A Spiritual IEP (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you are disqualified.
2 Corinthians 13:5

An IEP is an acronym for Individual Educational Plan. IEP’s are mandated by federal law and defines the educational goals and objectives for a child with special needs, facilitating the steps needed to be taken to ensure that the child achieves these stated goals and objectives. Regularly scheduled meetings occur during the school year and the participants involve one or both parents, the student’s teachers, a representative of the school district with expertise in special education. Other individuals, including legal counsel, may be included at the behest of the school, parents, or both. When the IEP is successful, a child with special needs can meet and often exceed the stated objectives and goals. When unsuccessful, the IEP can be a focal point of frustration and a trigger to assign blame to school educators.

What if there were a spiritual IEP that each of us had to participate in at least once a year? In addition to our pastors, we could have our spouse, our children, our employers or fellow co-workers, and close friends. We would review the spiritual goals that were outlined from the previous meeting. We would have objective measures to determine whether the goals were met. Suggestions could be made to find ways to facilitate achieving unmet goals. New goals could be established if prior goals were met.

Does this sound intimidating? The Holy Spirit, though the Apostle Paul, instructs us to examine and test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. To what measures could we hold ourselves accountable? While we could have objectives measures such as church attendance, participation in a small group, our time spent reading the Bible, none of these is a true measure of our faith. There are people who participate in all the before mentioned activities but may not be a believer or be a believer who has backslidden and has drifted from the pure milk of God’s teaching, leading a carnal life. No, to truly test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith needs to be much deeper and intimate than external actions. The true test must examine our heart in the light of God’s Word. Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21).

Where do our thoughts drift when we are alone, when we are in pain, when we are happy? Does Jesus Christ penetrate our very essence so that in everything we do, everywhere we go, and with everyone we meet? Our Lord Jesus Christ understood the necessity of humbling Himself, taking all prayers and thoughts to God the Father. His path of perfect obedience took Him to the cross and the glory of the resurrection. A story is told of the great english preacher Charles Spurgeon. Once when he was crossing the street with his colleagues, he stopped in the middle of the street, and began praying. After a few minutes, he proceeded to finish crossing the street. His concerned colleagues asked him why did he endanger himself by stopping in the middle of the street. Spurgeon replied, "A cloud came between my soul and Christ, and I could not remain there even long enough to reach the other side of the street."

That is a tremendous example of a humble faith and submission to God! May God bless all of us as we seek to understand His word and be obedient to His calling. Submit yourself to a spiritual IEP and find where your true treasure lies. AMEN!

Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.