Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Sin of Introspection

About six months ago, my pastors and fellow leaders confronted me on some sin areas that were in my life. It was very difficult to hear, and even though I have grown in the area I was originally confronted in, pride, I have taken on a whole new issue that has just about worn me down to the point of exhaustion.

When people are confronted by others in the area of perceived sins, it is very easy for the person on the receiving end to do a few different things.

1. They become angry and accusatory
2. They accept the communicated issue, but do not agree and continue in sin
3. They accept the communicated issue, and as a result become repentant towards God and desirous for grace and restoration.

There are more responses, but it seems like these are the most prominent. I thought that I was doing #3. In reality, I had created a sort of hybrid. I wanted to be humble, and I wanted to be at peace before Christ, and yet I felt angry and frustrated. The underlying problem was that I became so focused on defeating pride that I drowned myself in my own introspection.

When all a person can see is themselves, Jesus becomes almost impossible to see and almost more impossible to hear truth from. At least, that is where I have been over the last few months. In my mind all I wanted was to follow Christ and enjoy Him alone, and yet the fear of man and the sin of introspection began to drown out truth and bog me down to a breaking point. I became so consumed with over-analytical thoughts that I began to feel like I couldn't say anything worth saying and couldn't do anything worth doing. In other words, I not only thought too deeply about my thoughts and actions, but I also analyzed every result that could come from those thoughts or spoken words.

O how terrible is the sin of introspection. It steals joy and hides all truth. Thankfully, through the kindness and steadfastness of my wife as well as much prayer and reading through scripture, I began to see the hope that lies only in the Savior. I also ran across a message by David Powlison which was no doubt a balm to my weary soul. I highly suggest that you listen to it. Powlison is a very gifted counselor and I highly recommend any and all of his materials. If you have ever struggled with introspection, or you know of someone who does, I believe this may be of immense benefit.

While I may have grown towards humility in some respects, it is clear that I cannot rid myself of pride by mere introspection alone, but by mainly trusting in Christ and constantly and consistently applying His grace in my life. What a Counselor we have in Jesus!

You can download David Powlison's message here from Sovereign Grace Ministries.

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