Spiritual Self-Evaluation: Friend or Foe?
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 5:3
Do you ever find yourself comparing the strength of your faith with someone else's and wonder why you come up on the short end of the stick? A while back, a friend and I were talking on the phone and found that we were both encountering fairly similar life situations. Both of us were looking for a little encouragement and advice from the other. Now, I'm the "professional" minister - and my friend is the "regular" guy. My sage advice to my friend was your average, "Stick with it - it will all work out in the end". On the other hand, my friend suggested that I gather around myself some friends who would commit to praying for me regularly. Gulp. The comparison monster immediately reared his ugly head. Shouldn't I have been first to suggest a more spiritual approach? What does that say about me? I immediately felt like a loser!
It's probably inevitable that these comparisons come. The important issue is what we do with them. Realizations that we aren't all we should be spiritually can result in different responses. They can either paralyze us or motivate change in our lives.
Spiritual self-evaluation should be a positive experience. We need to maintain a realistic view of where we are in our spiritual journey. Knowing that we fall short of God's standard is actually a good thing. Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 5, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus is saying that those who understand their state of spiritual poverty and know that they must rely on God for deliverance are in a good spot. They receive the kingdom. Feeling bad after evaluation can produce good results when it drives us to Jesus for His grace and mercy.
No Christ-follower is perfect. We are all in the process of spiritual development. We're all on the journey together. The next time you hear that inner-voice saying, "I don't measure up," admit the truth of the matter. The Apostle Paul (Romans 14:1,4) reminds us, "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on him…to his own master, he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." This is the key: God is able to make you stand. Believe it!
- How can maintaining the perspective that we don't measure up spiritually paralyze our Christian life?
- Think of one area in your life that you are aware that you fall short of what God intends for you. Will you give that area to the Lord - running to him - for his grace and mercy?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Hebrews 4:14-16