Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalms 139:23,24 (NKJV)
Around the beginning of the year, many of us feel drawn to a certain degree of introspection and self-review. Some of us have had some time off work or school… perhaps we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family that we might not have seen in a while. Things like this seem to prompt us to have a bit of a think about how our lives are going.
I’ve been posting on this blog since December 2013 (with some significant gaps, admittedly), and looking over some of the things I’ve written over the year has been an interesting exercise.
Towards the end of 2013, I was doing some fervent study and prayer centered on the book of James, and that’s what I started with in this blog. It was an important exercise for me, because I was really searching for practical applications of Christianity in my daily life – how to really live every day as a Christian.
I also talked about having God’s Word written on my heart, witnessing (and my fear of it), and practical, working faith. These were simply me sharing some of the things I was learning in my study of God’s Word, and I pray and trust that people reading those articles were blessed by them. I’d also suggest that they reveal something about my spiritual progress over the past year or so.
A certain amount of self-examination is a healthy thing. Taking the time to simply sit and contemplate how things are going in our lives is something that we may not always find it easy to do. And if we don’t occasionally have a good look at ourselves, internal issues can go unresolved for long periods, until they’re too much for us to handle.
On the other hand, too much introspection – looking at ourselves all the time, to the exclusion of everything else – is self-centred. We lose sight of what’s going on around, and become remote and cut off from people and things around us.
Clearly, balance is key, but I think most of all, we need to be aware that the One who knows us best of all is God. In Psalm 139, David recognises this when he says:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. – Psalm 139:1-4
God knows us better than we know ourselves, so self-examination is good and healthy (in moderation), but it will always be limited by our human imperfection. God’s view of us is perfect – He knows our true needs and the true desires of our hearts.
As we review the past and plan to the future, it’s important that we seek His guidance. Not only does he understand us completely, but His desire for us is absolutely for our ultimate happiness. Sometimes our limitations prevent us from seeing this, but it is at these times that it is most important to trust Him.
God’s blessings to all for 2015.