“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
1 Corinthians 10:12
The art of reflection is not a common phenomenon in many people’s lives, at least not in the fast-paced world that we have become in recent years. With lifestyles focused on today and now, the thought of taking time to look back on issues is never close to one’s priorities. Life is too fast, too quick, and as such, people want things done now and now – without thinking through the foundation that their actions are based on, or at least the results thereafter.
According to Wikipedia, “Reflection is the change in direction of a wave front … so that the wave front returns into the medium from which it originated.”
“A reflection is a thought or writing about something, particular in the past, or what one sees when looking into a mirror or body of water,” notes “www.yourdictionary.com.”
Further, a reflection is a “serious thought or consideration,” as outlined at www.bing.com.
Following the descriptions above, and in order to inform this article, I would want us to look at reflection as a “serious and intentional thought process that considers one’s past in preparation for the future.”
Before Paul asked the Corinthian Church who thought that they stood firm and were stable in their faith to take heed lest they fall, he had previously reminded them about their ancestors long ago in the wilderness. He pointed out specific things that had happened to them. Some of the reminders included:
- All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them;
- All of them walked through the sea on dry ground;
- All of them were baptized as followers of Moses;
- All of them ate the same spiritual food;
- All of them drank the same spiritual water; and
- God was not pleased with most of them. (See 1 Corinthians 10:1-5).
The above lessons, warnings, and examples were documented for not only the good of the Corinthian church, but also for our own good – that we may learn from them. After all that had happened to the Israelites – God walking with them and supernaturally providing for them and protecting them – He was still not pleased with some of them. The lessons are to prepare us in our way of life so that we do not displease God.
According to the Message Version of the Bible,
“These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (Message Bible)
Earlier in Chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians, Paul had talked to the Corinthian church and admonished them on how to remain firm in their faith. He had given them an example of how an athlete has to do all that it takes so as to win the race. He also gave them an example of his own life.
Essentially, Paul, was calling upon the Corinthians to take a reflective path in their lives; to look at their origins, and to turn back on the path they had followed as believers so as to amend in any ways that were not right before God, thus marching forth in maturity in their faith. He was calling on them to transform their lives.
The same Paul called upon the church in Rome – pleading and urging them to become living sacrifices for God. As he did this, he noted that it was not possible for the Romans to attain this status unless they stopped conforming to the old ways of life, and embraced a new way of life by being transformed. The Bible records that:
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
Romans 12:2 (Amplified Classic Bible)
In order for transformation to take place, a reflective attitude has to be embraced. As mentioned earlier, we all live in a fast-paced world – patience is a value that is running out so quickly, even among believers. However, for you and I, the Lord God calls us to transform ourselves so as to know his perfect will for us. For this to happen, we’ve got to stop conforming, and for us to stop conforming, we’ve got to take an account of what areas we are conforming in – we have to reflect back on our past lives – our entire lifestyles.
What attitudes and behaviours have you carried from your past life? What have you embraced in this fast-paced life that makes you not afford to give God his time, because you feel time constrained? Consider your prayer life. Consider your friends. Consider your worship. Consider your thanksgiving. Consider your thought life. Consider your music. Consider your words. Consider your favourite TV programmes and movies. Consider your dressing. Consider everything – take a reflective gear! What has this world (this age) rubbed unto you? What have you adapted that is drawing you back and derailing you from knowing and living in the perfect will of God?
It is only after a reflection on the above (and as the Spirit leads), that one can now be transformed, changed and renewed.
In the process of reflection, the Lord reveals not only what needs to be changed – he also brings into remembrance the things that He has done, thus causing a spirit of thanksgiving.
In Psalm 103, King David, called upon his soul not to forget what God had done for him – in other words, he had to reflect and remember. He remembered that:
- God had forgiven all his iniquities,
- He had healed all his diseases,
- He had redeemed his life from destruction,
- He had crowned him with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
- He had satisfied his mouth with good things – so that his youth was renewed like the eagle’s.
King David chose to remember; he chose to reflect. It is upon his reflections as documented in Psalm 103, that he calls on the God’s angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, and heed the voice of His word, to bless the Lord. He further calls on all God’s hosts, His ministers, who do His pleasure, to bless the Lord. And finally, he calls on all God’s works to bless the Lord in all places of His dominion.
As we draw to the close of the year, I urge us to call into remembrance the benefits of the Lord upon our lives. Like David, I personally choose to remember what God has done for me this year (and years before), so that as I enter into 2019, I am not grumbling over what I did not accomplish. I choose to have faith and confidence in God who did, knowing that He will do yet again. God gave me health – He healed me over and over again; he provided for me – satisfying my mouth with good things so that my youth is renewed like an eagle’s. God has seen one of my sons through to the completion of form four. God has grown me spiritually, God has enlarged my circle of faith-based friends! God has opened great doors for ministering His word through writing and speaking engagements. God has done great things for me in 2018, and the year is not yet over! I bless His Name!
What has God done for you? Reflect and lay a foundation for your transformation.
Transformation is engineered by reflection. This article calls on you, dear reader, (and I), to engage a reflective gear on our lifestyles. By the grace of God, we have a powerful tool of reflection in the Word of God. I invite you to join me as we mirror ourselves in God’s Word so as to see the areas in which we have conformed. thus transforming ourselves so as to be able to walk and work in God’s perfect will for us.
“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
James 1:23-25 (NLT)