Every year as we head towards the new year, I look back at the previous year and realize that I haven’t lived the way that I wanted to live. That there were parts of my life where I behaved in a way that was wrong. I could easily make an excuse, but if you only knew what happended to me that day, or what I had been up against the month before then you would understand. I don’t want to live my life with excuses that allow me to keep being the same way that I have always been. I need to stand up, look at myself in the mirror and change. Easier said than done!
Why Would I Want to Examine Myself
This post came from the sermon that my Pastor was preaching about this past Sunday. When he asked, “Why examine yourself,” all I thought about was because I want to be more like Jesus.
I read the Bible quit a bit, (I would love to say everyday, but I can’t). I love the words that jump off the page. Wise people hold their tongues, love your neighbor, in prayer and petition, etc. It is only when I put these words into practice that they ever really make sense to me.
So when I examine myself, I need to do so with practical testing. A test looking at what I have physically done. I can put down check marks for each day that I read the Bible, however, if I do not physically do something with those words, then I have failed the practical testing portion of my examination.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ
Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5
To refine a piece of metal you need to first get rid of the crude metal (impurities) that is within. You can do this with fire, that melts the metal down, causing the impurities to seperate. Sometimes this method takes more time than others. It depends on what type of impurities are in the metal. Other times, you would need to make the fire hotter for the impurties to come to the surface, so that you can remove them. Once the impurities (crude metal), is removed then it is thrown away. It is of no use to anyone.
“Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will
understand, but those who have insight will understand.” ~Daniel 12:10
God continuallys tries to refine us. Everyone feels pain, heartache, and has bad times. It’s through these times that we have the chance to change. To get rid of the impurities within us that shouldn’t be there. Some of them may be removed easily, others may take more time or more fire (hard times) for us to even see that they need to be removed. This is why at the end of each year, we should really take the time to examine ourselves and see what impurities we still have within us.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because
you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1: 2-4
By What Test do we Examine Ourselves With
It’s easy to walk around the world looking at how others live their lives and determine what we think is right and what we think is wrong. But we should not trust our own understanding and knowledge of what is right or wrong. It differs from person to person, as it should, and that leaves a society whose moral compass sways from one side to another, causing a ripple effect of emotions, leading to a roller coaster type of life.
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge
another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know
that God’s judgement against those who do such things is based on truth.” Romans 2:1-2
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in
his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since
he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us live to
himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or
whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Why
do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God;
for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an
account of himself to God.” ~ Romans 14:1-12
Our judgement of what is right and wrong can not come from our own knowledge of what we have seen in the world. You must use the Bible to test yourself in the true way. And in knowing the Word of God, then and only then can we go before God to truthfully examine ourselves.
” When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important
thing is for the Lord to commend them.” 2 Corinthians 10:18
How Our Pride Gets in the Way
Do NOT let stubborness and pride get in the way.
I don’t know about you, but I am about as stubborn as they come. I have come a long way from where I was, thank God, but I still have a ways to go before my stubornness is conquered.
“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfactionof a job well done,
and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” ~ Galatians 6:4
I spend way to much time of my life, comparing how I am better than others (pride). Then if people suggest that I have done something wrong, sometimes I bristle right up, get defensive and start proving how they are wrong and I am right (stubborn). This can happen a lot when it comes to my spouse. The check lists of, but I did this and this and this, and what did you do? I love you more than you love me. See I can prove it. The problem is all of these strategies that I have used my whole life, set me up for a false interpretation of what is right and what is wrong. So this year I am setting out to find the truth in all of this, by practically testing myself a lot more and finding the impurities that are not suppose to be there.
Setting A Goal or Two
My family and I decided to sit down and write out a few goals for the year. We each did a spiritual goal and then at least one other goal. We sat down today and started looking up Bible verses to memorize to help us to accomplish our spiritual goals. My younger son chose anger. My middle daughter chose doubt. I chose peace. So I showed both of them how to look up these topics in the back of the Bible and then how to find a verse. They had to write down at least 2 verses and start memorizing them. These verses will be the foundation for everything that we do spiritually this year.
I feel like this year is going to be the best year for us spiritually. It may not be the most blessed year, the happiest year or even the year where everything goes just the way that I want it to (how I can hope). It will be a year where the Holy Spirit encompasses our lives more, to allow us to have peace no matter what happens. Faith when it feels like every news channel is reporting that the world is coming to an end. Even Joy, in the midst of the hardships that are sure to come.
You see, we need to learn to evaluate ourselves so that we can live the life that God wants us to live. No matter what that may look like. And not just live it, but really enjoy every moment. That also means JOY during doing the dishes, when the kids are fighting, when your husband is grumpy because you won’t give him any that evening.
I want to live a life just like that. I want to say that I not only believe in Jesus but that I am walking very close with Him. I hope you want the same for you and your family this year. Please take the time to write down your families’ goals for the year. Post them in a place where everyone will see them everyday. Help your kids learn how to find Bible verses that match their spiritual goal for the year and write the verses down on index cards. Tape them up in a place where they can read them everyday (bathroom). And take time for your own spiritual goal. We are of no use to our kids if we are not modeling what we expect from them.
Please take pictures of your family holding their goals or working on their goals and post them on here or the Homeschooling Women of God Facebook Page. Lets encourage one another throughout this year to change spiritually and become more like Jesus everyday.