Imagine a community with people who are like Christ, living together in peace, love, joy you name it. This place is impossible in our minds, right? We all have faults and we are trying to be like Christ every day. However our lack of perfection doesn’t mean that we cannot try to get close to the standard of Christ in some of the things we do, our actions, how to react and so much more. In the book of Job, we see how God makes us realize that truly our sin and righteousness doesn’t do anything to him but it affects the people that are around us.
J ob 35 v 6-8
If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him?
And if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to him?
If you are righteous, what do you give to him?
Or what does he receive from your hand?
Your wickedness concerns a man like yourself,
and your righteousness a son of man.
These verses show us how our lives are really for each other; we are made to work well together. Our actions shouldn’t be to please God only although it’s very important to please him first; we also have to treat our neighbors with love, the way we would love to be treated. Our lying, cheating, kindness, gratitude can have a negative and positive impact on the lives of the people around.
In order to become people who love their neighbors as we love ourselves, we must be able to carry the cross every day and check our hearts every day to make sure that we are in line with the word of God. So we are going to reflect and search our own hearts with the help of a few questions :
- Do I die to self?
Ephesians 4 v 22- 24
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
At this first instance, one must seek to find out whether he/she is growing in the relationship with God. It’s a time of self-assessment to ascertain whether one’s spirit is well fed and developing. To die to self simply means submitting the desires and pleasures of the flesh to the Spirit.
- Do I deny self?
Matthew 16 v 24-26
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Of a truth, as humans, we have the right to do a lot of things. But the question is that, is it really healthy for our spiritual and physical growth? This, therefore, introduces the need for “denying oneself”. Denying oneself is to intentional restrict yourself from engaging in some activities that may not be beneficial to one’s growth.
- Do I humble self?
Philippians 2 v 3-8
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross
It takes humility to really enjoy the good things of the people and society. Humility has a unique touch of patience and it doesn’t disdain others neither does it suggests low self-esteem. Humility is a state the heart; it shared with and testified by others.
- Do I love God?
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
When you love God, you follow his commandments and his commandments help us live in harmony with others. God’s word helps us see what’s in our hearts; it renews our minds and helps us be the best version of ourselves for the benefit of the next person.
Self-check doesn’t mean our attention should be shifted to only ourselves but it’s a time of having a reflection of our lives to ensure that we are on track. Even though none is perfect, as mentioned earlier, considering measures such as dying to self, denying self, humbling oneself and loving God are some means that can assist us in our self-check.