Devotionals, Faith, Family, Lent, Life, Ministry, Prayer, The Bible, writings

Why We Examine Ourselves

On Friday, I shared a spiritual discipline that is all about the daily examination of our lives. This isn’t always an easy task and certainly not always a fun one. No one likes to think about their mistakes, sins, and where they haven’t measured up to God’s standard. So why do we do this? Why do we engage in what some might view as spiritual masochism?

Before we understand, let’s recognize what we’re not doing: We’re not whipping ourselves or cutting ourselves as some pagans and some mystics have done. Jesus doesn’t need us to physically suffer for us to be redeemed. But this difficult spiritual exercise is crucial if you and I are going to experience a genuine spiritual renewal, which is ultimately what Lent is about.

It means we need to be real with ourselves and with God about our sin and our need for Him. It is the acknowledgment that apart from Him we are totally lost. And that even though he offers grace and pardon, and for the believer, there is no condemnation, we cannot just gloss over sin and brokenness like they never happen.

1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I believe that one of the reasons many people have such an up-and-down spirituality is that they don’t have depth. And you can’t have depth with God unless you have honesty with God.

Think of any other relationship that you have. Married couples: if you are hiding a bunch of stuff from your spouse, or rather just refusing to discuss what you both know to be true, is your relationship really all that healthy and life-giving? Parents, if there is some hurt between you and your children, say they did something wrong but refuse to take ownership of it, even though you both know who did it, is there a close bond of trust?

In the same way, when we just want to sweep things under the rug with the Lord, rather than doing the deep and often painful work of examining what happened and why, how can there be real healing? I’m not talking about salvation here, because He is still your Father. I’m talking about something even greater than salvation: an intimacy, a closeness, with the God of the universe. Life to the full that only Jesus offers. Oh, friends, we’re missing it!

When a surgeon is confronted with a wound that has started to fester, before they can close the wound, they must cut away the dead tissue so that living flesh can bind to living flesh. The diseased tissue must be cut away, and the dirt must be cleaned out. And this is painful!

The prophet Hosea declares this truth when he says in Hosea 6:1- Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to do some deep cleansing of your soul. Allow Him to tear that He may bring about spiritual healing. It’s not going to be easy, but friends, it is so worth it! Remember, you are not alone.

Post-Script: If you’re keeping track, today should be day 6 of Lent. However, Lent doesn’t take into account Sundays, which in the ancient Church were always days of feasting and celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. Otherwise, Lent would be 46 days. And to top it off, I forgot to publish a devotional on Saturday. So today is the 4th devotional on the 5th day of a season that began 6 days ago. Go figure, it’s Monday. 😊

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