Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sins and Self-Examination

Have you ever been critical, short, irritable, and then have a complaining attitude to boot? Well, if you can't identify with any of these sins that plague the rest of us---let me know your secret?

 Now, I realize that these sins may be peculiar to those with certain personalities and temperament types, and I know that our physical health may weigh in on our propensity to have a nasty attitude from time to time, but in the end we recognize that being critical, short, irritable, and having a complaining attitude is nothing short of displays of our sinful nature.

I think that we are to quick to brush these less desirable character traits off as mere inconveniences, but it is critical for the follower of Christ to understand that these character traits are the exact opposite of the fruit that God desires for his people, see Galatians 5:22,23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

If you take notice these character traits are all attitudinal---so how do we check them? how do we even see that we may be evidencing them in our daily lives? And how do we deal with them?

Every Christian must be a person who develops the spiritual discipline of self examination---without it the weeds will grow in the garden of our hearts unchecked. Socrates noted that, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

Before we go any further on the idea of self-examination let me point out that there is no virtue alone in the act of self-examination, but it is the motive of our self-examination that counts. First, the follower of Christ is to do all to the "glory of God" ( 1 Corinthians 10:31). The believer should know that the sins of the flesh don't bring glory to God, so therefore they must be weeded out of the garden of our hearts.

 In addition to the motive (glory of God), self-examination must take place in the context of measuring ourselves against the standard of the Word of God. Paul gave young Timothy this encouragement when he said,"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

 Let's put this all together: 

All believers struggle with the sins of the flesh ( being critical, short, irritable, and complaining).

We as believers must live a life of self-examination in order to keep these sins in check.

Self-examination in and of itself has no virtue---only when it is done for the glory of God.

All self-examination must be guided by the absolute authority of the Word of God.

 The believer has no power in his own flesh to affect heart change---any change must be the result of the Holy Spirit's application of the Living Word to our lives.

Father help us to take the time to come before You and allow Your Word to be a light in our inner lives--- we know Father that it is You that must change us, help us to depend on Your grace to do its work in our lives.  Father let us feel the weight of our sin, so that it drives us continually to Your fountain of mercy and love, AMEN.

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