Glance. Now Stare!
Introspection can be a very good thing, especially for Christians. For me, as a growing Christian, I’ve noticed that the more I read the Bible, the more I become aware of how often I fall short of keeping God’s holy law. However, the beauty of this, is that if I keep reading the Bible, I will also read that Christ Jesus came to save the worst of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). Then something magnificent happens, as I see the heinous nature of my sin I then come to realize and appreciate how wonderful the Gospel is.
This has led me to a wonderful spiritual maxim… “The more sinful I realize I am, the more wonderful the Gospel becomes to me.” But this isn’t just my idea. Jesus said it like this when a sinful woman lavished her love on him: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk 7:47).
The more we come to understand how sick we are, the more we appreciate the Great Physician.
But Too Much of A Good Thing Can Be a Bad Thing
But this can also be dangerous. Too much introspection can distract us from the Gospel and feed the inner-pharisee in us all.
I am pretty introspective by nature. My thought tends to be, “the more I look at myself, the more I can figure out what is wrong… then I can fix it.” But what I’m learning is that this can be a dangerous perversion of the Gospel because I can’t focus on two things at once.
How ‘bout Some Optometry
Look above your computer screen for a moment and stare at whatever is directly above it. Now try to read the rest of this post while staring above your screen. You can’t do it. Because our eyes were designed in such a way that we are only able to focus on one object at a time.
Now look just to the left of your screen… and try to keep reading this post. You can actually read while being aware of what is to your left or your right by using what we know as peripheral vision. By using this part of our vision, we can still focus on one thing, while being acutely aware of another thing.
One of the goals of our mortal enemy, the Accuser, is to constantly remind us of our sin so to accuse us before God. If we give in to this temptation then we take our eyes of Christ and turn then upon ourselves “in endless over-scrupulousness and introspection.” This dishonors the love of our Savior and in turn compounds our sin.
Glance, Don't Stare
So what I’ve learned is that as I read & hear the Scriptures, and as the Spirit works to bring conviction to my heart, I must strive to focus not on my sin, but on the Cross of Christ. I even try to keep this little rule: “look once upon your sin and then ten times upon the cross.”
If I look too much on my sin, I’ll forget the cross. But if I ignore and forget my sin, I won't appreciate the Cross.
So glance at your sin... Keep it in your periphery. But stare at the Cross.