Self-focus or Christ-focus? (1)
Self-focus isn’t necessarily bad if it helps our spiritual growth. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us: ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves’ (NIV). We might ask ourselves questions like ‘Do I measure up to God’s standards? Have I truly repented? Do I pray enough? Is God pleased with me?’ Turning the focus on ourselves can sometimes leave us feeling discouraged and defeated. So what’s the right way to examine ourselves? How does God want us to do it? There are only two mentions of self-examination in Scripture, and neither teaches us to indulge in too much self-focus. First, Paul challenged the Corinthians about tolerating sin in their church. A man was having an affair with his stepmother and no one seemed bothered by it. And because they had ‘not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they…indulged’ (2 Corinthians 12:21 NIV), Paul wrote, ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.’ This isn’t an invitation to self-focus, but a spiritual check-up to see if our faith is genuine and we’re living God’s way. Second, Paul corrected the Corinthians’ behaviour during the Lord’s Supper. Because some were getting drunk on communion wine, he said, ‘Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup’ (1 Corinthians 11:28 NIV). Paul’s not suggesting we should become fixated on our flaws, but on the liberating truth that Jesus paid the price for all our sin – past, present, and future. The Bible says: ‘Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect’ (Hebrews 12:2 NCV). We’ll find growth, joy, and victory when we abandon unhealthy self-focus and stay Christ-focused.
Are there any flaws that you keep fixating on? Today, spend a few minutes handing it over to God, and ask Him to help you replace any negative self-focus with a fixation on Him instead.
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