Mention the word, “audit” and watch a business leader cringe. Why? Well, it’s like a trip to the dentist office. You dread going but deep down you know it’s necessary. Organizations routinely and voluntarily conduct audits to ensure proper financial procedures are followed. An annual audit of church finances reassures congregations that money donated in good faith is properly accounted for.
“But talking about audits is boring.” At the same time we would be wise to routinely conduct a personal audit to check how we are doing as followers of God. Here are six suitable areas you could examine:
1. Are you actively pursuing and fulfilling God’s purpose for your life?
2. How are you managing the money God has entrusted to your care?
3. Where are you utilizing your time and energy? What are your priorities?
4. How is your Christian witness with family and friends? Do you set a good example?
5. What is your influence at work? Are you respected and known as a man or woman of conviction?
6. How is your personal relationship with Christ? Can you honestly say you are growing in faith?
A thorough and complete audit should expose many excellent qualities about you and your walk with God but at the same time a good audit will also reveal areas which need serious improvement.
“After dark one evening, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to speak with Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are proof enough that God is with you.” (John 3:1-2)
Jesus replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus has a message for Nicodemus: a respected religious leader who today would likely be called pastor. Question: “Why would a respected pastor need to be born again?” Nicodemus himself asks: “What do you mean? How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (3:4)
Could Jesus be saying Nicodemus need an audit?
The only time Jesus mentions the term, “born again,” is when talking to a person who would already be considered a faithful follower of God. Why? Is Jesus saying that even those who are already ‘born again’ need to be ‘born again,’ again?
A business sets a goal for a month. The goal sounds high, maybe impossible! But suppose they reach the goal during the first week. Wow! What an achievement. The next month they reach it by day four and the next by day five? What would you think? Maybe it’s time for an audit. An audit would likely show that the business needs to set higher goals.
Likewise, if you’re satisfied with an initial “born again” experience but don’t continue developing and strengthening your relationship with Christ? You need an audit. You need to be born again… again!
Becoming “Born Again” can be the beginning but becoming “Born Again” can also serve as an audit. In the Methodist Church we refer to it as Sanctifying Grace or the day by day pursuit of living a better life before God.
You get married, have a wonderful honeymoon. Upon returning you go back to your house and your spouse goes to their house and both of you go back to living exactly the same way as before the wedding. What? What kind of relationship would that be? This couple needs an audit.
Becoming ‘born again’ is meant to be the beginning of a growing relationship with Jesus Christ?”
Maybe it’s time to look at our audit again but now more seriously:
1. Are you actively pursuing God’s purpose for your life? God has a special purpose especially designed for your unique gifts and talents. What are you doing about it?
2. How are you managing resources God entrusted to you? If God examined your checkbook would you be excited or nervous? Does God participate in your financial decisions?
3. Where are you utilizing your time and energy? What are your priorities? If God were to examine your schedule would your time be distributed between work, family and God?
4. How is your Christian witness? Do you set a good example? Do you regularly pray with and for family and friends? Do you seek opportunities to talk about God?
5. What is your influence? Are you respected and known as a man or woman of conviction? If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
6. How is your personal relationship with Christ? Can you say you are growing in faith? Are you with a small group designed to encourage and hold each other accountable before God?
Jesus then said to Nicodemus and continues to say to us: “For God so loved the world he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. (John 3:16-17) Are you ready to be “born again?”