In my last post I suggested that our lives and churches are like water jugs. We’ve been given the Living Water, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The way we live in purity and holiness, in unity and love, in joy and power will either cause the gospel about Christ to be appealing or it will cause people to say, “I’m not that thirsty.” Does the watching world want what they see in your life? in your church? or are they saying by their actions, “We’re not that thirsty.” Here are eight steps to clean up your spiritual water jug.
1. Examine yourself. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Joining a church or claiming the name “Christian” doesn’t make you one. A saving relationship with Jesus Christ does. Does His Spirit live in you in such a way that your life is a new creation that looks and acts like Jesus? That’s the starting point for being a powerful witness.
2. Judge yourself. “If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). Do you know of any sin or impurity in your life that is unlike Christ? Those need to go. Pray like the Psalmist,
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24)
3. Remove idols of the heart. An idol of the heart is anything that captures my love in such a way that I’m distracted from my first love for God. Things, money, pleasures, hobbies, sports, careers, positions of power, or other people can all become idols. If you are loving anything too much, put it away and return to your first love.
4. Consecrate yourself and your home. Have you allowed anything into your life or your home that is impure, unholy, ungodly, or unbecoming of a Christ follower? Get rid of it. Whether others know or not, keep your life and your home pure and clean before God.
5. Reconcile broken relationships. Have you offended anyone and not gone to ask forgiveness or make restitution if needed? Get things right with him, her, or them. Has anyone offended you and you are holding on to unforgiveness and bitterness? Forgive. Let no broken relationships remain outstanding.
6. Humble yourself. Do arrogance and pride show up in the way you relate to others? Are you bearing the fruit of pride through such things as a judgmental spirit, critical attitude, prejudice, controlling behavior, condescending attitude, and so forth? “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).
7. Love God and one another. Return to your first love for God and allow His love to flow through you to others in tangible ways. Demonstrate your love by meeting needs.
8. Watch and pray. Draw near to God in prayer and receive His power to resist the temptations that are sure to come your way.
Allow Christ to shine through your life without any distortions—so that the world may believe and be drawn to Him.
If you want more help in a thorough self-examination, see week 2 in my book Come to the Lord’s Table.