Does ‘endless naval-gazing’ have the power to change us?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image

from one degree of glory to another. 2 Cor 3.18

“We are all hoping for change and progress, Christian and non-Christian alike.  In contrast to our culture’s unabashedly self-exalting approach to personal perfectibility, serious Christians are intent on something more than merely ‘getting it together.’  We are hoping instead for growth in godliness, or what is commonly referred to as sanctification.  Rather than seek a quick fix, we look inward, at our own sinfulness.  We diligently practice confession and repentance.  We are encouraged to examine ourselves, to search out sin and unbelief.

Although we are commanded to tackle sin in this way, there is a problem here too.  If we focus too narrowly on our failures and never take our eyes off ourselves, we can become mired in our endless naval-gazing, and, even as Christians, simply looking at ourselves doesn’t have the power to transform us.  If we keep our eyes riveted on ourselves, even as we routinely practice confession and repentance, we will stay bogged down with the same old sins.  We need to set our eyes on something beyond ourselves or our failures.  We need to glimpse something that is more powerful.  We need to see Jesus Christ and the transforming glory of God.”

Counsel from the Cross

Elyse Fitzpatrick

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