06 Jun, 2023 REFLECTION: Examining Ourselves
Opinion (Editorial)/Biblical Reflection/Testimony
By Aaron Hale
Image: Deposit Photos
In the past several months, I’ve looked reflectively at my own Christian walk… and found myself coming up short.
I caught myself having a “form” of godliness. I’d given up many outward sins like fornication, homosexuality, drinking, partying, watching worldly movies…. But even though I was fairly outwardly ‘clean’, I felt poor spiritually. I’d had a “form of godliness but [was] denying the power thereof” (see 2 Tim 3:5). Sure, I had a great testimony of “giving up Netflix roles to follow Jesus,” and “leaving the homosexual community behind.” And yes, glory to God! It’s a miracle to think how far He has taken me from the absolute moral depravity I used to live in.
But I was still finding myself coming up short in true righteousness. I would find myself struggling with impatience… having judgements towards others in my heart… and with a real shortage of love. Despite these sins in the heart, I felt somewhat okay with my ‘form’ of godliness because based on my outward actions and appearances, I looked like a fairly good Christian.
I find with us modern-day Christians, it can be easy to fall into the same trap as the Pharisees. Although we might not be as greedy for money, or angrily condemning others like some of the Pharisees were, we can become overly confident in our externally righteous appearance that can cause us to fool even ourselves. We’re churchgoers, we don’t get drunk, we pay our taxes, we’ve said the sinner’s prayer, we believe in God… But what’s really scary is that despite these outward markers of righteousness, we may not even be right with God!
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:8)
The Bible exhorts us to test ourselves to see whether we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5) and the New Testament has multiple passages warning us about sins that will keep us from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
If we just take a quick read of Matthew 5 and 6, and see the standards of Jesus (and are honest with ourselves), it’s easy to be quite humbled. We may know better than to cheat on our taxes, get drunk, or have an affair on our wife or husband… But is there someone who we’ve refused to forgive from our hearts? That’s a particular area I’ve really had to look at myself.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:15)
Have you heard Laurie Ditto’s testimony about unforgiveness? She went on Sid Roth and shared how God TOOK HER TO HELL FOR THE SIN OF UNFORGIVENESS. She shared how, because she refused to forgive, that her sins were not forgiven, and therefore she ended up in hell. Mind you, at the time of her condemnation to hell, she didn’t look like a “sinner.” She was a zealous believer, and was even in ministry. She herself was shocked to end up there!
It’s shocking Biblical truths like this that should make us take heed. We need the strong fear of God. With the standards that Jesus sets for His followers, we see that our righteousness truly needs to be greater than the Pharisees, and greater than that of an “upright citizen” and churchgoer.
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
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