James 1:23-25 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror ; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart ; Try me and know my anxious thoughts ; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
October 1 is the semi-annual Worldwide Day of Prayer for Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ. Last year, one of the prayer leaders was Bailey Marks Sr. At one point, he looked up to see himself on the big screen and said, “Oh my! I need a haircut.”
Bailey recognized his need, but a different perspective was necessary to help him to see it.
Are you like me? Do you find it hard to make a realistic assessment of yourself?
Sometimes, like Bailey Marks, we need a different perspective.
God causes our spiritual growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-11) but we must be engaged in this lifetime process. Cru Human Resources has developed a method to help our staff to intentionally work to reflect Christ better and to become more effective ministers of the gospel.
The first key element in Cru’s Personal Development Process is evaluation. Each of us needs to be self-aware, and that requires assessment and feedback.
Ask yourself: How does my life need to change so that I grow to be more like Christ and to become more effective in my particular calling as a servant of the Lord?
Cru Human Resources materials state that “[a]ssessment is important because it gives people an understanding of where they are now: what their current strengths are, the level of their current performance or leadership effectiveness, and what are seen as primary developmental needs. Assessment requires a willingness to be told the truth about oneself (including things you may not see – blind spots), and to be given feedback by your leaders and those working around you. It asks questions like: What am I doing well? Where do I need to improve? How am I doing relative to my goals?”
Sometimes feedback is hard to hear. But we must ask for healthy constructive criticism from people who know us well and live godly lifestyles.
Attitude is crucial. Jesus talked about the hypocrisy of his audience in Luke 6:41-42:
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye ? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye ? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
Taking a close look at ourselves is difficult — Emotionally draining. Embarrassing. Threatening. Discouraging.
For these reasons, sometimes I overlook the log in my own eye when I look in the mirror. I tend to blame others and go on the defensive. I am great at making excuses. Often I find that the behavior that irritates me the most in others is also present in me. I hate when others are tardy to meetings or late in completing assignments, but I am a terrible procrastinator.
If I am working with God to grow in Christ and be a better servant, I must submit to His constructive criticism and allow Him to send others to help me see a realistic portrait of my current situation. That approach is much easier than forcing God to rub my nose in the problem to get me to pay attention to an area in my life that desperately needs change.
Be proactive, not reactive!
My parting advice: Never turn down the offer of a breath mint.