MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES
(Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious heart. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.)
Are you experiencing some form of apprehension as you approach Step 4? This is not only understandable, but it is also the reason why it needs to be "searching and fearless". This step has a specific place in the great plan that God has for each of our lives and as Christians we need to move into and through this step with faith, believing and expecting. Hebrews 12:11 tells us that - -
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
God really does love us and He urges us in Isaiah 1:18 to - -
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
He then begins to unfold the inventory plan He has for us in Ezekiel 36: 26,27 and 31 - -
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My Laws. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.
We need to ask ourselves at this point, why would God, after doing all these good things in us and for us, want us to remember (look at) our "evil ways" and to loathe ourselves for our "sins and detestable practices"? Does this seem like it's pretty drastic? Let's look at what God says in Psalm 36:1 and 2
Concerning the sinfulness of the wicked. There is no fear of God before his eyes, for in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detest or hate his sin.
This is confirmed by what He says to us as Christians in 1 John 1:8 and 10 - -
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His Word has no place in us.
In essence, God is telling us that He associates refusal to identify sin with wickedness. When we deceive ourselves by refusing to identify these things in our lives, then our understanding of His Word is blocked (has no place in us).
Praise God that His plan continues to unfold for us as He tells us in 1 John 1:9 - -
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
This is our guarantee, this is our green light, this is the encouragement we need to proceed as God would have us, "searching and fearless." Jesus said in John 15:1 and 2 - -
"I am the true vine and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful.
If, after considering what has been said, we believe that the inventory step does have a definite place in God's plan for us, we are now ready to involve ourselves in a practical way. Since to confess means to identify and acknowledge, we can begin the process of doing this by first asking the Holy Spirit to guide us identifying to what extent the strengths and weaknesses (personality traits) in our lives manifest themselves. We will get some idea of this as we check the appropriate columns in the listings below. REMEMBER, God is with us and He wants this to be "searching and fearless."
4TH STEP INVENTORY WORKSHEET (Click this link for pdf printable version)
A = Very Little (Practically never) C = Considerable (Most of the time)
B = Occasional (Some of the time) D = Consistently (Almost always)