Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 13, 1969

Article Of The Month


Take A Good Look Jerry Parks, Youngstown, Ohio 44511

The new year is well on the way. I suppose that by now, everyone has examined his or her life and has made certain resolutions for the months that lie ahead. It is commendable that people are interested in self improvement, but far too often it is just a matter of tradition. Self improvement should be a continuous endeavor, not something that we think about during the first week of the year. As was indicated by the title, I want us to take a GOOD look at ourselves. I want us to look at ourselves from every possible viewpoint. Notice some of the various ways that we can view our lives.

I. Retrospectively (Looking Back On The Past)

What have we accomplished for the Lord in the past year? Has it been a year of service and total involvement in the work of the Lord? All of us have grown a year older physically, but what about spiritually? Have we become more mature spiritually? Has there been any spiritual development in our lives in the past twelve months? I'm sure we will all admit that we could have done more.

2. Prospectively (Looking To The Future)

Seeing the things that were done, or not done, in the past year, should cause us to resolve to do more in the year that lies ahead. How can we improve in 1969? Self improvement will come only as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. As we study and grow, this will cause us to have a stronger desire to lead others to Christ. It will cause us to be more dedicated to his service.

3. Introspectively (Looking Inward)

Others can look backwards for you and tell you what you should have done or what you shouldn't have done. Others can look ahead for you and tell you what you should do in the future; but nobody can look INWARD for you. This is something you must do for yourself. Only you can tell how strong your faith really is. Only you can know how much you really love the Lord. Only you can know what your true motives are for serving the Lord. Let everyone examine his own heart.

4. Observantly (As Others Observe Us)

It is not at all difficult for us to observe others and see their faults, but it is a difficult thing for us to see our own faults. We are prone to minimize our faults. What do others see in us when we fail to attend on Sunday night and on Wednesday night? Sometimes we wonder why we aren't successful at leading others to Christ. Maybe we don't leave a very good impression. Let's try to see ourselves as others see us.

5. Collectively (As A Congregation)

I believe there are several ways that we could improve as a congregation. I believe that our worship could be improved if we would make our assemblies more orderly. Much of the talking and commotion before services begin could and should be eliminated. Remember, we are assembling to worship almighty God. This requires that we be in the right frame of mind. Our children should not be permitted to roam about before services begin. Let's all try to make our services more orderly.

Before the work of the congregation will be accomplished, the spirit of cooperation must be present. We must work together as a team. Paul said there is one body but many members. Therefore the spirit of cooperation is essential.

I hope and pray that we may never become weary in well doing, but that we may always abound in the work of the Lord. — From Emerald Evangel, January, 1969 It is not difficult for us to observe others and see their faults, but it is a difficult thing for us to see our own.