Looking back brings us to thanksgiving and prepares us for the next step: Looking Within. Honestly, most of us do not do this enough. Many of us spend time looking into the past (sometimes for good reasons and other times because we are stuck there). Some of us spend all of our time looking ahead to the future (more on this tomorrow). Some would rather try and peek into someone else instead of themselves.
Followers of Jesus must always be looking within. It is how we check ourselves. We must also invite God to speak to us about what needs fixed or changed within our heart and mind. Just as David prayed:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalms 139:23-24 NLT)
If you ask God to point something out within you, please be ready to do something about it when He does. Here are some areas that we should evaluate as we look within:
1. Do we trust Jesus' Provision? John 6 is a tough passage in many ways but none moreso than to realize the short memory of humans. Jesus has just fed 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The people are now asking Him for an additional sign as if they have forgotten that one entirely. It appears that many of them are following Him because they really just want more bread. Certainly, we should recognize that God is our provider...but we should be following Jesus because He has provided life for us...not just a meal. Look within to make sure you are following Jesus as the provider for your soul...and then as the provider for all else.
2. Do we hunger for the Bread of Life - The Word of God? Our appetite's can seek satisfaction in so many ways. We are too hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God and to desire the pure milk of The Word of God...but too often we can get caught desiring some cheap imitation offered by our enemy. Looking within, we must see what it is we desire and if it is anything other than God and His Word then we must deal with that thing as an idol that has taken part of our heart away.
3. Do we honor the broken Body of Christ and the Shed Blood of Christ as The Gospel unto Salvation? More specifically, the purity of The Gospel is that Jesus gave Himself (Body & Blood) for us...no other thing earns our salvation so as we look within we should not have added anything to the Gospel Message. What could we add? The list is long but the most dangerous might be adding our own works. Read Galatians Chapter 1 and hear the warning Paul gives that church about adding anything to the pure Gospel.
In the accounts of The Lord's Supper we hear Jesus call out a betrayer amongst them (Judas). You then hear the disciples asking themselves 'Am I the one, Lord?'. This is a question of examination...testing our own heart to ensure that our love is pure and genuine.
As Paul wrote, let's examine ourselves according to 1 Corinthians 11:27-29: So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.
Looking within shouldn't be something that we only do as we prepare for the bread and the cup of communion. This should be an ongoing reality for us as we follow Jesus.