A popular business practise is periodically to take some time-out from ordinary business activities for the purpose of review, brain-storming, forecasting and vision casting. Often the SWOT system of analysing and evaluating a business is used. S stands for Strengths; W stands for Weaknesses; O stands for Opportunities; T stands for Threats. The S and W are paired, and the O and T are paired, together these four areas give a fairly broad perspective on the business and fuel ideas for the way forward.
Applying the same kind of practise for our souls is even more important. It is good to take stock of what is going on in your soul and to evaluate your current Christian life and ministry. Self-evaluating prayers fill the book of Psalms—examples: Psalm 42:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”, Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God …”. Self-examination, personally and on a one-another church level, is one of the regular activities included in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:28-31). But this self-evaluation is not only for review purposes, but also for resetting our trajectory—examples: Psalm 116:7 calls a troubled soul back to “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”, Galatians 6:1 affirms the necessity of one-another evaluation for restoration, and constant personal evaluation to remain on the right trajectory.
Perhaps we can steal the SWOT categories and reword them for reviewing our souls and re-adjusting our spiritual trajectory.
Instead of Strengths, evaluate your own Godliness and how it glorifies God, and benefits you and those around you. Excel in your godliness even more! (Tit 3:8)
Instead of Weaknesses, examine yourself for Sins—publicly practised sins, secret sins, intentional sins, unintentional sins. Sins are indeed the great weaknesses of our lives and we need to see what they are so we can repent of them and make them no longer dominate our lives. (Ps 19:13)
Instead of Opportunities, observe the Ministries that God has placed before you. The Lord has given each of us a stewardship of His grace. Recognise therefore the times and places that God gives you to show that grace to another. Fulfil the one-another commandments, be sensitive to the joys and pains of your neighbour, sense the great spiritual need of those in the world and in all these things, see yourself as the one with the responsibility and gift of God’s grace to meet the needs you see. (1 Pet 4:10)
Instead of Threats, watch out for Temptations. More so than disastrous circumstances, temptations to sin against God and others are truly the greatest threat to your spiritual godliness and ministries. Recognise that your strengths and godliness does not make you immune to temptation, but recognise also that temptations, though sure to come, are always within our spiritual resources to overcome and use for good instead. (1 Cor 10:13)
GSMT might not stick in your mind as easily as SWOT, but it is perhaps more helpful in actual self-evaluation of your life as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Your Godliness is an occasion for much worship and earthly good. Your Sins need to be acknowledged and repented of. Your Ministries are the opportunities given you for even greater effectiveness and Godliness. Your Temptations need to be spotted before they become your Sins.
Take the self-evaluation time-out, be it thirty minutes or an entire week. Divide a piece of paper into its quadrants and record your Godliness that needs to excel, your Sins that need to stop, your Ministries that need to be fulfilled, and your Temptations than need to countered. May we all thereby be transformed into Christ-likeness from one degree of glory to the next (2 Cor 3:18).