Examine Your Experiences
“Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it …. Do you not realize by an ever increasing experience that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP)
An unexamined experience is worthless.
There are people who are 50 years old who haven’t lived 50 years. They’ve lived one year 50 times. They’re still making the same mistakes, because they never stop and extract the lessons. They never stop to ask, “What happened in this last year, and what can I do differently so that I am living life better?”
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it …. Do you not realize by an ever increasing experience that Jesus Christ is in you?” (AMP)
What does that mean? It means you take some time to review the experiences of your life, and you look for two things:
Look for benefits. What did you really enjoy in your life? Don’t just say, “I really enjoyed that job.” Ask, “What was it about that job that I really loved?” Don’t just say, “I really liked that class.” Ask, “What exactly about that class did I like? Why was it so fulfilling to me?” You’ll get little clues about where you should be headed with your life.
Look for patterns. Particularly, you want to look for patterns in your failure. Because when you fail, you do it the same way every time. So you look and say, “Where have I failed in the past? What are the patterns that I keep repeating?” You don’t look at it to beat yourself up but because you want to be different. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. This was the problem with the Israelites. Their trip to the Promised Land should have only taken four weeks, not 40 years. But they refused to learn from their experiences and God’s tests. Each failed test meant one more lap around the desert.
The Bible says in Job 32:7, “The longer you live, the wiser you become” (MSG). That verse is a possibility, not a promise. I know a lot of people who are old and dumb. Wisdom does not automatically come with age. Maturity is when you extract meaning from the everyday experiences of life.
The amazing thing about the school of experience is this: One, if you fail the test, it’s OK. You get to take it over — and over and over and over until you pass it. Second, just about the time you think you’ve graduated, they add another course. You will be in that school the rest of your life.
Talk It Over
What are the experiences in the last year that you can learn from?
What is the evidence of maturity and wisdom in your life?
by Rick Warren
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