Advent 10 - Search Me, O God

DAY 10 - Search Me, O God
Isaiah 1:16-18 

Repentance is a gift, not a grief. Jesus and John the Baptist stand in a long line of Hebrew prophets calling God’s people to turn back to God’s ways. Isaiah called people to look at themselves and change. His mission was not to condemn people but to help people make things right. Whether it’s taking our first steps toward Jesus through baptism, or just freshening up, the point is to turn to Jesus for help. God calls us to prepare for Jesus’s arrival, examine ourselves, and change.

How do we examine ourselves?

There are many helpful tools in Christian tradition. One tool made popular by Jesuit Christians is the Examen. The Examen helps people review their day, or even their whole life, with a series of reflection questions. Another tool is an Examination of Conscience which is more focused on finding how we’re aligned, or misaligned, with God’s ways.

The following four questions are a little of both. These are best used near the end of your day. Take about 1-3 minutes thinking about each question. The goal is to approach God with the prayer of Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” You might even pray that simple prayer before thinking about each question.

Today we know Jesus through his Holy Spirit, but one day we’ll meet the Lord face to face. One day, our lives will evaluated. One day, we will be judged. We don’t have to be afraid of self-examination or turning to Jesus for help. Our judge laid down his life to help us pass the exam. Remember God’s promise in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Remember, repentance is a gift, not a grief.

REFLECT
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

How have I loved God today?
How have I loved others today?
How have I failed to love God today?
How have I failed to love others today?

PRAY
Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation. Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. AMEN.

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