Tag Archives: self-examination

“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  Each one should test their own actions.  Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”  (Galatians 6:3-5, NIV)

Today’s scripture warns us against self-deception, pretense, and the perils of comparing ourselves against others.

Elevating ourselves at the expense of others is easy: We can always find someone else less virtuous, less compassionate, less generous, less devout, and less holy than we.

However, God doesn’t grade on the curve.  Jesus is the hard standard for divine judgment.  All other standards are either false or deceptive.  How do we compare when measured against Christ (which is a practical translation of what it means to be “Christian”)?

When we think we are something we are not, we act in accordance with our deception and are, in effect, pretenders.

Exhibit moral courage!  Always see yourself as God sees you, and live-up only to His standard.  Then, you will have no fear of being uncovered as a plagiarist, a pretender, or a prideful poacher.  – Luther

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“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”  (Romans 12:3, NIV)

It is a regrettable fact of human nature that we inflate our self-worth, and that we devalue the worth of others.  It is particularly regrettable because, most of the time, we get it wrong way ’round.

Having God’s point of view means not only seeing others as God sees them, but seeing ourselves as God sees us: Vices as well as virtues.  Evaluating ourselves with “sober judgment” is a painful exercise, but it is an essential exercise if we have ambitions of being like Jesus.  – Luther

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“There he went into a cave and spent the night.  And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”  (I Kings 19:9, NIV)

When our daily agenda is full of commitments — including urgent matters that appear in the line-up uninvited — we need to consider the question that came from God to the prophet Elijah when Elijah was hiding in a cave in fear of Queen Jezebel, who had sworn to kill him within 24 hours: “What are you doing here?”

Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, is thought to have said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Yet, it is very difficult for most people to look critically at where they are in life; and the paths they’ve taken to arrive at that point.

I believe that had Elijah closely examined his personal history and, more importantly, the presence of God in his personal history; and the deliverance of Elijah by the hand of God against impossible odds; Elijah may still have been in the cave, but he would not have been there in mortal fear of Jezebel, and of the mind that God had abandoned him.

Take the time — and the courage — to spend five minutes in self-examination.  Answer the question: “What are you doing here?”  It is the only sure way to keep in step with the cadence of God for your life.  – Luther

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