Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.

"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe

Friday, December 23, 2011

December 23

“Self-examination is sometimes extolled among Christians as a most commendable and necessary duty; but in my view it is often a great evil.  It leads either to self-justification and self-commiseration, or else to discouragement and despair.....The soul that looks away from self, and examines the Lord instead, finds its mouth filled with his name, and his praises, and his glorious power.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 12/14

My first thought when I read the first sentence was how would I know, then, when I needed to confess a sin?  But as I read on it became clear.  Once I give my life to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit I can trust that He will bring these sins to mind--I don’t need to continue with the self-examination as I had been accustomed to doing before.  I spent my 20’s in this intense self-examination because I was a perfectionist.  I needed to be one step ahead of others in finding fault with myself so I could correct it before someone else pointed it out to me.  I did not know about the Holy Spirit, even though I was saved at age eight.  In my early 30’s I discovered that the Holy Spirit, whom I’d received those many years ago was just waiting for me to let Him have control.  Now in my early 50’s I’m finally waking up to the ways my old habits have continued to get in the way of the Holy Spirit doing His job.  I’m finally coming to understand that I must keep my eyes on the solution and not the problem.  When I focus on the problem (myself) I get sucked back into the ways of the flesh.  Being freed from this self-examination is part of Freedom in Christ.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”  Psalm 139:23, 24

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