Afraid to Examine Ourselves
Many who follow Christ do not like the idea of examining themselves. It gets confused with narcissism, which is a preoccupation and elevation of the self above everyone else. Satisfying one’s desires at another’s expense.
The result is that the heart’s desires – the deceitful desires of the false self – get suppressed and ignored.
In our followship, that leads to self effort and management of behavior as the way to conform to Christ’s image. A common path in our church culture.
The Bible teaches that the heart is deceitful above all things, which explains the wariness to examine ourselves. Yet, Jesus is not surprised by what is within, He knows what is inside a man. That is the key to our battle.
In Christ, we have truth and light. Necessary tools to examine the dark territory of our heart. Without fear if we are willing to confront the various layers of our false self.
When we consistently examine our hearts, we understand the sin that is at the root of our disobedience. Rather than futilely battling our behaviors, we can change the foundation of our behavior.
We can deny ourselves only when we know what we are denying.
Restoration of our image is not achieved by first changing outward behavior – if it were, Jesus would have lauded the Pharisees. Jesus is able to make restorative, healing changes to our image only when we allow him access to our heart.
It is a process. It is sanctification. It is denying self, taking up our cross in order to follow Christ.
It is death of the false self so there can be resurrection of the new.
Do you find it easier to deny your behavior or examine the foundation of those behaviors?