Socrates once said a “life that’s unexamined is not worth living.” While he may not have realized it, his wisdom is wholly applicable and important to would-be disciples of Jesus. It’s much like the advice one receives when travelling on an airplane. In case of a loss of pressure in the cabin, we’re told to secure our own oxygen mask before attempting to assist others.
If we aren’t living our lives in tune with God’s will, we won’t be able to help others appreciate its beauty. The only way to be certain we’re in step with Christ is to take regular periods where we examine our own walk with Him.
One of the challenges most Christians face is getting so busy with serving Christ and others we lose sight of our own spiritual health. We allow our schedule to become so full and cluttered, we never step back to see what’s going on in our own lives. New Year’s resolutions fail because people forget to take the time to review them at regular intervals. Business strategies fade away for the same reason. A life unexamined may very well not be worth living; I know for certain a goal not regularly reviewed will fail. So it is in our walk with Christ. If we never look up from the path, how can we be certain it’s Jesus we’re following?
My advice is to set aside regular time to examine your spiritual health. Pick a day each week (or at least each month) and put it on the calendar. My experience is what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done. Set aside a couple of hours for this. Ask questions like, “Am I spending dedicated time each day in prayer with God?”, and “Am I regularly taking the time to truly study the Scriptures (see “Finding Jesus” for some suggestions on how to do this)?”. It’s important to approach these questions in the context of prayer. Ask Jesus to reveal the truth to you. It’s easy to tell ourselves a story we like to hear.
Other areas to explore include how much time you are spending in service to others compared to how much time you are spending on entertainment for yourself. Take a glance at your checkbook or financial software to see where your money is going. In other words, what is defining your life? If we never take the time to examine the condition of our hearts, I guarantee when we finally do, we will not like what we see.
It’s so easy to drift off course in our Spiritual life. This drift is one of Satan’s primary weapons. It’s subtle and nearly imperceptible. It occurs when we lack intention and fail in our reflection. The cure is simply the opposite: live with intention and never neglect times of reflection. When you examine your life, you can catch the early stages of drift and course correct. Failing to examine your life allows the little shifts to snowball into catastrophe.
This is one of the easiest and most effective things you can build into your relationship with Christ. Put it on your calendar today. When the day arrives, shut out all distractions, approach God in prayer, and ask Him to reveal what you need to see. When you examine your life, you will not only find it easy to build a life worth living, but more importantly you will nurture your relationship with the very One who gave you this life!