Core scripture: “Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!” (Lamentations 3:40)
Message: My 7th graders are taking their final exam next week. It will come in a comprehensive exam over A Long Walk to Water and a speech they will be posting to Flipgrid. This will be a telltale examination of everything they soaked in the past few months.
As my students take their final, it is time for us as teachers to take our own “final.” It is time for self-examination. 2 Corinthians 13:5a Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” Have I lived the life of a Christian teacher? Have I glorified God in my speech and my actions? Where are my needs for improvement?
I heard a wonderful sermon last weekend that laid out four easy steps to examine yourself through an intentional prayer:
- Replay your day. Think back. How have you done recently? Talk to the Lord about where you have been and how you reacted to certain situations. Did your actions glorify God? Would He be proud of you?
- Rejoice to God. As you replay your day, think about the good things. Praise God for the victories! Maybe you held your tongue or strayed from the temptation of gossip. Thank the Lord for His strength to do what is right, pure, and lovely.
- Repent from sin. You will likewise discover some areas in need of improvement. Ask God for forgiveness. Repent and pray for strength to endure temptation. Relish that God can wipe the slate clean and put you back on the right track.
- Reboot. Much like our computers need to be restarted, you need that reboot, too! Start afresh. Meditate on God’s Word. Listen to a worship song for encouragement. Journal about where you need to be. Pray. Let this reboot rejuvenate your soul!
All that being said, I ask you this: How are you doing? What appears on the video replay of your day? What can you rejoice to God about? Where are the areas you need to repent? How can you reboot? Take some time this week to examine yourself, and believe me … the Lord will speak!
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Challenge: Go to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to reveal the truth about yourself. Have a conversation with Him about what you are doing right and how you can grow with Him. Journal about these thoughts. Write out some goals for the new year to hold yourself accountable. Make an effort to revisit this periodically throughout 2021.
Prayer points: Lift up the following prayers to the Lord.
- Pray that God will reveal areas of your life that need to be submitted to Him.
- Praise God for the successes He has worked through you.
- Pray for all students and teachers to finish the year strong!
Just for fun: Last Saturday I had a conversation with my wife early in the morning. She looked stressed, so I politely asked her what was on her mind.
“What is on my mind? We have to get the boys dressed and fed. We have Christmas shopping to do. I have to make that meal for Jessica tomorrow night and need to grocery shop. Our son needs to study for the spelling bee. We have to clean and straighten the house. Put up the Christmas decorations. Make a Target run. The car needs gas … Why? What’s on your mind?”
I paused and smiled at her.
(Let it be known it is my Saturday morning tradition to make waffles or pancakes for our boys.)
Prayer: Father, help me examine myself and repent of any sin in my life, drawing me closer to You. Amen.