Saturday, August 21, 2010

Harnessing Self Awareness

Raymond Ortlund Jr. described conviction of sin the following way,
"What is conviction of sin? It is not an oppressive spirit of uncertainty or paralyzing guilt feelings. Conviction of sin is the lance of the divine Surgeon piercing the infected soul, releasing the pressure, letting the infection pour out. Conviction of sin is a heath giving injury. Conviction of sin is the Holy Spirit being kind to us by confronting us with the light we don't want to see and the truth we're afraid to admit and the guilt we prefer to ignore. Conviction of sin is the severe love of God overruling our compulsive dishonesty, our willful blindness, our favorite excuses. Conviction of sin is the violent sweetness of God opposing the sins lying comfortably undisturbed in our lives. Conviction of sin is the merciful God declaring war on the false peace we settle for. Conviction of sin is our escape from malaise to joy, from attending church to worship, from faking it to authenticity. Conviction of sin, with the forgiveness of Jesus pouring over our wounds, is life."

(Thank you Pastor Phil for including that quote in your message.)

One of the best books I have read (aside from the bible) is RESPECTABLE SINS by Jerry Bridges. I feel it is a fantastic book that promotes and encourages self awareness. In order to walk upright, God's word states, "first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:5). I feel RESPECTABLE SINS assists with that. It causes the reader to look at self and ask, "Do I struggle with that?" For me, it further encourages me to evaluate relationships and watch interactions while again questioning myself each time, "Is that something I need to address and on which I should work?" When/if noticing "respectable sins" in others prompts me to wonder, "Do I do that?"

Given some sins are tucked away in blind spots making them easy to miss I then go to brothers and sisters in Christ I trust most and seek their assessment. I do not do this with everyone but rather those I have found that #1 stay firm in the foundation of Christ and faithfully study God's word daily, #2 do not criticize, gossip, or slander, #3 are not prideful in the area of couneling others, #4 give a soft answer rather than a harsh word (Proverbs 15:1), and #5 request God's wisdom rather than speak out of their own strength and assumption. Sometimes it is very difficult to find someone (or a married couple) because each of us struggles with "respectable sins" but do not give up (and do not get discouraged if you find out a person you trusted is actually not trustworthy at all). Continue in heartfelt prayer and God will provide exactly what (and who) you need.

Harnessing self awareness is a challenge but attainable...just like taking each thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13. NKJV.)
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