Thursday, January 14, 2010

Looking Within

How many of us have the courage to look within ourselves, to search the depths of our being to see the condition of our soul?  We want to believe that, because we are Christian, all is right there.  We heard and believed the Word.  We said the prayer.  Now all is well and we can continue on with our lives without worry or fear.

I am not a betting woman, but I would lay odds against the majority of Christians that very few have what it takes to peer deeply into themselves.  They want to remain in the cozy existence of having salvation through belief and leave it at that.

The Apostles Paul and James both spoke of looking into a mirror.  Paul, in 1Corinthians 13:12, uses the analogy to describe not knowing what we will become when we are at last in glory.  The image we now see is but a dim reflection of the perfection we will then have.  But James uses the mirror in James 1:23-25 to demonstrate that man often looks at his reflection “and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”  In other words, he failed to peel back the layers of his self-righteousness and see the true depths of his depravity and offenses against God.

It does take great courage to stand in front of that mirror and ask ourselves who we truly are.  Within every Christian there is hiding some sin we refuse to face and to allow God to root out.  And I am just as guilty of this as the next.  Whether the offense is arrogance, pride, laziness, unwillingness, or a host of other grievances, if we were honest with ourselves, and most importantly to God, we would admit them and become actively involved in eliminating them.  The man that does this is like the man James speaks of in verse 25 who is blessed by “not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it.”  However, the one who does forget after turning away from his reflection “deceives himself and his religion is worthless” (v26).

In order to fully understand just how filthy and depraved we once were in God’s sight it is necessary that we brace ourselves and take a good, hard look within once in a while (see 1Corinthians 6:9-11).   A good example of those who do and those who do not is told by Jesus in His parable in the Book of Luke (18:9-14) of the self-righteous Pharisee whose outward appearance seemed blameless, and the publican, or tax collector, who had examined his inner self prior to going to the temple to pray.  The Pharisee failed to see his prideful sin.  But the publican had stood before his mirror, gazing deeply into his heart, and knew how sinful he was and in need of mercy.  Unlike the Pharisee, he did not “exalt” himself.  Instead, he came humbly before the throne of God, beating his breast in sorrow, and confessed his unworthiness.

My challenge to everyone reading this is that you muster the necessary courage and go stand before your mirror.  Look deeply into yourself and examine your lives, your walk and talk, but most importantly, your heart.  When God closely looks there, He is looking to see if your heart reflects that of His Son Jesus Christ.  If it does, God is pleased.  If it does not, perhaps you should take another look.


Karie said...

I love this Karen! It is something I am invited to do frequently; each Sunday when I attend church, and when I participate in sacred ordinances there and in other places. It is often uncomfortable, but always hopeful because the Savior died that I might be perfected, one day at a time, through his love, mercy, and grace. Thanks for the beautiful encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I heard another take on this a while back. It said that when we look into the mirror, the reflexion we see should be that of God's child and when we turn from the mirror we go out in the world and forget who we are. I think that is very true.