Jesus tells a parable in Luke 11:24-26 in which he talks about a man who was working to rid his life of an evil spirit only to attract more evil into his life. Jesus used this story to illustrate how focusing on a problem alone instead of a positive solution can create more problems if we aren’t careful.
He was specifically referring to the religious leaders of this time who were known for taking time for personal inventory of their own lives. They identified the negative behaviors that needed to end, like gossiping, lying, stealing and worshipping false gods, etc but in doing so they overlooked the importance of replacing these things in our lives with goodness. As a result, the Pharisees became focused on ending these “bad things” that they became legalistic, critical, judgmental and self-righteous. There was no mercy; there was no grace; there was no love. Jesus said, “That’s a problem.”
What can we learn from this story as we use this time to take personal inventory in our own lives? I want to share with you three thoughts.
#1 GOAL SETTING
I’m convinced that it’s important for you and I to set positive goals for our lives in order to have a fresh start in 2020 and avoid a rerun of 2019. Goals give our lives direction and lead us in a new way. Even Jesus encouraged His followers to take personal inventory to identify areas for improvement. Reflection allows us to see that we need to work on our temper, stop being jealous of others or whatever the issue may be. Jesus tells us that it’s not enough to commit to end these bad habits, but He says we have to have goals and a plan for goodness. What are your goals for 2020?
#2 LIFE IS RISKY
Jesus was clear that following him would not be easy, it would be risky. He illustrates this point in Luke 9:58 by saying, “The foxes, they have their holes, and the birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Jesus was saying, if you understand and follow me, life is a risky business. It takes commitment, it’s going to be hard work, and there’s a price to be paid. When you commit to a dream, you take a chance on being hurt, but Jesus encourages us to not give up!
#3 A RENEWED COMMITMENT
Third, when we look at this new year and take time for our own personal inventory, I hope you’ll pray about your goals and ask God if they are in line with His will for your life. It is my hope and prayer that going through this process of personal inventory in your life leads you to re-commit your life to following Christ in new and exciting ways.