This entry is a little bit longer than the previous two. I’ve informally committed to writing at least 200 words each day, but I love to write, and I can be pretty talkative (ask my students!) so here’s about 600 words for today. The way I’ve been writing these is mostly freewriting. I’m editing very little. I also am not a biblical scholar by any means. These are just everyday thoughts from an almost 30-something Midwestern girl. 🙂
Being a lifelong student, I’ve always associated this word with a test. Math test, reading test, teacher certification test. I’m a great test taker in the earthly world, truth be told.
However, when it comes to examination of my spirit, sometimes I falter. I make excuses, I rationalize my behavior by comparing it to others’. I will say that I’m really good at psychoanalyzing myself, as I call it, but examination in order to change is something I can work on.
I love that God has granted us His Holy Spirit, which provides that ‘check’ of our spirit or attitude. Part of what I want out of Lent is to be attuned to that voice most of the time, not just some of the time when I feel like listening. Selective hearing, as they say.
I’ll ask myself some test questions.
In what parts of my life can my attitude improve? For me, a negative attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and maybe it is for you, too. It’s a downward spiral. As soon as I start physically voicing my bad attitude, it spreads like wildfire. It seeps into the walls and floors of my house. It starts growing like a cancer in my heart. That, needless to say, is not healthy.
From whom can I remove judgment? Social media is an all-encompassing platform for communication, sharing news, and finding new ways to, that’s right, judge others. And we also judge ourselves based on our judgment of others. ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ (how’s that for some good ole KJV language?) is a timeless and I believe over-quoted verse. Yes, we should be discerning, but not have this judgmental attitude like we own the place.
To be honest, I judge myself constantly. Maybe you do, too. And not always in the best light. Several years ago, I came across a passage in II Corinthians 10 that has stuck with me (emphasis mine):
v. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
v. 8 For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame,
And my favorite verse of this passage:
v. 12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.
I guess what I get from those few verses is that we must examine our attitudes and thoughts and make sure they align with what God would think. And that last verse, it really has cut to the core of my spirit.. basically that we cannot compare ourselves with ourselves because the bar is subjective. The only objective thing to compare ourselves with is Christ.
That thought is freeing. Yes, we must examine our spirits, attitudes, and actions, but when we disregard all other earthly comparisons, we are free to compare ourselves with Christ. Unlike our earthly counterparts, who are by nature judgmental, imperfect, and sinful, Christ is perfect, without sin, and not only that! But He’s compassionate in His judgment. That is freedom, if you ask me, and an examination we can always pass.
Readings for today: