Reflective thinking is a learned skill that very few people have learned.
God’s goal for us is that we would become righteous and holy as He is. He will work on us, around us, and in us to make us like Himself, but there is a level of cooperation that we must bring to the process for what He does to work. That is why we are commanded in the Bible to pursue righteousness over and over again.
One of the most important things we need to do to grow in righteousness is to accurately and honestly evaluate who we are, where we are, what our flaws are, what blind spots do we have, what our motives are, and what is our character like. That evaluation of ourselves is called reflective thinking, it is looking in the mirror, as it were so that we can see our own heart.
This self-examination is not a morbid self-lothing, it is a result of our very strong desire to please Christ and to be like Him in character. As I said, very few followers of Jesus do this routinely as a discipline of life. The primary reason is because our flesh hates it. Our flesh ignores, justifies, blames, and denies our character flaws, we learned to do that as children and most have refined that skill ever since so that we have no clue who we really are on the inside.
Psalms 36:2 For it flatters him in his own eyes
concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.
Proverbs 21:2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
If I evaluate my level of pride on a scale of 1 to 100, and God does the same, how close will my evaluation be to His? It all depends; if I evaluate myself in cooperation with Him, asking for Him to open my eyes to see myself clearly, and with the desire to grow and become like Him, I believe they will be very close.
Jeremiah 17:10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind.
For me, the best time to think reflectively about who I am is when I have any relational conflict. My character flaws show up in my relationships. The natural tendency is to think I am right and others are at fault, but if I assume that tension, strife, hurt feelings, hurtful words, and irritation are my fault, and use that conflict to honestly examine my words, attitude, and behavior I will probably learn a lot about my character and heart.
Reflective thinking, how much do you do? How accurate is it?