In reading the accounts of the birth of our Lord Jesus and the birth of St. John the Baptist, in the Gospel of St. Luke 1-3, the following key messages are highlighted:
Joy and Gladness
Salvation, Redemption, Savior
God remembered His holy covenant
Repentance, Remission of sins
St. John the Baptist came to prepare the way of salvation: Christ, Himself. He came to shed light on the people’s sins and to invite everyone to repentance, and by doing that, he revealed Christ to them. Now you may ask, how do I shed light on my sins today? To what standard do I hold myself? What mirror should I be using for a reflection?
In the time of St. John, the tax collectors would say, I’m only taking an extra 10%, I am surely better than my friend who is collecting an extra 20%. St. John said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Then there were the soldiers who abused their powers, and accused others falsely for their own profit. St John said to them “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
Figuring out how to examine ourselves brings to mind this verse, "For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12
We do not want to be unwise in examining our ways based on our own standards or standards of the world or even our friends. So, these verses also come to mind, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Psalm 119:9,10
When we examine our ways, we look at our Lord as the model for life. The Ten Commandments are the basic description of who Christ is. Our Lord started His mission by giving us the Christian Standard in the "Sermon on the Mount". The Sermon on the Mount is a description of Himself. The apostles described Christ to us in their letters when they wrote commandments of love, humility and unity. The commandments are our true mirror by which we see how God meant us to be and we can see how we’ve fallen short of God’s plan for us.
Step back, and take the time to sincerely and deeply search you heart, your manners, your intentions, and your actions. Use the link to the article below as a guide to your self examination.
So, you really want the message of the good news and everlasting joy?
Live a life of repentance! Reflect on His commandments and use them as your mirror, and you will receive joy, gladness, and salvation for your souls.