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Chapter 21 - Self-Diagnosis
The Christian who wishes to delve deeper in his faith will have to be almost brutal with himself. Most of the obstacles to a deeper faith lie within us. To even recognize them is difficult enough. To remove or change them seems almost impossible. However, we do have some help available.
And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. - Mark 10:27
The Christian life lies mostly within what we think and believe. Therefore this is the realm that most of the work needs to be done in.
The Christian who desires maturity will have to recognize that he will have to confront all that is within him that is false so that it can be removed. Often a person will embark on a journey of spiritual improvement but try to do so in the flesh. Having morning devotions, attending a bible study, or increase one’s giving can be things that sound good, but may still be only the exercise of the flesh. Similar to a medical process, a diagnosis needs to be made before surgery can be considered.
Self-examination is not something that most are familiar with. Facing one’s own shortcomings of character can be difficult enough. However, facing one’s basic beliefs and questioning them can be even more difficult. Consider the difficulty for a person who considers himself to be a Christian to ask himself “Is there a God?”, “Can the bible actually be true?”, “Am I really saved?”.
Some might argue that such self-examination might undercut weak faith. However I think a stronger case can be made that such questioning bolsters faith because it reinforces it with new certainty. The bible uses the illustration of metal refining to illustrate a process of purification;
Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. - Proverbs 25:4
In a way, the more often one considers the so-called “science” of evolution or what is called critical bible scholarship, the more it is seen as a sad attempt to obfuscate truth. The removal of the “dross” from one’s beliefs only sharpens one’s trust in what is proven true.
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