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home : religion : inspirational reflections September 21, 2019

7/7/2019 12:11:00 AM
Take Your Own Inventory
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

Paul says in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” One of the most important things Jesus came to teach us was about our sin, and He wanted us to know that our sin is more than our outward behavior. Dealing with sin includes our attitude towards sin in ourselves and others. It is easy to point a finger at someone else’s sin but Jesus says we need to keep the focus on ourselves.

Luke 18:9-14
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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I believe that God uses many ways to reinforce His Word in the Bible. Bill Wilson was the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and a Christian. The 12 Steps of recovery that he created were based on Biblical principles and many people over the years have worked through them to break free from self destructive thinking and behavior of all kinds in over 200 different recovery programs. The 12 Steps can help anyone who is struggling with sin to have a spiritual awakening, and many people have been led back to the church as a result. In The Fourth Step says “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” In the Fourth Step, many people have actually seen their own sin clearly for the first time. I know I did.

When we work the Fourth Step we have to be honest about our immoral behavior, our character defects, and our short comings – in other words – our sin. We have to accept that our problems are within us and stop blaming other people for the trouble in our life. We are responsible for the choices we have made and the things we have done. We take our own inventory. After doing this, Step Five says “We admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Many people have found spiritual freedom after working the Fourth and Fifth Step. When people want to beat us down and criticize us for the mistakes we have made we say “Take your own inventory!”

Sometimes we focus on other people’s sin in prayer and feel superior to them because “God I thank you that I’m not like them!” However, Jesus says you need to look at the man or woman in the mirror and take your own inventory.

To find a 12 Step Group in the Lincolnton area Google “12 Step Meetings Lincolnton NC.”

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 or

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