Life inventory control:
Knowing what you have
Knowing what you need
Knowing what you can do without
I recently came across this line in a Hollywood movie and it made me stop in my tracks and ask myself - is my own life inventory in order?
Physical Life Inventory
Knowing what you have seems easy. You just look around and you can see it, right? Well not so much! It wasn’t until I went on a home decluttering mission a few months ago that I realised just how much ‘stuff’ I had - and it was pretty surprising. Sometimes we have to delve beneath the surface to really know what we have.
Knowing what you need is a little harder. We need air, we need water, these ones are obvious and universal. But often what we need may be related to individual factors, such as age, location and circumstances - for example a baby needs milk, or someone who works as a bus driver needs a drivers licence.
Knowing what you can do without is the real stinger. Often it can be difficult to distinguish between a genuine need and a want, a priority and a luxury. Add to that the fact that as humans we have a tendency to get very attached to our possessions, even when we know in our hearts they aren’t strictly necessary, and suddenly 'doing without' becomes very problematic.
Looking at things from a purely physical standpoint is tricky enough - but what about our spiritual inventory? When was the last time you took stock?
Spiritual Life Inventory
As children of God navigating our way through this temporary life, we have to be conscious of our spiritual baggage. What we are carrying can make or break our journey - determining when, how and even if we reach our desired destination.
So what do we have?
As believers, the bible tells us we have numerous tools to assist us on our journey. Here are a few of the big ones:
The word of God itself, through which we learn the attributes of God, his plan and purpose for mankind as a whole and for us personally, and the incredible story of our redemption through Christ.
Access to the throne of grace where we can find help and receive God’s mercy whenever we need it. (Hebrews 4:16)
A high priest in Jesus who has walked in our shoes, experienced our pain and understands our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:14-15)
Unique and powerful spiritual gifts given to us to glorify God, draw us closer to him in worship and bless those around us. (1 Peter 4:10)
This list is far from exhaustive and it takes diligent, regular and conscientious study of God’s word - coupled with daily communication with our Father in prayer - to even begin to get the full picture of what we are in possession of as children of God.
What do we need?
To successfully complete the journey of life we need to keep our eyes fixed firmly on the prize and arm ourselves for the journey.
God’s word tells us to pursue God above all else (Matthew 6:33). This is not easy, they are many challenges and hurdles along the way. But the bible makes it clear that we have available to us all the tools to make a success of the journey.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, we learn that in order to fight the good fight of faith we need to put on the complete armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). That armour is available to us in its entirety, and we need to know it’s there, take hold of it and wear it in order for it to be effective.
What can we do without?
There are many potential distractions that can derail our journey and it is vital that we recognise what these are and take steps to eliminate them.
The bible refers to them as "weights" that we must consciously “lay aside” in order to effectively run our race (Hebrews 12:1). These weights might be unique to each of us and may include certain hobbies, habits, mindsets, traditions and even career and lifestyle choices that pull us away from God.
We need to ask ourselves - how does this particular thing or activity affect my relationship with God? Does it help or hinder me in my walk with him? These questions are tougher than they seem, the answers will often surprise us, and it takes courage to act on them.
One thing we can be certain of is that God sees your heart and your effort and he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
Let us ask God to search us, open our eyes to the vast resources in front of us, and help us take stock of our personal and spiritual inventory so that we can not only run the race, but obtain the prize.