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.
“OK, that’s a good point Larry, but what does an audit have to do with being, ‘Born Again?’”
The term “Born Again” is often used by Christians to describe the initial experience of entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. My own “Born Again” occurrence happened in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas while reading a book written by Zig Ziglar, titled “Confessions of a Happy Christian.” Zig challenged me to move from being a part-time, come to church casual Christian to giving everything to Jesus Christ: my career, my family, my health, my finances and even my attitude.
“Now that’s exciting! So becoming ‘Born Again’ is like making a major spiritual turnaround in your life?”
Yes. “Born Again” became a popular term shortly after a book of the same title written by Chuck Colson describing his own “Born Again” experience. Chuck made a dramatic character change from President Nixon’s chief hatchet man to become the founder of one of the largest prison ministries in the world. But the term actually comes straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John.
“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.”
“So this person Nicodemus made a spiritual turnaround. What does that have to do with me?”
At this point, many of you who already claim a “Born Again” experience may stop listening: “I’ve been there and done that already!” you say. “Why bring the subject up again? This Scripture is for those poor lost sinners who don’t know Jesus as their Savior. Let’s move on to something more appropriate!”
Don’t tune me out yet. There is another significant lesson here and if you’re not careful you will miss it.
Jesus has a message we urgently need to hear that revolves around the individual, Nicodemus. “Who is he?” We know Nicodemus is a respected religious leader which by today’s standards would likely mean a pastor. So it seems only natural to follow up with another question: “Why would a respected pastor need to be born again?” The Scripture goes on to say… “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (3:4)
The answer to this question and more will come next but it is closely tied to the word: Audit.