Updated: Jun 12
Spiritual Training Cycle: Examination (wk. 9/13)
“I want.” Have you ever found yourself using these two words in the fitness community where you train? Athletes want things. And you should. You want new personal bests. You want to melt some fat. You want to develop new skills. And you want to take the confidence you build in the gym and carry it into the rest of your life. Wanting is natural because results are what people see. And we want results.
But the reality is, despite all the wants I hear, not everyone will achieve the results they desire. The difference for most people is the stimulus. In other words, what’s the why behind the want? Because the journey to a want is full of landmines and roadblocks where your enemies complacency and comfort wait for you. If your why isn’t dialed in, chances are you abandon the journey or justify why it wasn’t for you. The right result will always be the effect of the right stimulus.
The right result will always be the effect of the right stimulus.
Self-examination is a crucial spiritual exercise that requires the right stimulus to be effective. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and neglect our spiritual growth, but taking the time to reflect on our thoughts and actions is essential to living a life that's pleasing to God. In Colossians 1:3-14, Paul encourages the church to grow in their knowledge of God and to live a life worthy of Him. This passage reminds us that self-examination is not just about looking inward, but also about looking upward to God.
So, what is the right stimulus for self-examination? It's a desire to grow closer to God and to live a life that's pleasing to Him. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:10, we should walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. This means that we need to examine ourselves in light of God's truth and character and make the necessary changes to become more like Him.
One of the biggest obstacles to effective self-examination is our own pride. It's easy to justify our actions and to think that we're doing just fine, but the truth is that we all have areas in our lives that need improvement. To overcome this obstacle, we need to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to reveal any areas where we need to grow. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:9, we should pray for each other to be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Finally, the ultimate stimulus for self-examination is God's love. When we truly grasp the depth of God's love for us, it motivates us to live in a way that pleases Him. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:12, we should give thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. This inheritance is not something we earn through our own efforts, but something that God has freely given us through His love and grace.
We all have wants, including you. Maybe you want to be a more patient person. Maybe you want to truly be happy for other people and not envious. Or maybe you want to be joyful even in the midst of the lousy circumstances you feel life has handed you. Now, ask yourself why? Why do you want those things? And that inward look at your heart is the spiritual exercise of self-examination, which the ancients practiced thousands of years ago,
Self-examination requires the right stimulus, which is a desire to grow closer to God and to live a life that's pleasing to Him. We need to focus on God's truth and character, ask for help from others, and be motivated by God's love. As we increase in our understanding of God, we will be able to identify areas where we need to grow and make the necessary changes to become more like Him. The right result will always be the effect of the right stimulus.
Questions for Reflection:
Where do you feel your desires most closely align with God’s desires?
What’s one thing you want God to do in your life? Why?