May 14 8:11 AM
A Spiritual Gut Check
May 14 8:11 AM
May 14 8:11 AM
Friday, May 14, 2021
Every year, some of our 14 or 15 staff members go through an annual evaluation. Our staff are evaluated on five criterion, which I'll save for another time. They are evaluated in these five criterion by fellow staff members, by people they work with in their team focus group, and by me as well. Then, every year, they get a review based on the evaluations. It's really important because sometimes we need to see and hear things from others that we just don't see in ourselves. However, I've always tried to operate by a certain philosophy. I know many of our staff follow this philosophy, and maybe you do, too. It is that I'd rather be tougher on myself than have others be tougher on me. I'd rather have somebody else say, "Hey, that was a pretty good job." I would rather say of myself, "You know, I could have done a lot better." I would rather throw a little shade on myself and underestimate my performance, because I know that will help me get better and better. I never want to have a high view of myself, and have people say, "Whoa, horsey, calm down. That wasn't that good." I think this idea comes from the fact that sometimes we need to do a gut check.
Today, I want to ask you to do a spiritual gut check. In other words, I want you to not worry so much about what others say. That is still important - I just said it was. But I want you to hold yourself to the highest standard you can. Do a spiritual gut check. I get this from a verse that I think about very, very often, like many other scriptures that roll around in my head. It comes from the very end of Psalm 139, verses 23 to 24. I want you to take it in, because I think it just says what it means, and means what it says. It doesn't need a lot of explaining, but it does need a lot of applying in many people's lives. David says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Search me, O God, and know my heart. In other words, what's in my heart? Try me. In all my mind, what am I thinking about? See if there is any offensive way in me. That refers to your actions. Lead me in the way of everlasting life - in other words, lead me the right way. David is saying that sometimes we need a gut check. Sometimes we let things slide in our life that we shouldn't let slide. Sometimes we have anxious thoughts that we have no business being anxious about. Sometimes there are things in our life that are character slippage. If you let character slippage go on too long, your character will change. I don't know what's going on in your life, but one of the most challenging prayers is to say, search me, O God and know my heart. Ask God to look into your heart, look into your mind, look into your actions. Those are the three things David calls out. Say, "God, what do I need to change?"
Are there things in your heart that you need to change? An attitude toward a person, or things in your mind? The things you think about a lot, or things in the way you're living, where you're going, what you're doing? Search me O God, and know my heart. I know this is a very humbling, sobering thought, but it's an important one. The best thing in life is when you challenge yourself more than anyone else in the world does. When I challenge myself, I hold myself to the highest standards, and I know when I do that, I'll be the best Christian I could be, the best husband I could be, the best person I could be. I hope the same is true for you.
Let's pray. God, I just pray this prayer, search me and search all who are reading this. Search us, O God, and know our hearts. Try us in all our mind, see if there is any offensive way or action in us, and lead us in the way of righteous, everlasting life. God, just help us see where we need to grow and help us work on changing it. In Jesus' name. Amen.