Day 30 – Cardio Training

In this section we are looking at Hebrews 12:1-3. We talked about how the enemy wants to keep us from experiencing the full and abundant life of a disciple by primarily trying to keep us discouraged and self-focused. We saw how faith helps us to stay encouraged as we trust in the Lord. This week we are going to look at Hebrews 12:2-3 and I am going to be talking to you about something called the Examen of Consciousness.

Scripture Reading

2 Corinthians 13:5 (MSG)
5 Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.

The Examen of Consciousness was taught by Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). He believed it helped people align with God’s will and look for God in all things, including nature, scripture, and one’s own heart. He encouraged people to practice the Examen at the end of every day. It is a spiritual discipline that helps us to live by doing the next right thing by taking time at the end of every day to examine how the day went.

As we get started we remember that we are back in the throne room where we started our day with Jesus who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

There in the presence of God, in the Most Holy Place, start to look back on the events of the day.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Take a few moments to give thanks for all of the ways that God has moved in your life throughout the day. Recall the smell of your morning coffee, the laugh of a child, the playfulness of your pets, the conversation you had with your family. Remember that every single event has been a gift from God.

3. Ask for God’s help

John 16:13 (NIV)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Ask God to help you look clearly at the events of your day. Ask God to help you look at yourself fearlessly and honestly. This is not a “beat up on yourself” session. It is a grace filled look at how you did as a disciple that day.

4. Run the tape of your day

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?

Watch your day like a movie replaying in your mind. Look for the opportunities you embraced where the Kingdom of God broke through into the day impacting you and others. Consider where you missed opportunities to experience the full and abundant life of a disciple because of discouragement, distraction, selfishness, busyness.

5. Talk with God

Have a heart-to-heart talk with God. Share what you have discovered about yourself, others, and God. Resolve with Jesus to move forward in action where appropriate.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The Serenity Prayer is a helpful way to conclude the Examen.

God, grant me the serenity
 to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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