Introspection: Taking A Look At Me
June 4, 2002
It is one of the most difficult practices in which one may engage, consequently a most neglected matter. We are told that this ought not to be so. Paul admonished, "Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are disqualified?" (2 Corinthians 13:5). I am referring to this action as "taking a look at me." I have found that we are number one critics of the lives of others about us, especially of other Christians. We know what the other fellow should do, how his children should act, and can tell others in detail where the other fellow is weak or at fault even while often being guilty of the same things for which we are critically judging another. Some therefore have become exactly the opposite of what Christ taught we should be in (Matthew 7:1-5 and John 7:24). In Matthew's account of Jesus' teaching against the person who is less than what he ought to be, the professional fault finder, as well as in John's, it is the wrong kind of judging that is being condemned, not all judging. Often brethren even judge the motives of others, something only Christ/God is capable of doing. See (1 Corinthians 2:11a).
THE BEST EXAMPLE
Perhaps the "best" or the "worst" example of man's inability to judge himself justly and in keeping with God's/Christ's standard of conduct is that of king David. He was as we would say today, "as guilty as sin." He thought that anyone who had conducted himself in the way that Nathan the prophet described a certain man's conduct ought to be severely punished. You would think that anyone who had committed adultery with another man's wife-tried to entice that man to go in to his own wife during the leave David had arranged from the army thereby thinking the child David had fathered to be his own would recognize his sin. Then seeing all of his plans fail to cover up his sin with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite He sent him into the thickest part of battle against Israel's enemies with instructions to withdraw from him, saying he was to be told when he had been killed-to keep his sins from becoming known. I say again, you would think he could have recognized himself in Nathan's parable, but he did not until Nathan said, "you are the man."(2 Samuel 12:7). Think of it! An adulterer-a man enticing another to sin-a murderer and by inference a liar and he is still unaware that anything is amiss in his life! This all too often being the case, it isn't any wonder that many today do not see the gospel invitation as being applicable to their own needs before Christ! Making public confession of sins of which others are fully aware is rarely practiced. Sometimes we allow such to die out of the memories of others who have been adversely affected by such sins and often the person guilty is put back to taking public part in the functions of the local church even though his sin has never been adequately dealt with.(1 Corinthians 10:32; Acts 8:22; James 5:16; 1 John 1:9). This is one reason the church isn't having the success in many communities that it ought to be having. As it was in Israel in the long ago, so it is in "spiritual Israel" the church (Galatians 6:16), "There's sin in the camp." Remember when Achan took "the accursed thing" and Israel began to lose their battles? (See Joshua chapters six and seven).
SPIRITUAL ISRAEL-THE CHURCH MUST BE KEPT PURE
Christ will not bless the work of His people if we do not honor His will and carry out the proper discipline among the membership to keep the church pure. We must keep the local church pure both doctrinally and morally. When the church at Corinth got so broad minded as to be "puffed up" thinking a man living with his father's wife was something to be tolerated at least, perhaps even proud of, they were told to "put away that wicked person from among you." They were advised to remember that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump." The entire church was to be a party to the actions when they assembled together (under the leadership of the elders no doubt), "to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his soul may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." They were to "purge out the old leaven. that you may be a new batch" (1 Corinthians 5:1-13).
THE GODHEAD ABIDES IN THE OBEDIENT
If we follow the Lord's will in our lives, He abides with us. Conversely, when we "go beyond" or "transgress" His will, we walk alone. When one is "walking alone" he is not living a life that the Lord will bless. Christ said, "...without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). If we claim fellowship with deity while "walking in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:6). "...if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
When Jesus gave His apostles the "Great Commission" He told them to "...make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18- 20). Notice He promised to be with them only as they carried out His commission by "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." He said much the same in the following words: "If you love Me, keep My commandments...He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:15, 21, 23). Then John wrote, "Look to yourselves, that we not lose those things we have worked for, but that we receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 8-10). One walks alone who acts without the authority of Jesus Christ in his life (Colossians 3:17).
People who walk religiously without God and without
Christ, are without God, without Christ and without hope in the world!
As noted earlier, Jesus said, "for without Me you can do nothing" (John
15:5). Oh, folks may "do many things" who act without the approval
of Christ, but their acts, even though they say are "many wonderful
works, are works of iniquity" as Christ views them (Matthew 7:13-23).
SOME AREAS OF OUR LIVES UNDER SCRUTINY
Because of our vocation, having chosen to accept the blessings that becoming a Christian offers, we likewise must accept the responsibilities that are incumbent upon us to "walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:1-8). We must be "salt" and "light" in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). If our lives do not reflect that we are following Christ's example as we live before God and the world; if we do not live so as to glorify our heavenly Father, we cannot hope to abide in His presence in eternity (Revelation 14:13; 22:14).
1). My home and family life:
Christians must accept the incumbent responsibilities on each part of the family. If I am a husband, I must be the kind of husband with which the Lord is pleased and pray that being that kind of a husband will please my wife. The same goes for each member of a family unit. Christ has given His will relative to each, and no one can please Him who takes lightly the role they live in the family unit.
A. Husbands: (Ephesians 5:28-33; Colossians
3:19; 1 Peter 3:7).
2). My social & recreational life:
Certain principles found in the law of Christ which contains "all things pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3), must guide us as we engage in leisure activities in our social and recreational lives. 1). We should live within our means (Romans 13:8). Some "Christians" run up debts they cannot pay in their pursuit of recreational activities and social pleasures. 2). Modesty would also be involved in our social and recreational activities. Some brethren seem to feel that they may undress or dress immodestly if the activities in which they are engaged demand such dress. Swimming, basketball, cheerleading, etc. Regardless of the social or recreational activities in which we are engaged, we must not disregard the will of Christ and feel justified by so doing.
3). My political life. My relation to government:
We must obey the laws of our society insofar as they are in harmony with the will of Christ for His people (Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:39; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13- 15; Titus 3:1). I should not back a candidate for office who isn't pro-life or who advocates laws that would legalize immoral activities to be supported with my tax dollars (2 John 11; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Party must not be put over our commitment to Christ.
4). My morality in general:
The only collective entity for church worship and work known to the new testament scriptures is the local congregation. No Christian can be faithful to Christ as a "floating member." Each saved person who has been added to the universal body of the redeemed, (Acts 2:22-38,40-41, 47), should do as did Paul upon his conversion, "join themselves" to a local assembly for work and worship under the oversight of her elders (Acts 9:18-20;26-28; Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15;1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17; Phil. 1:1). This is Christ's arrangement and one may not disregard it and be faithful to Christ.
SOME GIVE LIP SERVICE TO THIS ARRANGEMENT
I wish to list a few things that are incumbent upon each Christian as a member of a local congregation:
1). My full support by my constant presence at every possible
assembly (Acts 20:6-7; Hebrews 10:23-39).
This lesson could be prolonged and we could delve into many other matters perhaps, but surely we have all on our plates with these things that is necessary to keep up busy each day for the rest of our lives. What about it my brother or sister in Christ, are you a team worker in the local congregation? Is it possible that you need restoration yourself? Remember, we are talking about trying to see ourselves as others see us and as the Lord Himself knows us to be.
DID YOU LOOK AT YOU?
If you did, I wonder? What did you see? Did you see failings and weaknesses in you? If not, you had better take another look at "YOU." If you did, this shows your honesty. Now, what will you do about what you saw is the next question you and I must consider. Will it be "business as usual" or will you deceive yourself thinking no change is needed like the man looking in the mirror? We each stand "naked before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 139:1-12).