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A Key to Spiritual Growth: Self Evaluation WITH the Holy Spirit

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Christians, young or old in the faith, want to grow and become more like Christ. But how do you do that? One key to this growth process is allowing the Lord to show you specifically where you fall short.

We all fall short, but not necessarily in the same place.

We need the Lord to tell us what we need to change if we’re going to change. This requires self-evaluation and most people don’t want to make the effort for several reasons…

~For one, it takes time which always seems to be in short supply. Most are too impatient to go through the process.

~We also don’t like looking at the ugliness of our sin. The weight of guilt is too oppressive. Instead of admitting our sin, we beat ourselves up or fear God’s condemnation.

~Soul-searching can also be painful, as we remember hurts done to us or by us.

~Others think it’s just not that important; taking God’s mercy and understanding for granted. You and I are never to rationalize our sin away because “God understands.” All sin is a serious offense against our holy God. 

They each boil down to pride.

Instead of avoiding our issues, remaining in a state of guilt or defeat, or justifying our sins we should confess, accept God’s forgiveness, and repent.

Where I believe many of us mess up is thinking repentance is telling the Lord, “I’ll never do that again. Help me.” And that is where we stop. However… 

True repentance includes trying to determine why you sinned, i.e self-examination guided by the Holy Spirit.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…. (Ps 139:23-24)*

The Lord already knows why. It is we who are in the dark.

The original word here for search means to dig deep. King David is asking God to bring his deep-lying parts—his inner-most being—to the surface so he can see where he isn’t in line with God.

As commentator, McLaren, states:

“Pestilence breathes in the unventilated, unlighted, uncleansed recesses of a neglected nature. It is only on condition of the light of God’s convincing Spirit being cast into every part of our being that we shall be able to overcome and annihilate the creeping swarms of microscopic sins that are there…”  

Proper self-evaluation takes a willing, open, humble and yielded heart. “Whatever You show me, Lord, I will address and change with Your help.” That’s in essence what David means with the last part of verse 24: “lead me in the way everlasting.” 

The Lord doesn’t reveal sin in us to beat us up, but in order that we would deal with the problem and change, thereby becoming more like His beautiful Son.

Stop excusing your sin because you are “human.” Start being honest with yourself and God. He will be gentle, kind and truthful. Let the Holy Spirit get to the core.

Let Him root out those sinful attitudes and patterns of thinking and therefore patterns of behavior that are displeasing to your holy God. He knows exactly how to do it, what specific truths will set you free, and will then empower you to implement them. What an awesome God we have!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Rom 2:4)**

Get my free guide on how to actually do this self-evaluation process here.

My friends, go do a little soul searching with the Lord. It’ll be worth the effort becauseHe’s so worth it!

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What Does God Expect of Us?

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Does God expect us to be perfect? Some of us think so. 

Paul learned to be content. He wasn’t content immediately upon conversion. There were many trials and tests through which God brought him before he got to that place.

When we read Bible accounts like:

After being flogged, imprisoned and released the Apostles were “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Act 5:41).

OR

After they had been severely flogged…thrown into prison…feet in the stocks…Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:23-25)

We often assume these godly people had that unbelievable attitude as soon as they got saved.

If you have a heart after God, you want that mindset. But when we look at ourselves, we see how much we fall short! Then we start beating ourselves up, or worse yet, not even strive to attain this wonderful perspective. This is exactly what Satan wants! To stop us in our tracks in maturing.

Think this through with me.

Were the Apostles in Acts 5 rejoicing while being flogged? I have no idea, but I suspect not immediately. I imagine that they had to speak truth to their soul. Perhaps they looked back to when Christ was whipped and thought, “Lord Jesus, if You withstood this for me I can endure it for You. Enable me!” Perhaps Peter remembered his denial and was so glad for another chance.

When Paul and Silas were suffering, were they saying “yippee!”? Do you think they weren’t distressed in their excruciating pain and imprisonment? These are human beings! However, they knew and trusted their God. I imagine they might have had this encouraging conversation between them:

“God has allowed this for some reason, Silas. Let’s choose to praise His name.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Paul! Let’s sing that song we sang on Sunday.”

And don’t forget, these godly men had already experienced much. The Apostles had been with Jesus. Observed His many miracles. Seen His unjust suffering and persecution. Witnessed the resurrected Christ. Received the great commission and “power from on high.” And had performed many miraculous signs and wonders (Lk 24:49; Acts 5:12).

Recall this was not Paul and Silas’ first missionary trip. They had seen God do many miraculous things through them by the time of this event.

These men went through a process to have this attitude—the process of sanctification.  

God doesn’t place unrealistic demands upon us.

God doesn’t expect us to immediately have a Christ-like attitude upon our salvation, but to work toward it.

He knows how weak we are. He knows first of all, that it is an impossibility without Him. He knows it takes time—lots of time and lots of testing.

God looks at our heart. We are not to rationalize or justify our shortcomings but confess, repent, and work toward changing our attitude and behavior to be more like Christ. Our Lord will help us in this process. He understands who we are, but doesn’t want us to remain as we are, making excuses for our failures and stinking thinking.

God wants to do the impossible through you.

He wants you to get on the path, begin the process, and continue the process of becoming more like His beautiful Son. Let Him!

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col 2:6-7)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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