Lately, I have been reading the Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter. It is a great book, and one I highly recommend. In his section on the Oversight of the Flock, Baxter challenges pastors to both be acquainted with and to know the spiritual state of their people. He believes that pastors need to know the temperament or disease of the flock, in order to be a good physician.
Benefit for Everyone
I believe Baxter’s advice is great, but it is not just for pastors. I believe everyone can benefit from his advice. We all need to understand our own spiritual state, so we know where we need the most accountability, and what we need to consistently watch out for and pray to God to help us with.
In order to help evaluate ourselves, I have provided a modified version of a list Baxter gives to his readers to assist us in testing our own spiritual state.
The list is as follows:
(1) What are your natural inclinations? What are your tendencies? In other words, what actions, attitudes, or beliefs are you disposed toward? To what sins are you naturally drawn?
(2) Who are the people you keep regular company with? Do they serve to build you up in Christ, or do they tear you down?
(3) What sins are you most in danger of committing? Are there circumstances in your life that allow you to easily sin in a particular area?
(4) What duties (prayer, Bible study, Scripture memory, evangelism, accountability, family devotions, etc.) are you most apt to neglect?
(5) To what temptations are you most likely to succumb?
If we honestly answer all these questions, we will have a proper understanding of our current spiritual state, which should help us to guard ourselves on a daily basis. As well as know in what areas we need to seek accountability from others.