You and I certainly know the drill: Get to the office, let the receptionist know we are there, wait and sometimes wait some more. We're called back by a nurse who will ask us some introductory questions and get a few preliminary things out of the way. We often wait again before the doctor comes in.
It strikes me right now that we are so blessed to be able to meet with God anytime and any place! There is not a waiting room and He is always ready!
But, here's the thing about the exam - we must be open and honest about our symptoms or struggles. The one giving the exam has been trained to notice things out of the ordinary and to hear what we're saying and maybe discern that we're not saying everything.
Knowing we're being observed with a trained eye can be a bit unnerving. This is a very vulnerable place to be.
We may have to have a few tests for our doctor to fully understand our specific situation, but all of this time - he is observing and beginning to process our results.
Naturally, this leads me to say that all of these thoughts relate to an actual trip to the doctor's office. How does God conduct an exam on us?
Yes, that is exactly what I am pondering. He has His eyes on us all the time, He can see all of our symptoms and knows what we need without us making an appointment to come in and seek His help.
Here's a thought - even though He knows what we need and how to help - He does not force Himself on us. He consistently sets a perfect example for us to follow and then He works in our lives so that we come to Him for help!
I think He really does want us to come to Him and share our symptoms and ask for His help. And, by His grace - we get to that point by the work of the Holy Spirit!
We are convicted through His Word, the encouragement/challenge of a friend, a song, a spoken word or in a gentle nudging in our hearts.
When we come to Him - the exam begins - but in God's grace - we are really the ones carrying it out.
You see, in an exam - there is a standard, a perfect starting place. For example - 20/20 vision is where we want to be so we can see well. So, 20/20 vision is the goal - the standard. When we realize we aren't seeing 20/20 - correction is recommended to help us in that.
Let's bring this back to the spiritual realm. When God, through the Holy Spirit, brings me to the place where I share my symptoms and seek His help - we already know the standard to attain and strive for. Our goal is to be Christ-like, to live according to His Word. When we look at our symptoms in light of our goal - we are conducting the exam.
This principle could apply in many areas - but since I'm wanting to learn about seeing myself and others the way God does - let's think about what this exam might look like:
* Am I consistently listening to the lie that I am not good enough? Or, worse - that I'm not good at all, a failure?
The standard: "God saw all that He had made and it was very good." Genesis 1:31
God made me in His image and He declared His creation very good. When I believe lies about myself and repeat them to myself - it is like telling God that His creation is not very good, that He is lying. It is like taking His creativity and throwing it back at Him and saying we don't like it.
* If I believing things like this (above) about myself - what other ways am I falsely looking at myself?
The standard: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts..." Psalm 139:23
Ask God to seek my heart and reveal any wicked way within me.
* Would I let my children say or believe that (insert anything you need to here)?
The standard: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." Philippians 4:8
* Lord, do I think too highly of myself?
The standard: "For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3
* Is the way I see myself the way I want God or others to see me?
The standard: "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outer appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" 1 Samuel 16:7
* What about my children? I am setting an example for them - but what kind of example?
The standard: "Train a child in the way he should go..." Proverbs 22:6
* Am I thinking or believing things about myself for selfish gain? Am I hoping for pity or praise? Am I seeking a certain response?
The standard: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3
Seek Him in performing an exam of our hearts! Take some time to sit with these or your own questions and just listen - jot down thoughts or Scripture He brings to mind and then be in prayer about those things.
Keep your appointment and meet with the Great Physician!
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Thank you, Katie, for the fitting notecards!