Following God requires us to look in the mirror of God’s Word. That process can be what I call “joyously painful” – painful because we see ourselves as we really are, but joyous because there’s great relief when we turn to God and find Him gracious. So, here are some questions to ask in the mirror today:
- If I imitated your life today, would I be living like Jesus? Paul knew he was the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), but he also walked closely enough with Jesus that he could humbly but confidently say, “Imitate me, and imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Can you say the same?
- If I walked with you non-stop for the next week, would I ask you to teach me to pray like you pray? Surely the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray because they had heard Him and watched Him pray (Luke 11:1). They wanted to talk with the Father like He did. Would I want to pray like you pray?
- Is the Word of God precious and sweet to you? That’s the way the psalmist described the Word: “They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey, which comes from the honeycomb” (Psa. 19:10). Would you say the same?
- Is God’s will more important to you than your will? Jesus taught us to pray this way –“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) – and He then modeled His own teaching in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:42). If God’s will were to mean your death for the sake of the gospel, how would you answer this question?
- Do you give thanks for everything? Paul told us to live this way (1 Thess. 5:18). He so believed this truth that he himself could boast about his weaknesses and take pleasure in his persecutions, for he found God’s strength in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Do your prayers show this much gratitude?
- Do you fight your own battles, or do you let God be warrior? David knew his battles were God’s, not his, when he was a shepherd boy (1 Sam. 17:47), but he depended on his own army and strength when he became the king (1 Chron. 21:1-5). Are you more like David the shepherd boy or David the king?
- Are you hiding anything? Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, and they convinced themselves that even God couldn’t find them when they hid (Gen. 3:8). Are you doing the same thing?
- Who knows Jesus today because you’ve talked about Him this week? Jesus freed a man possessed by a legion of demons, and He told the redeemed man to go tell his friends what He had done. The result: everyone marveled at Jesus (Mark 5:19-20). Who’s marveling today because of your story?
If this look in the mirror is painful, make it joyous by turning back to God right now.