Avoiding the mirror
The appointment with the dermatologist rolls around every 12 months or so. We get examined from top to bottom and even between the toes, as the doctor looks for anything suspicious or harmful.
That’s an external exam.
What about a spiritual exam? Do you make spiritual self-examination a regular practice?
I know I don’t.
For most of us, our natural inclination is to shy away from looking at ourselves too closely, the same way we avoid the bathroom mirror on bad hair days.
Therefore, we may employ the words of the Psalmist, praying for God to do the job for us. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) reads, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Praying this prayer is actually a good idea. As individuals, we can't be objective when it comes to ourselves. It’s easier to see the faults of others as opposed to our own (Matthew 7:3-4).
Plus, the perspective is skewed. Being this close is like trying to read a book held an inch from your face. The perspective is totally off.
So we pray with all sincerity, heart, mind and spirit, “Search me, God. Point out my errors and cleanse my thoughts so my words do not offend.”
And He will answer and reveal attitudes, thoughts or behaviors of which we have been unaware.
You may be shocked.
The truth is not pretty.
The truth is painful, but necessary.
Blatant denial only prolongs the process.
I picture myself before Almighty God. He is vast and I am small, reduced to a six-year-old, head hung low, avoiding eye contact, with chocolate smeared lips and a red face asking, “What stolen chocolate bar?”
If we readily confess our sin, we often don't stop there. We may launch into a monologue as described in James Moore’s book entitled Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned, But I Have Several Excellent Excuses. Moore says if we actually do confess, we may seek to provide “justification, make excuses or shift blame.”
How about offering some mitigating circumstances?
I can see it all playing out, can’t you?
“But … but … but …..Lord….. one more thing…..”
God has heard it all before, I am sure. It’s time to stop spluttering, drop the pretense and “become as little children” (Matthew 18:2-4).
He is vast and we are small.
Come as you are. No need to be shy
Don't be afraid. Never be afraid to approach God.
He is a good, good Father and we are His children, and He only wants the best for each and every one of us.
Lord, we are flawed, yet Your mercy endures forever. Forgive us, guide us, shepherd us, show us the way. Show us Your Way. Amen.