During Lent, many Christians take time for self-evaluation. The need to understand our shortcomings and sins and repent for them is essential to our Christian growth. Some have said that the "unexamined life" is not worth living, but there are many good reasons for being aware of areas that need improvement.
Where a Christian has inner conflict and uncertainty about motivation, talking with God can help. Prayer frequently causes us to focus on the real reasons for our behavior or our ambivalence about certain situations. If you are uncertain about the true causes of imperfect attitudes or immature behavior, other people may be quick to "judge" the reasons. Worse still, the evil one will continually suggest false motivations to stir up inner conflict and self-doubt.
A Christian needs to pause, think, evaluate, and understand. When we understand the true "root of the problem" or the actual cause, we can ignore false assumptions and wicked harassment. Our firmness of direction and confidence are restored, and we can intelligently pray and work on positive willing. Understanding ourselves leads to corrective action and true empathy and compassion for others.
While Jesus will always make up the shortfall of our imperfections, joyous living is the reward for self-examination. Living fully in Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit brings us freedom from the bondage of sin and self-doubt. If we continuously analyze and evaluate our life and behavior, we are actively participating in the process of salvation. When we help liberate ourselves from our own sins and inner problems, we are free to reach out with love and Christian service. We are free to live with joy.
Mary-Ellen is a Christian author and editor living in Godfrey, Illinois, with her husband and son. She is the Editor of Eternal Ink, a Christian ezine that appears twice a month. She can be reached by email, firstname.lastname@example.org