Romans 12: 2-3
In last Wednesday’s devotional, entitled “Free Light Shows – and More!”, I talked about the many free blessings of nature God gives us, and how His greatest gift to us is His grace.
In reference to the “free light shows” that God gives us, St. Augustine had an interesting observation:
Men are struck with wonder at the peaks of mountains, by the mighty waves of the sea, the sweep of rivers and the tides of the oceans, as well as the passage of the night stars across the heavens, yet they consider not themselves.
Beyond the light shows, there is the need for introspection – to look inside of ourselves, to understand ourselves, to correct and purify ourselves – to look at both the grandeur and the corruption of the human mind and heart.
Paul wrote of such an exercise in Romans 12: 2-3:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
What should we be introspective about? What searching of ourselves should be undertake? St. Augustine had more to say on this topic at one time or another. Here are a few of his sayings for you to meditate upon as you search yourself:
Love is the beauty of the soul.
Patience is the companion of wisdom.
Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.
Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.
I see wisdom in St. Augustine’s sayings, wisdom that we would do well to contemplate individually and collectively. Do you possess love, patience and humility in abundant measure? Do you harbor resentment and resist forgiving? Are you so comfortable with your habits that they dominate you, rather than having your soul guided by the Holy Spirit?
These are some of the questions of introspection. I pray you will take them to heart this week, looking at yourself while also looking to the Spirit for guidance, wisdom and self-control. As St. Augustine also said:
This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
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