When you abandon your own life and commit to follow Him, you see Him everywhere and in everything. This morning, I was drawn to spend my time with the Lord outside since it was so beautiful out. I love springtime!
Walking out on my balcony, I first noticed the contrast of the light and darkness in the balcony stairwell as the light was starting to come up from behind the building next to mine; the stairwell was only partially lit. The Holy Spirit began to use this as an opportunity to show me some things that really helped me and I am looking forward to sharing them with you. I am so grateful for His counsel; it is perfect in every way!
The Light Exposes Our Flaws, the Darkness Hides Them
I took a picture of my balcony deck; part of it was covered by shadows, and the other half was exposed by the light. What I noticed right off was that the light exposed all of the imperfections in the wood. I could see every grain in the wood, the scars from people dragging furniture over it, kool-ade and beer stains, rusted nails, knots in the wood that have fallen out, etc. I noticed that as I walked over the parts of wood exposed by the light that the condition of the wood was in need of repair and/or replacement. I have lived here for almost 2 years; why hadn’t I noticed this before?
On the other hand, the wood that is covered by shadows was less noticeable. It’s as if I knew that the wood was there (because I’m walking on it, duh), but I didn’t really pay much attention to it. It didn’t beg for my attention as much…instead, it was subtle and nothing more to me than something that I was stepping on.
When you deprive yourself of consistent meditation on the Word of God, the sin in your life is like the wood with a shadow cast over it. The devil doesn’t want you to see the areas of your life that are not surrendered to God. He wants you to think that everything is smooth sailing; just stay ignorant and in the dark – it’s not causing you any problems right now. Don’t say anything to your spouse about that inappropriate relationship that you have with your coworker or one of your “old flames” that you reconnected with on Facebook. After all, it’s harmless, right? You’re just catching up or joking around. That’s the deception in sin. The devil introduces temptation in a way that you only see the benefits of compromise. Most of the time, you won’t be aware of the negative consequences until you experience them and the result of sin has already done the damage in your life that it’s going to do. By then, it’s too late.
Self-Examination: A Way of Life
Living a Christian life must involve habitual self-examination. It means constantly placing yourself under the highest scrutiny and microscope of God’s Word, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, make the necessary adjustments.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5 ESV)
“But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31 ESV)
In the above passage in Matthew chapter 7, Jesus is calling His people to live to a higher standard. You won’t find sinners (people without Christ) voluntarily analyze the motives and intentions of their heart. Doing so reveals things that are in the dark that they don’t really want to know about, making them look and feel worse. Apart from Christ, true examination of a person’s heart is impossible; it’s simply too easy to justify your own actions and intentions, leaving the sinner in dark ignorance. I hate it when people say “Ignorance is bliss.” No! Ignorance is slavery without your awareness of it! But praise God when the Holy Spirit shows the sinner the darkness in their heart, He offers Christ as a solution of freedom from that darkness!
Why We Do It
When you came to Christ, you first became aware that you were a sinner in need of a Savior that took the punishment of your sin, and so you received Christ as your SAVIOR. However, after you are born again, you must continually allow the light of God’s Word to expose all other weaknesses, imperfections, and sin (yes, I just said sin) in your life so that on a daily basis you can make the commitment to follow Christ as your LORD.
“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,“ (Ephesians 5:8-13 ESV)
The purpose of self-examination is not to make yourself feel better. As Christians, we are commanded to do it to expose the areas of our lives that are not completely surrendered to God and give the Holy Spirit permission to make us more like Christ. The Holy Spirit’s influence in your life will always lead to spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness.