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Pointers along the way #170

Reality check
- Jacob Ninan

We human beings are quite good at deceiving ourselves. The Bible says that the heart is more deceitful than anything else (Je.17:9). We can make ourselves believe what we want to believe. Especially when we don't like what we see in ourselves we would like to make ourselves believe that we are in fact better or greater than we really are.

Let us just look at some circumstances in which we may deceive ourselves.

Let us say we have understood doctrines better than many people around us. As a result we frequently find ourselves being in the right when we look at others who are wrong. This tends to make us think that we are better than the others, forgetting that it is only our doctrines that are better! There may still be a big gap between what we believe as doctrines and how we are in our practical life. Don't we need a reality check?

Or, we are in a good church with great preaching and lots of activities. We feel quite great when we stand in the midst of the others and join in worship, thankful that our church is so good. But does it follow that just because we are in a good church we are spiritual? We need another reality check.

Perhaps our pastor is a great man of God, and his sermons are so touching! We know him personally and he has come to our house and blessed us! Does association with a great man make us great? Reality check!

We say we have one or two spiritual gifts. When we 'minister' others are blessed! Do spiritual gifts make anyone spiritual? Or is it spiritual fruit that make us spiritual? (Mt.7:22,23).

We are very active in Christian work, giving of our time and energy, and people may think much about us. But isn't it possible that we are hollow inside (1Co.13:3)?

Perhaps someone prophesied over us that we are someone special for God. Even assuming that it was genuine, think of King Saul or Judas, for example, who started with a great calling!

We can look back at some fantastic experiences we have had in the past, perhaps? We saw a dream or a vision or heard God speaking to us, or we have experienced a miraculous healing or answer to prayer. Do such experiences make us special, or are these merely signs of God's kindness? There may be other circumstances that tend to make us think that we are someone special or great.

What is the basis of a good reality check?

What is really important is what God thinks about us, whether we are special or great. And what makes anyone special in God's eyes depends on his life, depending on how much he has taken part of the spirit of Christ. Jesus certainly appreciated great faith. But great faith leads to great lives, which can be seen, heard and touched by others around us (1Jn.1:1,2). That is the ultimate reality check.

Let us not deceive ourselves. Reality may hurt, but it is the truth. It is better to go through a painful surgery now than to suffer eternal loss. Just as we change our physical lifestyle when a medical test shows something wrong, shall we not mend our ways when the reality test of our lives gives a warning?