“Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)
A thorough investigation of your life will bring about either a sense of accomplishment or self-denigration, of pride or humility. I have yet to meet a man of God who feels any sense of self-worth, and when he does, he chides himself for it, recalling John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
There is honor and great fear in those who are used by the Almighty for His glory, pride can find no place there, only the dreadful fear of being incorrect when attempting to expound upon the Word of God, we will all give an account, and James 3:1 rests heavy in their minds. “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”
That self-examination is necessary on a regular basis, for the traps of our adversary are indeed subtle, and if there is one area that he excels in, it is pride. The pastor with hundreds if not thousands of followers, one who writes books, gives appearances at functions is at great risk of this trap, for the more we are used by the Lord the more we are noticed by our adversary, and it is a given that in this area each will fall for a time.
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” (Luke 22:31) The apostle who was a little rough around the edges, who cursed and swore, who swung the sword was the one that Satan noticed. The man who is adamant will be called contentious by those he sits in the pews with, and if he is not on his guard continuously, he will fall to the wiles of the devil.
We must be honest with ourselves when we spend time in those introspective moments, who is it we really see in the mirror, in our heart, what has been our objective on this path we say we are on? It is difficult not to feel a sense of accomplishment when we have accomplished a task, were not the ones given ten and five coins commended for being wise in the use of them and growing their value for their master? It is difficult to explain properly, these acts of obedience we perform for the glory of God by our own free will and then to recall that apart from Christ we can do nothing.
The called heed the call and then act, receiving rewards on that day, yet casting those crowns back at the feet of the One that empowered them to perform them, to Him that gave them life in the first place. Self-examination then must be based on the amount of our lives that we humbled ourselves, when we said “Thy will be done,” picked up our cross and began the work we were called to do, as well as those times that we did not. Included here must be those times that we sought for glory, vainglory for ourselves, and of this my brothers and sisters we are all guilty.
The account that we will give in this area of our lives will show the truth of the reasons behind our actions, were they done in love and great humility solely for the glory of God, or did we seek a reward here as well?
I cannot help you in this, it is called self-examination, not group therapy, not a question-and-answer period between you and another, just you looking into the depth of your heart searching for the truth of who you are and why you either do or do not do certain things in your life. Honesty must be employed on this part of the path.
I caution you in this, you may not like what you see, in fact you can be sure that parts of you will be detestable to you. Look and see, where have you said, “I will,” and where have you said, “Thy will.” The greatest battle my friends lays within us.