“You are here,” is a key sign when you look at a map. Although it’s important to find the location of your destination, it is equally important to assess where you currently are so that you then can create a roadmap to reach your destination.
Similarly, before creating a roadmap to journey closer to your spiritual goals, it’s important to stop and assess where you currently may be.
While we must “examine ourselves” on a weekly basis, the wisdom of pausing to reflect over the spiritual highs and lows and patterns of the year is taught through God’s feasts. And even though we are no longer under the law of Moses, nor keep the feasts then prescribed, God’s principle of reflecting over the year still rings true.
Once a year, the blowing of trumpets began a succession of reflection and feasting that concluded the growing season and began the new year. The first step in the process was the Day of Atonement. During this time, the children of Israel were to solemnly reflect on how they had fallen short of God’s glory. They were to stop their work so that they could focus and humble themselves before God. But God didn’t leave them there. They had to recognize their sins, but God’s part was to free them from their sins! This was symbolized in the two goats which pointed forward to the work that God’s own Son would come to do. Every fifty years, a Jubilee was proclaimed on the Day of Atonement to emphasize the freedom that God offers from sin.
Bringing the Day of Atonement principles forward into our life: we cannot underestimate the importance of personal introspection! It is to our own peril that we turn a blind eye on our shortcomings. And yet we can trust in the mercy of our Father that for every sin we humbly bring to light, He covers. In the greatness of His love, He removes our sins “as far as the east is from the west” when we humbly confess them to Him and repent.
Within five days the solemnness of the Day of Atonement was replaced with celebration and rejoicing. The focus shifted from the falling short of the people to the gifts and abundance of God. It was the end of harvest, and it was time to rejoice and be thankful for the abundance of fruit from God. They had planted it, but God gave the increase.
And so it is with us. The solemnness of self-examination must move on to a celebration of the blessings and spiritual bounty that God has been producing in our lives. If we are abiding in Christ, we will be bearing His peaceable fruits of righteousness. And God wants us to take time to rejoice in His spiritual harvest through us.
Next Week: Spiritual Goals Journal Part 3: Creating an Intentional Spiritual Roadmap