|Self-reflection feels like a lost art. Self-motivation seems to have taken its place.
Don’t get me wrong, we all could use encouragement from time to time. There are moments it’s appropriate to self-talk your way to courage and action. Only make sure what you tell yourself comes from a faithful source.
Too much self-motivation is candy to our souls. That makes self-reflection the leafy greens.
You can get buy on candy and, let’s say, processed foods for a while. Sometimes, a good while. Eventually, that diet catches up to your body. It impacts your health.
In Luke 11, Jesus is addressing, in his own words, an “evil generation” (Luke 11:29). What made this generation evil was their unwillingness to see the sign in front of them. Some saw Jesus’ ministry as the work of demons. Others were only impressed by his miracles.
They failed to understand that something greater than Solomon and Jonah was here. They missed the signs of what was happening. An important question we should ask is, Why did they miss it?
Let’s look at how Jesus responds.
He uses the illustration of a lamp. According to Luke, this isn’t the first time Jesus has done this. Back in Luke 8 our Lord reminds us that a light’s function is to shine. Since the light does what it does, Jesus says, “pay attention to how you listen” (Luke 8:18). Sounds strange, I know.
But watch this.
In Luke 11, the lamp still shines so that people can see the light. This time, however, Jesus tells us this: Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light.”
So, we’ve gone from letting the shining light teach us how to listen to now showing us how to see.
But what are we listening for? What does our eye have to do with anything?
Well, let’s get back to our diet. If you get serious about what you put into your body, you’ll go easy on the candy. Likewise, nurturing faithful self-reflection is a wise shift in our understanding of discipleship. The light of Christ shines to teach us more about ourselves. More, perhaps, than we would like. If all you’re looking for is motivation or self-help, you’ll miss the nourishment.
Not to overstate things, but we can get by without self-reflection, but it catches up to us. And, without it, we can miss the work of God happening right in front of us. Jesus says, “Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness.”
Did you catch that?
Consider. That’s reflection language. In this case, reflect on whether the light you have within you is God’s. Don’t kid yourself. That can be a hard conversation to have. It can be easy to fool yourself and others. But if what you’re seeing isn’t right, what shines within you won’t be either.
Thankfully, the light of Christ still shines. You won’t be able to grasp its depth, though, unless you spend time reflecting on what it’s showing you.
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