Someone once said, “The greatest of all faults is to imagine that you have none.” He was right. Before the service began one Sunday, a man in the congregation said to his pastor, “If you see me fall asleep while you’re preaching, don’t take it personally. It’s not that your sermon is boring. It’s just that I was taking inventory of all my merchandise last night, and I didn’t get to bed until the wee hours of the morning. . . .

“I discovered a lot of merchandise that didn’t sell during the year. I came to realize how many mistakes I had made. . . .” Then he asked, “Don’t you think at the beginning of each New Year, every one of us should take inventory of our lives?”

Failure to take inventory cost the children of Israel a military victory. When they went up to battle against the small city of Ai, their army was routed, and 36 men were killed. Was it due to a logistical blunder? Was Israel’s weaponry inferior? No. They had sin in their camp which made it impossible for God to bless their military efforts.

The next time you fall flat on your face, give yourself a self-evaluation. Take inventory of the condition of your heart before God. Is there a besetting sin hindering your relationship with Him? Ask God to reveal any unclean things in your life so fellowship can be restored. You might be surprised what He brings to light.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.