Reflection is important for growth
I find great comfort in God being the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8). It is foundational to my faith that I know the character of God and if for some reason I forget, I can look at Scripture and find reminders of the character of God and have faith that character stays consistent – always.
He is holy. (1Peter 1:16)
He is loving. (1 John 4:16)
He is just.(2 These. 1:6)
He is protector. (Psalms 18:2)
He is comforter. (2 Cor. 1:3)
He is healer. (Mark 2:17)
He is Father. (Isaiah 63:16)
He is Savior.(Isaiah 43:11)
He is Sovereign. (Job 42:2)
He is good. (Psalm 100:5)
He is King.(Psalm 47:7)
I also find great comfort in knowing I am not the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I know with certainty because I can reflect on my life from two, five or ten years ago and see the ways I have changed. The goal of course is to become more Christ-like, but the only way to know is to stop and reflect. I can celebrate the areas of my life that resemble Christ and I can be intentional of the areas where my character is out of line. But I can only know those things when I have stopped to reflect.
If I had not seen myself for the last few weeks and someone handed me a mirror I am certain I would spend more than a few moments looking at my reflection and taking inventory. Are things stuck in my teeth? Is my face dirty? Are there new blemishes? What has changed? Most of us do not stop long enough to look at the reflection of our soul very often – I would dare say we don’t reflect on our souls weekly. But how do we know what has changed without first staring at the reflection?
If my desire is to become more like Jesus, God in the flesh, then shouldn’t I stop to look at my heart to see if there are things that need tending to?
What is the motive of my expressions of love?
What acts of kindness am I parading?
What anger am I harboring in my heart?
What selfishness needs to be weeded out?
What hurts do I continue to bury deep inside?
Why do I get angry so quickly?
Where am I refusing to act in obedience?
The process of reflection was not a natural concept for me, nor did it fit easily into my devotional time in the morning, or my prayers at bedtime. I only learned how to reflect on my heart when I slowed down enough to allow the Holy Spirit to convict me, challenge me and comfort me. The Holy Spirit has the power to do all three, and sometimes even simultaneously. I started to realize in my time of reflection that there were always areas where I needed to be convicted, a part of my heart that had been left untended and my flesh had taken over. It may have been in a quick response to my husband, or heightened anxiety as we needed to get out the door on time, but there was always a place where I felt convicted and reminded that each day I was a sinner.
There is also always a place where the Holy Spirit challenges me. The longer I sit in God’s presence I am challenged to respond to others in kindness, pray for a friend, encouraged to act in obedience. Before the foundation of the world God established acts for me to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10) and it is through reflection those things are revealed to me.
The last is comfort. I actually enjoy being corrected and challenged more than I like to be comforted. I like to know areas where I can improve and create ways where I can see change. But the truth is Jesus desires our time of reflection with Him to be a time for comfort. He desires us to lay down heavy burdens, heartaches, brokenness and tiredness and offer us peace and grace. Reflection should be able the Holy Spirit meeting us to comfort our souls.
Find time for reflection.
Find time to celebrate the places where you reflect the character of Jesus.
Find time to be intentional of the places where change needs to occur.
Be convicted and challenged, but end your time with Jesus allowing your heart to be comforted.