makes sure my shelves are restocked, I have a much easier time functioning in this very busy world.
It’s simple; it’s just not easy!
What’s on your shelves?
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30