Saturday, March 7, 2015
You'll need to do this to bring meaningful change to your life ...
That's not true!
Things are always changing around you, whether you change or not. The key is that we need to be changing as well.
Unlike Jesus Christ, who is perfect and therefore "... is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), we need to live in ongoing cooperation with the Holy Spirit on continuously changing, becoming more and more like Christ.
A key to our change is honest introspection, that act of looking internally and honestly taking inventory of who we are, and the changes we need to make in light of the Word of God, and also some changes we'd like to make. Honest introspection can help us make little changes that make life more enjoyable, and it can also challenge us to make difficult changes that are life-changing.
Mark Eberly, pastor of Kearsarge Church of God, tells how honest introspection helped him overcome the anger that had plagued his life ...
"If there is one emotion that I have been familiar with, it is anger. I lived with anger for most of my childhood and teenage years. It became quite comfortable and familiar, so much as that most other responses such as disappointment and fear became masked by my anger.
"Now what I'm telling you has taken many years of prayer, contemplation, and introspection to uncover. It didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen accidentally. I had to be intentional about facing my 'demons' and what was hidden deep in my heart.
"As a child, I got into a lot of fights. I don't believe I was a bully but just had an extremely short fuse. I remember walking after school and a kid I didn't know ran by me and accidentally bumped me. I took off after him and caught him at the corner and proceeded to pummel him.
"I even picked fights with bigger and older kids mouthing off to them. I wasn't always angry and brooding but I would just basically let myself erupt."
Many people can identify with Mark's deep-seeded anger. For others, there are different things that persistently plague their lives that need to change. Honest introspection can help to identify what remains in you that shouldn't, and taking those issues to the Lord is the beginning of moving toward real change. In fact, inviting God into those times of introspection helps us gain an understanding about ourselves we may not see on our own as the Lord reveals what we attempt to hide even from ourselves. This is beautifully illustrated in David's plea ...
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life," Psalm 139:23-24.
Introspection needs to be a regular part of our lives, even to the point of making the same kind of plea to God on a daily basis. We want God to show us what offends Him, and to change those things in us today. Tomorrow, we begin our day with the Lord, again seeking His perfect observation into our lives, and letting that guide us into a new day.
Do you take time for personal, honest introspection? Or do you resist change, no matter how negative it may be in your life? How can your life change for the better by taking personal inventory of yourself?