Self-Assessment for Christians

Sub-Title: “Striving for Excellence through the Power of the Holy Spirit

On the day of Pentecost Peter explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as foretold in the Old Testament, Joel 2:28 “I will pour out my spirit on all people”, and Isaiah 44.3 “I will pour out my spirit on your off-springs and my blessings on your descendents”.

God had come again into this world, this time not from without through physical contact, but from within by his in-dwelling presence. As a result, we can say that our attitude and behavior should reflect Christ and demonstrate the fruits of the spirit.

We know that God wants to use us as channels of blessing, therefore we are expected to bear fruit. We are told in Galatians 5:22-23 that the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Gentleness, and Self-Control. The more we look like these fruit, the more we look like our Lord. To know if we are bearing fruit, we need to pay attention to the advice Edgar Caycee gave when asked the question, how does one achieve spiritual growth? He said, “We must know ourselves”, and to do this I believe we need to regularly conduct a self-analysis or self-assessment, a reality check.

To know yourself in this context means determining our relationship with our creator. It means addressing the question of, “Where do I stand in relation to the Holy Spirit”. It’s not enough to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we need to use the power of the Holy Spirit because it is not only what we believe that’s important, but what we do with what we believe.

We should enhance our effectiveness as Christ’s messengers by conducting an on going self-Assessment, a reality check. We have Biblical support for this as written in 2nd. Corinthians 13:5 , “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in faith, test yourselves, do you not realize that Jesus is in you? Also, in Galatians 6:4 it says “Each one should test their own actions”.

We do this by asking ourselves questions, then measure our progress against the fruit as standards of excellence. We can determine where we stand in relation to
Christian growth noting that our responses should be measured by Christ’ standards.

As an example, using three of the fruits as qualities of an excellent Christian, we can conduct a self-assessment by asking questions of ourselves.

Love---First Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast, it is not proud, It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. There is Christ’s standard. Love is many things, I don’t want to be overly simplistic, but we can ask ourselves these questions to conduct a reality check.

- Do I show love to all people I meet? How, behaviorally?

- Is there a person I need to share my love with? How should I proceed?

- Do I find fault with my neighbor? In what ways?

Patience---Patience has the quality of endurance and expectations. It is a lively outgoing power of faith. It is a belief and trust in and loyalty to God.

- With whom and in what situations should I show more patience?

- What events cause me to be impatient? How can I improve?

Self-Control---Self control is exercising restraint over ones impulses and emotions. It is trying to be upright, holy, and live a godly life.

- Under what conditions do I fail to demonstrate self control? How can I improve?

- In what areas do I need to exert more self-control?

Questions can be formulated and used in the same manner for the other six fruits. In the final analysis we need a strong sense of accountability. Part of the progress of maturing in to excellence is that of substituting inner discipline for outer by depending on our internal values, rather than being dictated to by external forces. The critical element is that we need to seek congruence between what we believe and what we do.

What better way to strive for excellence than by establishing and utilizing an on-going review process to better understand how we are progressing with our hristian growth.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Gessner is a former football coach and teacher in Addison, Michigan and served as a sales manager for two national corporations. Dr. Gessner was Associate Director of the University of Michigan Extension Service and was Dean of Continuing Studies at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has conducted workshops on interpersonal relationships throughout the United States.