God tells us to examine ourselves, to examine our ways. Those ways that we are to examine include every way that we think, perceive, speak, stay silent, respond, act, react, interact, spend our time, spend our money, roll our eyes and all other forms of body language.
If we take the time to look, really look, at ourselves – examine and test our ways – we will know deep in our souls that we need the Lord. I know I do. At all times. In all ways.
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. – Lamentations 3:40
To tell you the truth, I would much rather have it be God and I together scrutinizing all of my ways, rather than having to be corrected (challenged, convicted or embarrassed) by someone else. Although that has happened several times before in my life, and I know it will keep on happening too! God uses believers and not-yet-believers to correct His people. I’d just rather have it be God who’s getting all up in my face instead of other people. Not because I’m so holy. It’s really because I’m a wimp. God’s correction, challenge and conviction of my ways come only, and always, out of His love for me. God has no other agenda than that He wants His very best for me, and He wants the purest possible reflection of His Son Jesus to come through me. God wants to build me up, even when He has to humble me because of my pride, stubbornness and every wrong behavior (seen or unseen by others) that I do. Correction, challenge, conviction – and examination of all my ways – are much easier to take from my God, and with my God, because He is the One who loves me the very most!
Our God is so good. No matter what our ways have been, our loving, holy God always calls us back to Himself. Our Lord always wants us to return to Him. To stay with Him. And to follow His ways very, very closely.
The reality is that we are being scrutinized by those around us – just as we scrutinize others. It is so important and so urgent that we, as followers of Christ, reflect our Lord more purely, beautifully and fully so that all those around us will see and know the love, grace and truth that our God offers to all people. At all times.
May each of us be courageous enough to invite God into the examination process of all of our ways. May we each take to heart our God’s loving, righteous, stern and tender correction, challenge and conviction for our own behaviors. May each of us, who claim to be followers of Christ, truly follow Him so that the Body of Christ will look, think, speak and act like the Body of Christ! When we do, we will be true ambassadors of our God. It is then that those around us will be drawn to Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Oh! What an eternal impact our willingness to undergo God’s examination process can have in our own lives and in the lives of those with whom we interact!