Take a quick scroll down your Facebook or Instagram feed on any given day and you’re sure to see dozens of selfies. Taking self-portraits seems to be one of this generation’s defining activities.
What if you could take a “spiritual selfie”? What if your next Instagram post skipped the picture of your smiling face and instead showed a picture of your heart? What would your spiritual selfie show? In a culture obsessed with external image, I have to constantly remind myself of the truth of 1 Samuel 16:7: “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Here are four questions you can ask yourself to take a spiritual selfie and evaluate the state of your heart and your relationship with God:
- What do I think about? In Mark 7:21, Jesus told us that “it is from within, from a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come….” If you are consistently struggling with sinful thoughts like jealousy, hatred, greed, slander or sexual immorality, the source of the problem isn’t your mind, it’s your heart.
- How do I spend my money? The way you spend your money can give you a pretty good idea of what is most important to you. Do you use your resources to serve God and others, or only to serve yourself? Luke 12:34 sums it up nicely: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- How do I spend my time? Just like your money, your time is a resource that you get to spend every day. If you kept a detailed journal of how you spent every one of your 10,080 minutes this week, what would you discover about how you spend your time? What would that journal tell you about what is really most important to you, about what your true priorities are?
- What words do I speak? Jesus said in Luke 6:45: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” The words you speak are the most reliable gauge of your heart. Do your words reflect heart issues like anger, selfishness, jealousy, bitterness or pride? Or do your words reflect the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
How did your spiritual selfie turn out?
Maybe you’re like me: After going through these questions and taking my spiritual selfie, I don’t like what I see. My heart is a mess of sin and struggle.
There’s good news. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Cleanse. Clean up my heart—my heart that I’ve discovered is in far worse shape than I realized. It reminds me of a prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51 when he asked God to “create a clean heart” within him.
We know that David, like all of us, had some pretty messy, sinful stuff happening in his life, and yet God called him a “man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).
Though he wouldn’t have called it a “spiritual selfie,” David really understood the value in humbly and honestly evaluating his own heart. So let’s follow his example and keep up the discipline of taking these spiritual selfies, asking for forgiveness where needed and trusting that Jesus is bringing good news to every dark corner of our hearts that needs a fresh start.