Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do You See What I See?

This past weekend at our Christmas Sabbath service I spoke briefly on what I like to do at the end of every year and that is to do some serious reflecting. Last year as I started this blog I wrote a similar post. Now of course to be clear, just because one takes this time at the end of the year it doesn't mean that it never happens throughout the year. Yet my end of the year reflections gives me a broader perspective.

The bible often calls us to do so. Lamentations 3:40 says, "Let us examine our ways and test them..." Paul speaking of examining ourselves before the taking of communion states, "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." (1 Cor. 11:28). He also says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you unless, of course, you fail the test?"

I was once told that anyone can ask the hard questions. To a certain degree I don't agree. Too often, perhaps because of our sinful nature we avoid asking ourselves the difficult questions, because we know they will bring some answers we may not like. It's very easy to always reflect on how others ought to be and act. Some folks are very good at this, some may even consider it their spiritual gift:-(

Even sometimes asking the easy questions is really asking the hard questions. Timing is everything. A great example was after the resurrection when Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" The question and answer seemed simple, but we know Jesus was aiming at something deeper. The bible even states that Peter was 'hurt' because Jesus asked him three times.

So what do I do? Well...just what I stated in the short sermon this past weekend. I ask myself these two questions, that really have three parts to it.

1. How's my relationship with Jesus? Within this question I reflect on three key areas:
A. My Time- How much quality time have I and am I spending with Jesus. Here's the question we perhaps often ask and hear, like Jesus' 'Do you love me?' question, it's an easy one but really a deeper one!
B. My Faith- After everything that has happened to me this year, can I honestly say that my faith in Christ is stronger? Why? What was it that made it stronger?
C. My Actions- How have my actions shown that I actually have spent time with Jesus and have faith in Him? In this context when I'm talking about actions I'm reflecting on my ministry/mission as a Christian.

2. How's my relationship with others? Within this question I reflect on these three key areas:
A. My family- Spouse, kids, rest of family. How are these relationship's doing? How can they be better? Do I need to make something right? Forgiveness?
B. My friends- Jesus had His 12 disciples, but we all agree that He also had an inner circle of people that he loved to be with and focused on. Peter, James and John. Jesus loved to be with Lazarus and company. How are my friendships doing? Do I have people I can really trust?
C. My actions- Here the focus is on my actions with people within my family and friends (as opposed to more general interactions with first question part C above).

Of course both questions to some degree are inter-related. I will be honest, doing this can be very tough, it has led me to praise God and to plead with God. Both are necessary. Hopefully in going through this process you will begin to see what He (Jesus) see's! An incredible human being that Jesus loves and is willing and wanting to do incredible things in your life.

Many employers have an annual evaluation of their employees, how much more should we have one before our God. If you really think about it, the examining is happening anyway...it's better than to be aware, stop denying it, and begin to ask the questions...Jesus asked Peter and he thought he knew the answer...do you?

Will you be taking/making the time to stop and truly reflect?


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