Every once in a while, we have to sit down and balance our checkbook. We take the time to assess what weâ€™ve spent and how we are doing financially.
In a similar way, from time to time we need to take a spiritual inventory and a full audit of our theology. As leaders, it is easy to get in the performance habitâ€”living our faith so publiclyâ€”that we forget the deeper parts of life that really comprise our foundation.
With that in mind, letâ€™s take a look at a few of the basics.
Is God real? Of course we believe God is realâ€”for the most part, we get paid to believe that God is real. However, when things go wrong, when people donâ€™t act their best, is your first call to your resource list or to God? Oftentimes the first place we find discrepancies in our theology is in our attitudes and emotions. We might still act right, but we feel God might not show up or that He too is watching us to find out how weâ€™ll solve this problem.
Does He reward those who earnestly seek Him? Jesus said that if we ask anything in His name (and implied in the John 14 passage is that we need to be doing the work He has called us to) that we will have it. Yet so many times when we have need, we put it on a justice scaleâ€”how can I earn the right to have God provide this thing? Worse, when we sin (and due to the human factor, you are going to sin), we figure out ways we can earn our way back into Godâ€™s good graces instead of just humbly seeking Him.
Is the Holy Spirit active in the lives of those you lead? The Holy Spiritâ€™s job is to teach, guide, correct, comfort and convict the world of sin. Although we are called to lead, teach, encourage and even confront those we walk with, it is tempting to think we go it alone. The Holy Spirit is active in the lives of your congregation. He is also alive in their neighborhoods, calling people to Himself. How does this fact impact how you live out your theology?
How does communion impact your life? I was raised in a church where communion was a ritual. It is easy to go through the motions and fail to realize the power that communion represents. Jesus walked the road to the cross with people jeering at Him, abusing Him, and eventually killing Himâ€”yet He walked in love. That same power that was in Him now lives in us. You have the power to walk in love, even when people are less than kind.
Jesus died on the cross, paying the price for our sin, so that we could live free. Yet so often we feel we must hide our sin (which causes it to grow) instead of bringing it to God and another human being and choosing to walk in the freedom of forgiveness and restoration.
So, how did you do? If you are normal, you found some places your theology and your life donâ€™t quite match up. Thankfully, we are on a journey, and we get the opportunity to course-correct every day. What is one thing you can do differently today that will help you live your beliefs?
Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a masterâ€™s degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at deepimprints.com. She writes a weekly column for ministrytodaymag.com.