True Disciples are Tired of Introspection (Part 2 of 4)

True Disciples are Tired of Introspection

I am an extremely visual person. If I don’t see it, it typically doesn’t exist to me. That’s why clutter in the eyes of my wife may in fact make perfect sense in my mind. Taping words to our mirror doesn’t look nice, but could prove to be instrumental to our happiness. When my wife has me look at some lady’s hair style in a magazine, wondering if I think it’ll suit her, it is like asking about getting a Mohawk or coloring her hair blue when she gets old. If I don’t see it on her, I have absolutely no way of judging it. Go figure.

We typically become what we behold. The Old Testament prophets warned the Israelites about staring too hard at their idols or they were in danger of becoming like them – deaf and mute and with no brains. We are similarly in danger of losing focus when we become too preoccupied with our own selves. Following someone means our eyes are on the one in front, watching where he’s going and how he does what he does. This is how one of the New Testament writers put it:

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” (Hebrews 3:1)

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

A preacher once said, “We live in a state of chronic self-evaluation.” Many of us have been so used to a lifestyle of introspection and fear of sin, checking ourselves constantly for any trace of the bad stuff, so we can make sure we’re OK with the One we’re trying to follow. In the process of introspection, we fix our eyes on ourselves and lose focus of Him. #focus Click To Tweet It is depressing to look inside ourselves all the time, because bottom line we fail to impress.

Martin Luther used to be caught in a cycle of introspection, where he found so much ugly stuff inside himself that it would often take him hours of confession just to make it through the day. Was Luther free to enjoy following Jesus? Nope. Because his focus was on himself. When he finally had the breakthrough revelation of what Jesus had already done for him on the cross, the constant navel-gazing turned to Jesus-gazing. Jesus will always be more impressive than us, and He draws us upward instead of inward and downward.

How many times did Jesus rebuke His disciples (on record) for their sin? Twice. Yes, He lamented their lack of faith a number of times, and used examples to counter their faulty thinking. But He only rebuked them directly twice. The first was when Peter tried to advocate for the devil against Jesus going to the cross, and the second was when James and John eagerly wanted to call fire from heaven down on a Samaritan village. Twice in the space of 3 years!

How often has the Lord rebuked you over sin the past month, or week? I think Jesus is more in the business of drawing us to Himself and His glory, holiness and beauty, than to our own weaknesses and faults. We so easily become scared of sin, as if it has power greater than Jesus. He never feared sin, and actually enjoyed hanging out with sinners, and we don’t have to be afraid of it, either. Otherwise, we will end up looking for sin in ourselves (and perhaps others), concerned we might find a dash here or there, thereby giving it prominence and power. Only Jesus is worthy of that kind of recognition in our lives.

We become what we behold. When we behold the glory of the Lord, we are transformed into the same glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). How I wish I had known this when I started following Jesus! I would have been spared years of heartache, introspection, depressing thoughts and little transformation. With my focus now turned to Him instead of my own belly button, I am free to enjoy walking with the One I always desired more than anything else!

In my first post in this 4-part series on discipleship, I talked about being empowered by the Holy Spirit to be able to follow Jesus the way He intended. Check it out here: The Power to become True Disciples

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