Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Lesson 09 - Inventory


                     Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.

Happy are the pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8)

Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40)


The first of the 4 lessons is the Moral Lesson. This is the theory, or the principles that are involved in doing an Inventory, such as making time, being open, relying on the Lord, and analyzing or thinking about your past. The last of the acrostic letters in this lesson is "LIST". We talk about the reason and benefits of making a list, and actually start the list in the next lesson.

The second of the 4 lessons is the Inventory Lesson. In this lesson we actually step through the Inventory form and actually begin to make a list. We cover the columns on the form with headings such as the person, the cause, the effect, the damage and my part.

The third and forth of the 4 lessons brainstorming sessions that provide lots of ideas for what kinds of things we might want to work on. Things such as relationships, priorities, our attitudes, integrity the first week, and our mind, our body, our family and our church the second week.

An inventory is a list of things we want to be set free from.

Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin. You have become slaves to right living.

How is freedom fulfilled in our life? You have been set free by “intent” and “dedication”.

(19) Because you are human, you find this hard to understand. So I have said it in a way that will help you understand it. You used to give the parts of your body to be slaves to unclean living. You were becoming more and more evil. Now give your bodies to be slaves to right living. Then you will become holy.

Paul brings it home so they can understand what he is saying. It is the “giving” of ourselves to a way of life that leads to evil or holiness. Paul is explaining that we chose how to live, and accordingly we lived.

(20) Once you were slaves of sin. At that time right living did not control you. (21) What benefit did you gain from doing the things you are now ashamed of? Those things lead to death!

Paul reminds them that it is their choice of “intent”, “dedication” and “giving of ourselves” that determines our lot in this life, death or life.

(22) You have been set free from sin. God has made you his slaves. The benefit you gain leads to holy living. And the end result is eternal life. (23) When you sin, the pay you get is death. But God gives you the gift of eternal life because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.

Paul explains that provision has been made such that we can experience freedom from sin, and freedom to God. This is a spiritual reality. Jesus's death destroyed the power that Satan and our flesh once had on those who did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling.

John 8:31-32 Jesus spoke to the Jews who had believed him. "If you obey my teaching," he said, "you are really my disciples. (32) Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free."

We have heard the saying, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. What leads to freedom? A pattern of believing and obeying which brings about an experiential knowledge of the truth by walking in it. It is more than acceptance of knowledge, but an understanding of the inner working based on practical observation.

Making an inventory list is an intentional step we take of obedience. In Lamentations 3:40, Jeremiah is giving the Israelites instructions and highlighting the faithfulness of God, and he tells them “examine your ways and test them and return to the lord”. That is what we are doing here, and doing this will lead to understanding and freedom.

Doing this can be daunting if we think too much about it and try to go it alone. We are intended to live in community. It is in community that we find the encouragement and strength to follow through on our intentions. Meet regularly for that encouragement, whether it be in CR, Home Groups, Bible Studies, and so on. The believers of the first century understood this and met together every day. We still need this fellowship today.

Acts 2:42-47 The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared life together. They broke bread and ate together. And they prayed. (43) Everyone felt that God was near. The apostles did many wonders and miraculous signs. (44) All the believers were together. They shared everything they had. (45) They sold what they owned. They gave each other everything they needed. (46) Every day they met together in the temple courtyard. In their homes they broke bread and ate together. Their hearts were glad and honest and true. (47) They praised God. They were respected by all the people. Every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

It is thought and sometimes taught that God demands obedience to His law and if you don't obey the law you are punished. This sort of thought pattern comes out of a mindset in which we think we have to perform in order to be under God's grace. It leads to self condemnation in the belief that we are just not good enough. That is simply not the case. We don't perform to get God's grace, God has given us His grace so we can perform.

The Greek word translated “obedience” means "to listen attentively" and "heed or conform". It is not a command to perform, it is the gift of transformation that God has given us through His Holy Spirit. It is ours to grab onto and fully recover.


The five-column inventory sheets in Participant’s Guide 2 were developed to help you with this task. It provides prompts that help us to think through the events of our past more thoroughly.

I have created a worksheet which you can find any time on the information table.

Column 1: “The Person”

In this column, you list the person or object you resent or fear. Go as far back as you can. (Names, institutions, places). Remember that resentment is mostly unexpressed anger and fear.

Ephesians 4:31 tells us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

Remember to list all the people and things that you are holding resentment against.

Column 2: “The Cause”

It has been said that “hurt people hurt people.” In this column you are going to list the specific actions that someone did to hurt you. (Events, incidents) What did the person do to cause you resentment and/or fear?

An example would be the alcoholic father who was emotionally unavailable for you as you were growing up.

Another example would be the parent who attempted to control and dominate your life.

This reflective look can be very painful, but that’s why having a sponsor and an accountability team is essential. These people will be there to walk with you through the pain. Of course, Jesus will be with you too. God promises:

Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

There is healing in exposing these hurts.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Column 3: “The Effect”

In this column write down how that specific hurtful action affected your life both in the past and in the present. (Feelings, emotions, belief system), (Shame, guilt, inadequacies)

Column 4: “The Damage”

What damage did that action do to my basic social, security, and / or sexual instincts? (Broken relationships, slander, physical safety, financial loss, abusive relationships, etc.) (Loss, broken relationships, financial fear, intimacy, distrust).

  • Social—Have you suffered from broken relationships, slander, or gossip?

  • Security—Has your physical safety been threatened? Have you faced financial loss?

  • Sexual—Have you been a victim in abusive relationships? Has intimacy or trust been damaged or broken?

No matter how you have been hurt, no matter how lost you may feel, God wants to comfort you and restore you. Remember

Ezekiel 34:16 (GNB): “I will look for those that are lost, I will bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick.”

Column 5: “My Part”

What Part of the resentment am I responsible for? Who are the people I have hurt? How have I hurt them? (Character defects, choices, addictions, behaviors, compulsions, attitudes. **Childhood abuses – none or not guilty).

Lamentations 3:40 states: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

It doesn’t say, let us examine their ways. You did that already in the first four columns. Now you need to honestly determine the part of the resentment (or any other sin or injury) that you are responsible for. Ask God to show you your part in a broken or damaged marriage or relationship, a distant child or parent, or maybe a job lost. In addition, in this column list all the people whom you have hurt and how you hurt them.

(You will use Column 5 later in Principle 6 when you work on becoming willing to make your amends.)

Psalm 139:23 (GNB) tells us: “Examine me, O God and know my mind; test me, and discover if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.”

Please note: If you have been in an abusive relationship, especially as a small child, you can find great freedom in this part of the inventory. You see that you had NO part, NO responsibility for the cause of the resentment. By simply writing the words “NONE” or “NOT GUILTY” in Column 5, you can begin to be free from the misplaced shame and guilt you have carried with you.

Celebrate Recovery has rewritten Step 4 for those that have been sexually or physically abused:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, realizing all wrongs can be forgiven. Renounce the lie that the abuse was our fault.


There are five tools to help you prepare your inventory:

1. Memorize Isaiah 1:18 (TLB): “Come, let’s talk this over!” says the Lord; “no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!”

2. Read the “balancing the scale verses” on page XX of Participant’s Guide 2!

3. Keep your inventory balanced. List both the good and the bad!

This is very important! As God reveals the good things that you have done in the past, or are doing in the present, list them on the reverse side of your copies of the “Celebrate Recovery Principle 4 Inventory Worksheet”

4. Continue to develop your support team.

5. Pray continuously.

Don’t wait to start your inventory. Don’t let any obstacle stand in your way. If you don’t have a sponsor or accountability partner yet, talk to someone tonight! If you need a participant’s guide, pick one up at the information table. Set a time and place and get busy! You can do it!

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