Reflection and the Christian Life

Reflection and the Christian Life

The Unexamined life is not worth living.
~Socrates

white background with sunburst mirror; Emmanuel Church logo at the bottom; with blog post title "Reflection and the Christian Life;" this is about self reflection as a Christian

The Unexamined life is not worth living.
~Socrates
Time flashes by people these days, and self-reflection grows increasingly scarce. Do people know themselves and why they do what they do? This is a question we can try to answer, but only God truly and completely knows.

Plato and Socrates were not Christians, although some scholars incorrectly believe that aspects of Christianity are based on their thoughts. In our quote today, we do see an overlap with Christian thinking.

The Christian life must be a life of self-examination and self-reflection. This is necessary to avoid sin, practice faith, and even develop in relationship with Christ. 2 Corinthians 13:5, for example, says “Examine yourself, to see whether you are in the faith” (ESV). 1 Corinthians 11:31 says, “But, if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.”

Peering into this even more deeply, 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” From this, it should be obvious that we cannot even be in right relationship with the Lord and correctly participate in Communion without first undergoing a process of self-examination.

So, self-examination, as Socrates makes clear, is crucial for life. He’s right about that. But, the reason or motive for self-examination differs between the Socratic school and Christianity.

In the Socratic school, self-examination is done for the self and to improve the self, as well as to develop the faculty of reason as an end in itself. By contrast, in Christianity, self-examination is done for the sake of the Lord and to improve our relationship with the Lord; it is done so that we may develop in grace and love for God and others.

I hope you truly understand this. Self-examination and self-reflection are essential to simply living a Christian life of service, one that has God and other people in mind. Without self-examination, we err toward God and err toward others.

The days of reason are long gone. The Golden Age of man is long gone, and so is the Bronze Age. The beauty of Hesiod, Plato, Virgil, and the ancients has faded. Mankind now exists squarely within the Technological Age or the Information Age.

The preservation of reason and self-reflection is important not only for the Academy, but also for everyday Christian life. God gave us the faculties of reason and self-reflection for the sake of our relationship with Him, and because we are created in His image. Let not God’s reflective light in your mind burn out.

3 Comments

  1. Ruthann Barton

    I like, “in Christianity, self-examination is done for the sake of the Lord and to improve our relationship with the Lord; it is done so that we may develop in grace and love for God and others.”

  2. Anonymous

    It is important for us to remember that we are created in God’s image as is says in Genesis 1:26 not in man’s image. What we should seek in life is not the intellect of man, but the wisdom of God so that we can be a reflection of his grace and mercy. He created us by design to have a relationship with the creator of heaven and earth. Once we really understand our purpose, His will for us will be lived out in ways we can’t even imagine.

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