Summary: Consider where you have been, where you are going, what you are doing there, when will you come home to Christ?
How many of you have dreamed of growing wise and mature? Maturity and development seem to be two of the most necessary traits of human beings and also two of the most neglected after childhood. We hear many things on this subject such as girls mature faster than boys but what about when people reach the age of adulthood. We must continue to mature and grow so that we can pass on wisdom and truth to the next generation. We have great respect for those we perceive as mature and wise. Most of you have great respect for John Martin over here. He has grown in his understanding of Scripture and in maturity as a believer. How many of you would like to grow up and be mature like that? Yet, there are many people who grow old physically but never mature. At age 70 they are still acting and thinking as though they were 30, complaining about the same things and fighting the same fights for 40 years. None of us want to grow old like that. How do we grow old and mature then? I believe that answer is found in God’s creation of water.
God has created some wonderful and awesome pieces of nature. I find water to be one of the most fascinating of His creation. Water is one of the rare elements that expands when it freezes instead of shrinking. Water is also one of the most abundant chemical compounds in the world so much so that even our own bodies are primarily made of water. Water also has some of the greatest capacity to dissipate heat which makes our bodies very good at handling heat. Still water can also serve as a mirror as well. God made a natural mirror in which we can see our reflection. What do you normally see in a mirror when you look? You probably see yourself first and foremost but also you can see your surroundings behind and around you. God must have had a reason to create a natural mirror. I wonder if we are supposed to reflect on what’s happening in our lives.
God himself reflected on His creation by saying in Genesis 1:25 that all the land and animals he had created “was good.” Then, in verse 31, once he had finished creating man, He said it was “very good.” God reflected on all He had done and approved of it. I would say that we too need to reflect on our lives. Haggai 1:3-11 speaks about this very subject to the Jewish people who had come back to the land of Israel from Babylon. God calls the people to “consider their ways.” They had forgotten about God and His temple for almost 14 years at this point and God finally sent someone to get their attention. I will tell you the same thing Haggai said to the Jews, “Consider Your Ways!” Reflect on what you are doing and what is going on around you and learn. However, before you can do this, you might want to know what I mean by reflecting.
Considering How to Consider:
This may be a first time lesson to some of you and an all too familiar one to many others. The process of reflection consists of a few stages. First, you examine the current aspects of your life. This may take a little time as you think about different areas of your life such as how you are treating your children and spouse, how you are doing at work, am I living like I am supposed to, and many others that may come up. Ask questions about your life or a situation you are in. How should I handle this? Instead of just reacting to a situation, you can calmly sit down and think out what to do. So, in the case of reading your Bible, you could say, “So, this is what God is saying. Why did God say that I should be careful how I judge? Does the text tell me? How does this affect my life?”
After you have thought about your life or situation and understand what is happening as best as you can, then you should separate the facts from the fiction. It is easy to get emotional and feel like a total failure with no hope of ever fixing the situation. We can get carried away with anger towards someone or bitterness about what someone did without ever really understanding the situation. For instance, I had one of you come to my office and ask me to apologize for something. I felt chewed but I had no idea for what. I seriously did not understand the problem and still don’t to this day but as I was reflecting on the episode later in the day I realized that it was just an over-protective family member expressing themself and that I should just let it go. Now, understanding that and doing that are two different things but reflecting allowed me to separate my feelings from logic and come to a careful conclusion.