Examinations

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.James 1:23-24 (MSG)

Ok, I had another post I was working on but I seemed drawn to post this one instead. I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that I’ve tried to make an effort to really dive into some self-examinations of own this week or if God has another purpose in mind unbeknownst to me.

For many this week has been a week of examinations. Be it examinations of our minds, thoughts or consciences. Some of my own have been on motives, relationships, and words just to name a few. I’m going to pick one that many seem to gloss over and that is the examination of Motives.

What really drives our actions, and are we truly truthful, with even ourselves, as to why we do the things we do. Do we do them to gain acceptance? Do we do them to feel better about ourselves or even to feel better about a choice or choices we have made? By examining our motives we really start to dive into the heart and soul of a person. I guess that’s why we have the saying “know thyself”. How many of us really “know” ourselves, or better yet how many of us “want” to know ourselves. It’s said that the darkest deception is “self” deception. We are the best at knowing how to run from ourselves or something we don’t wish to face. Sometimes we run so hard and so fast for so long that after a while we lose sight of who we really are. We even start to do it without even thinking about it. Do we have the thought, consciously or unconsciously, that to truly know ourselves would be that we would despise what we find? Or that those around us would be turned off by the real us? We then begin to build the cell and hand over the keys to our Enemy who is more than happy to place us in our own enslavement to deception and falsehood.

Let’s stop for a moment and analyze what deception is. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Deceptionbeguilementdeceitbluffmystification and subterfuge are acts to propagate beliefs that are not true, or not the whole truth (as in half-truths or omission). Deception can involve dissimulationpropaganda, and sleight of hand, as well as distraction, camouflage, or concealment. There is also self-deception, as in bad faith.

Deception is a major relational transgression that often leads to feelings of betrayal and distrust between relational partners. Deception violates relational rules and is considered to be a negative violation of expectations. Most people expect friends, relational partners, and even strangers to be truthful most of the time. If people expected most conversations to be untruthful, talking and communicating with others would require distraction and misdirection to acquire reliable information. A significant amount of deception occurs between romantic and relational partners. – Wikipedia (Deception)

Does this sound like anything we have encountered or have partaken in ourselves? One would think who in their right mind would choose to inflict that upon themselves???  – but in all honesty we do it every day. Our society teaches and admonishes that the “truth” is “overrated” and that “everyone lies just a little and if it doesn’t hurt anyone what’s the big deal”. We deceive ourselves into accepting this false doctrine. This doctrine will in the end only bring on enslavement of the mind, body and soul turning us and others away from the freeing power and Gift God offers. And what IS this “Gift” of truth and what does our Lord have to teach on the matter of deception? Let’s see:

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”

Surprised, they said, “But we’re descendants of Abraham. We’ve never been slaves to anyone. How can you say, ‘The truth will free you’?”

Jesus said, “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. But I also know that you are trying to kill me because my message hasn’t yet penetrated your thick skulls. I’m talking about things I have seen while keeping company with the Father, and you just go on doing what you have heard from your father.”

They were indignant. “Our father is Abraham!”

Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would have been doing the things Abraham did. And yet here you are trying to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth he got straight from God! Abraham never did that sort of thing. You persist in repeating the works of your father.”

They said, “We’re not bastards. We have a legitimate father: the one and only God.”

“If God were your father,” said Jesus, “you would love me, for I came from God and arrived here. I didn’t come on my own. He sent me. Why can’t you understand one word I say? Here’s why: You can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him. He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies. I arrive on the scene, tell you the plain truth, and you refuse to have a thing to do with me. Can any one of you convict me of a single misleading word, a single sinful act? But if I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone on God’s side listens to God’s words. This is why you’re not listening—because you’re not on God’s side.” – John 8: 32-47 (MSG)

But again let’s be honest, how often do we sit down and test ourselves and our lives against the Light of God’s Word. Most of us go through the motions of it during the spring season when Passover and Easter role around because of “tradition”. But is that supposed to be the only time we are to examine ourselves? Isn’t it supposed to be everyday throughout the day? I’ll be honest in the hustle and bustle of life it is VERY easy for me to fall prey to losing sight of myself and what drives me to do what I do as I go racing through life. Between family, jobs, friends and all other things that make up “life” it’s easy for you me and everyone else to lose the vision and purpose of our time here and course He has set for us. We go to the doctor, if were able, once a year to get a “yearly exam” and why is that? Isn’t it for the benefit of making sure everything is functioning as it SHOULD! In the same way we should be examining our spiritual lives every day not just once a year when “it’s the thing to do”.

I know with this past year I have noticed an increase in my awareness of when I’m “falling off course”. It has only been due to the fact that as I have made God’s word more forefront of my mind and less “me” of my mind that my path has been clearer and I have come to know myself more and more each day. I have come to know why I do the things I do and think the things I think. It has brought not only a freedom but a peace and calm have brought me closer and closer to our Lord. With this closeness I have witnessed ways that God moves in my life and the lives of those around me because I have let go of myself and what I have as a pattern “deceived” myself into thinking was the “right” path.  I now know and accept that if left to myself and by leaving no room for God that before I know it I will end right back in that cell with the keys of freedom being handed over for my eventual destruction.

My prayer for you and for me is that with each day we take the time AND the courage to let ourselves go and give our hearts, minds and spirits over to the One. He will lead us along the path of examination which leads to our freedom and to His awesome glory.

Be Forever Free in Christ and Blessed,

Jojo

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