We have all looked into the mirror one time or another and absolutely hated seeing the pimple, large pores, bags under our eyes, or dry skin. In the same way, when we choose to reflect on our inner selves, we (and the Holy Spirit) sometimes uncover pieces about us that we don’t necessarily like. Even when we don’t sit down and think about ways that we can be better husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, Christians, (enter job title here), mothers, and fathers, it seems that the character flaws about us jump out of the dark, take us by surprise, and corner us. It may take someone such as a good friend or our significant other putting us into our place when we’ve done wrong or letting us know that we need to listen more, tell them more, be more encouraging, yada-yada-yada. We want to cover up our flaws like girls cover up blemishes on their faces with makeup. It is downright uncomfortable to have to deal with the nasty stuff, so a lot of us choose to avoid it or run from it. If someone close to us reveals a character flaw to us that we may need to change, we might become defensive, block them out of our lives, or pretend that we are right. The sad part about this is that God could be using these special people in our lives to bring something to our attention so we can reflect Him more.
Choosing to reflect on certain areas in your life and how you can become better in your endeavors and titles that you hold is difficult. Satan doesn’t want you to have a stronger marriage/relationship. He doesn’t want you to be closer to your children. He doesn’t want you to be a positive influence in your work environment. Satan is out to destroy the goodness and wholesomeness in your life. He’s going to make all the sinful things look glamorous. If you’re not careful and don’t stay on guard, you will fall into his fictitious lies and more into your fleshly desires of being prideful and putting yourself as #1.
Self-reflection causes you to place your pride down for the Holy Spirit to look within. As weird as this may sound, self-reflection is not yourself looking into yourself; this is you allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of your life that you need to work on more whether that is being more gentle with your words, having patience with others, or handing over your worries and concerns to God to let Him take care of you. If you are not a saved Christian, the Holy Spirit can still convict you and work with you. He is not living in you if you are unsaved, but He is still working on your heart to become saved.
We all have flaws, but these can be corrected in time and with help from God!
First off, let’s look into why self-reflection is important and how it can help change your life. As we grow older and gain experience and wisdom, we change. Our faith in God may increase or decrease depending on our response to a situation. Our jobs or careers may not be what we expected in positive or negative ways. The people we dated or the friends we used to have may have completely changed our perspective about relationships and friendships. Additionally, we might add onto our roles and responsibilities or do just the opposite by eliminating responsibilities.
Self-reflection obviously needs to happen often as we seek to develop a godly character. It helps us to pinpoint what is bothering us, how we are feeling throughout specific seasons in our lives, and what needs to be done to make progress. When we set aside time to place our eyes on God, we can see how far we have come or rather, how much harder we need to try. What I’m trying to get at here is that ultimately, the more time we spend with God, the more that is revealed to us and what we need to change about ourselves. The Holy Spirit shows us what we need to do to be more like Christ because He is Who we are trying to reflect!
I have not come across Jesus straight forwardly saying “self-reflection” in the Bible, but there are several places in the Bible that are referring to it and instances where Jesus challenged others to think about their lives many times. One story, for example, is when Jesus went to Martha’s house. While Mary, her sister, was listening to Jesus’ words and sitting at His feet, Martha distracted herself by getting ready to serve a meal. Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) Jesus was trying to bring it to Martha’s attention that she needed to place her priorities in order and spend time with Him instead of worrying about the food that was going to be served.
When Jesus preached sermons and parables, He intentionally used them to cause His disciples and those listening to think about how they were living their lives and giving them instructions and guidance on how they should be living out their faith in Him.
Now, let’s talk more about the Holy Spirit, Who is the key player in “self”-reflection.
Verse 1: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto thee.” -John 14:26
The Holy Spirit is the One Who helps us remember scriptures we have memorized and sermons we have listened to. He is also the One Who teaches us while we are reading Bible passages. I love how the Holy Spirit will lead me to an exact passage or Bible verse that stirs my heart and is exactly what I need. It happens very often even as I write this blog post. The Holy Spirit is referred to here as the Comforter as well meaning that He gives us peace when our world seems shaken which leads us to our next verse…
Verse 2: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -Phil 4:7
Without the peace of God in our hearts, we would falter and waver in our faith. The peace that He gives us calms, comforts, and stabilizes us. It helps to keep us grounded in our faith.
Verse 3: “But God hath revealed them [the things which God hath prepared for them that love him] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” -1 Corinthians 2:10
Here, it is made crystal clear to us that the Holy Spirit searches all the deep things of God. So, as we spend time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit will reveal His character to us and convict us about ours!
We have seen why self-reflection is important, referenced scripture, and discussed the ways the Holy Spirit is a key player so far. Hopefully, you are starting to see that self-reflection goes beyond yourself.
We are going to camp out at this next verse for awhile to bring it all together!
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” -John 15:4
We are the branches, and Jesus is the vine. He is saying that if we don’t abide in Him, we cannot produce fruit which is good works. Let this sink in: we cannot produce any good works without Jesus. When we are not abiding in Jesus and trying to do things on our own, we are producing selfish works and doing nothing to build the kingdom of God. This directly relates to “self”-reflection, y’all. As Christians, our goal is to reflect Christ in everything that we do and bring glory to God. To become a better reflection of Christ instead of ourselves, we need to abide in Him and let the Holy Spirit guide, convict, and bring to light our more prevalent parts of our sinful human nature. He can lead us to the verses that we need to read and apply to our lives.
We shouldn’t aim to reflect a sinful human nature but God’s character. The Holy Spirit helps us reveal our character flaws and how they don’t line up with God’s character. Self-reflection really happens when we choose to read the Bible, go to church, pray, and so on. You know, the typical Sunday School type answers.
It’s not about us. It’s about God. And this is where true “self”-reflection begins.