At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; But the Lord weigheth the spiritsProverbs 16:2
One of the great challenges for Christians in this sinful world is the challenge of getting a right perspective on yourself. Having a correct view of oneself is something that we are called to, and it seems clear that having an accurate view of your own limitations would be a desirable thing indeed. The apostle Paul tells us that we should understand ourselves. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).
And even though he calls us to this right understanding, he makes sure that we also understand that having nothing against yourself is not an automatic guarantee of anything. “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor. 4:4, ESV).
We should evaluate ourselves with a sober judgment. We should make sure that we are not in any way flattering ourselves. We should know our duty to have confessed all known sin—we should have a clean conscience. But even with a clean conscience it is possible for us to be self-deceived in some respect.
And self-deception is a true oddity. How is possible for one part of our brain to tell a whopper to another part of our brain, and to have the second part of the brain buy it? And yet it happens. Scripture tells us not to be self-deceived. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).
Our proverb says that every man sees things his own way. The people who have it right do so, and the people who have it wrong do so. Everyone looks out at the world through their own eyeballs. So what can we do about this? The proverb concludes with the stone cold reality that the objective truth about ourselves resides . . . outside ourselves.
Fortunately, God has given us a mirror by which we can see ourselves. And as the example provided by James shows, we must resort to this mirror constantly. This is why fruitful Christians are, by definition, people who are in the Word.
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23–25).