Over 270 searchable teachings on the weekly readings, healing prayer and congregational development for church leaders, home churches and those who want to go deeper in their spiritual life in Christ. Available on Holy Cross Anglican YouTube channel June-August 2021.
Self-examination Helps us Grow in our Spiritual Life (Lent 1)
The Reading (Mat. 4.1-11) teaches us
that we will be tempted to rebel against God by the hidden voice of Satan. This
is in addition to the voice of our own ego and our human cravings for love,
wealth and power. Many people in North America have been deceived by false teachings
on the Bible and do not believe in Satan. I was probably one of those people until
I had a personal experience of Satan’s voice. I was standing on a busy sidewalk
in Calgary beside the woman I had just fallen in love with. There were four
lanes of traffic and we were waiting at traffic light for the signal to cross.
A thought came into my head “if you just push her a little she will fall into
the traffic and be killed”. I was stunned! Where was this coming from! Then
another voice helped me understand – I had experienced spiritual evil. The Bible
stories of Satan are not exaggerated!
Let us consider the question of why we should
examine our spiritual life before going on to the practical questions of how to
do this and prepare for weekly Confession and Absolution.
Why should I examine my spiritual life?
Regular self-examination is at the
heart of developing a spiritual life. . This is the work of examining your motives
and actions to ensure you are cleaning out spiritual pollution and developing a
closer love relationship with Jesus. This is the best way to identify and
overcome our hidden temptations.
do it as a discipline because we do not think we really need to do it – the sin
of spiritual pride – like testing God (if Jesus stepped off the Temple)
it because we deceive ourselves about our actions and intentions – example of
St. George’s Interim – pride
it because we have a spiritual adversary – Satan that temps us, deceives us and
then accuses us before God
it because it helps us grow spiritually
How do I examine my life?
First step is to develop the practice
of having a regular quiet time. Most people do this by getting up a half hour
earlier to read Scripture, pray and meditate. You need a special place, away
from distractions. The goal is to identify some specific incidents in the past
week where you have failed to love God, yourself or your neighbour. The goal is
to invite the Holy Spirit to walk with you through a review of each day of the
past week. The Holy Spirit will highlight some specific examples of ways in which you have failed to love. This
requires focussed thinking. Begin by assuming you have probably broken all of
the 10 Commandments, to some small extent. For example you have probably not
murdered anyone – but you might have been angry with someone which could be ‘murder
in the heart’. We have probably all spoken words about someone which when miss-interpreted
and re-phrased by others will end up murdering the other persons reputation.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how
you have I failed to love God by:
other ‘gods’ - hockey or movie stars before God?
down to idols – money, power, sex, popularity?
the name of God carelessly, without respect?
to obey the command to set a Sabbath day aside?
Ask to be shown how you have failed to
love yourself by: