Let Us Examine Ourselves!
As the year comes to a close, Pastor Oliver encourages us to set aside time to reflect and prepare our hearts for the new year.
Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!
– Lamentations 3:40 (ESV)
Many of our schedule for the holiday month in December are packed. Friends would want to meet up and spend time together before the year ends. Family living abroad would be back over Christmas, and we would be catching up with one another. And we also have church gatherings and Christmas Day celebrations as we remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Ironic isn't it? That we would be busier during our ‘holidays’! And as we wind down the year with about a week left to the new year, I have intentionally set aside 1-2 days for a bit of self-reflection, journalling and goal setting.
Lamentations 3:40 encourages us to self-examine: we are to reflect on our actions and motivations and to repent and return to God. The book of Lamentations tells of why and describes how God has brought judgment on Jerusalem for their sins. Jeremiah, the author of Lamentations, in the face of God's judgment, reminds God's people of God's faithfulness and mercy in the preceding verses. He exhorts them to repent and turn back to God. Jeremiah urges self-reflection. And in the verses that follow, he calls on them to pray, to agree with God's righteous judgment, to repent and acknowledge their transgressions and rebellion, and to call out to God for mercy.
Paul, in the New Testament, also calls on believers to self-examination. He writes in 2 Corinthians 13:5,
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (ESV)
The church at Corinth was divided, and there was strife in their midst. They were sinning and living contrary to the application of the gospel. Paul urges them to examine themselves – they were to test their thoughts, affections, motivations and actions. Were they living in accord with the indwelling Jesus Christ? Paul gives a principle here: if we are believers, then our hearts and our habits should reflect Jesus Christ, who lives in us. We ought to reflect and check on ourselves regularly that we do so.
Therefore, my beloved family and friends in Christ. Do take the next few days to spend some time in self-reflection. Take a morning or afternoon off for self-examination. Spend the time giving thanks to God, seeking forgiveness and turning to Him, and setting some goals for the new year. One way we can do self-examination is to do so corporately. We can do this as we come together as a church for our Watchnight Service. Watchnight Service will be on 31 December from 8pm. We will have prayer, sharing, thanksgiving and testimony as well as a word from the Bible that evening. Let's come together as a church family to praise God and to pray for one another as we welcome the new year. See you all there!
What is going on in the life of the church?
1. We have several members of Grace Baptist Church currently touring Israel. They bring greetings in this video here:
Pray for our friends for a good trip and a time of refreshing in the Lord.
2. Do join us this coming Sunday (the last Sunday of 2019!) for Service at 9 am. We will be looking at Luke 2:22-52. Pray that God will prepare our hearts to receive His word. Do also read the passage 2-3 times before Sunday!