Spiritual Self-Examination

December 10, 2017

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1-8

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
 –Mark 1:4-8

What is sin? Would we recognize its presence in our own lives if we saw it? Do we need to know our sins truly to repent of them?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sin as:

a transgression of religious law:  an offense against God
a serious offense:  a violation of propriety
a serious shortcoming:  fault
a vitiated [defective] state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God

 We find examples of all of these descriptors of sin in the Bible. The most common Biblical definition is not listed above. Scriptures talk about missing the mark and going astray. Jesus is quoted in Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow, and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a major retooling of its roster the last couple of years which results in the need for seasoned players to change the way they have trained their bodies and minds to function. Old muscle memory dies hard. Learning to play with new teammates takes time and practice. On top of that rules of the game were changed increasing need for additional adaptation. They are learning to go through a new narrow gate while leaving their old ways behind. I am not suggesting that sin has anything to do with the Thunder’s playing. I am saying I think it is an excellent example of self-examination we all must continually do as we strive to follow God without going astray or missing the mark. These guys have several coaches whose job is to help them see their missteps so they can correct them. They record the change in their brain and keep reminding themselves of it until it becomes new muscle memory.

Our head coach is Jesus Christ who through his life, death, and resurrection shows us the way to life. He provided others to carry on his work through apostles and disciples, prophets and priest. Our task is to take his Word into our hearts and brains and let it infuse our entire being with its wisdom to guide our work and our journey.

Prayer: Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit Divine!** Amen


**First verse and chorus of Open My Eyes by Clara H. Scott see at https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/807

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.