I don’t have to tell you that we live in a busy and noise-filled world. No matter where we turn, opinions are being flung at us. People are constantly telling us what we should think and how we should believe. We live in a noisy and chaotic world. We’re taught to go, go, and go some more.
Amidst all the noise, I keep feeling an invitation to reflection.
Slowing down long enough to think deeply about any subject is rare these days. Instead of truly taking the time to learn something, we skim the first search result on Google and think that we’re an expert. And we surely don’t take enough time to regularly reflect and examine our own hearts.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus withdrew to silent and solitary places to pray and meet with God. David, in the Psalms, asked God to examine his heart. And the Proverbs are filled with instructions about guarding our hearts. Though we have a lot of good examples before us about honestly reflecting with God, it’s a difficult thing to put into practice.
When it comes to setting a standard for 2021, I want to make sure that I’m regularly making time and creating space for reflection with God. I don’t want to go through this year on autopilot. Instead, I want to respond to life in a fully integrated way. I want to do what is pleasing and honoring to God. I want my heart to beat for the things his beats for. I want my year to be characterized by reflection and repentance, what about you?
Matthew 5-7 records a great sermon by Jesus. He gets into people’s business. He doesn’t pull any punches in this sermon. Today, I want to continue journeying through Matthew 6. Verses 19-24 are really famous because Jesus discussed money and how we are to use it. As you read through these verses, I encourage you to read them through the lens of reflection and repentance and see what you discover.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV)
When I read through these verses as I was planning and preparing this series, I couldn’t help but wonder, how can we understand where our treasure is if we don’t take time to reflect?
To me, reflection and repentance are woven into these verses. We can’t know where our treasure is or where our hearts are if we don’t take the time to check in with ourselves. Our money, time, and energy can get pulled in directions we didn’t want or intend them to go if we’re not careful. Regular examination with the Lord can help us course-correct if we have treasured someone or something more than him.
What is your standard for reflecting in 2021?
I don’t want to be on autopilot this year. I don’t want to treasure people or things more than God. I don’t want my attention and affection to be divided between two masters—I want to be fully devoted to God. But I also know the propensity of my heart to go after anything and everything other than God. If I am to treasure God above all else, then I need to routinely take the time to reflect with God and then respond however he leads me to.
Regularly reflecting with God is counter-cultural, but I think this is a beautiful opportunity for us to set ourselves apart for his glory.
What is God saying to you about reflecting?
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