2 Corinthians 13:4–9 ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’(v5)

Life is built around devising avoidance strategies, for our human nature recoils from accepting responsibility (Gen. 3:12). A simple study of Jesus reveals He accepted unjust accusations, all based on lies (Matt. 27:12–14). His silence, prophesied by Isaiah seven hundred years earlier, invites us to consider letting go of our anxiety about our reputation (Isa. 53:1–9). Personal responsibility starts with an honest appraisal of oneself. Yesterday’s inventory offers a great starting point. We are inclined to overstate our positive qualities and this only breeds dishonesty, and self- deception, and a loss of trust amongst those matching our words with our actions. I’m not suggesting we reject self-esteem, but that we see ourselves in line with God’s Word (Prov. 25:6–7).

Once I’ve accepted and voluntarily admitted my failings to myself – such as my addictions, the habits that I have yet to break, the trash that continually interrupts my thought patterns – I can look at myself and accept me for who I am. More importantly, I can be specific as I tell God about my many fault lines, no longer seeking to keep them hidden. Then I can share openly with those who walk alongside me in faith, and remain less sensitive to the accusations of others, for I’ve discovered every criticism levelled against me is born of a speck of truth (Matt. 7:3–5). It’s good to acknowledge I’m a sinner in need of help; and that God is rescuing me.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Prov. 29:18–27; 2 Chron. 7:13–18; Matt. 23:1–12; Phil. 2:1–11.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Do you suffer from feelings of shame and guilt? Are you able to identify and acknowledge the source? What would it be like to lose such feelings?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I have the courage to walk in the light and to be known for who I truly am. Amen.’ (1 John 1:7)

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.