We love in a culture of evaluation. From birth our height, weight, and developmental steps are monitored. In school we face standardized tests. One the job we have frequent evaluations. Constant self-improvement, from good to great to excellent, is our goal.
As a recovering legalist, I find this cultural obsession with evaluation can even affect how I practice spiritual disciplines. Am I improving in prayer and meditation? Are my disciplines advanced? Am I closer to God? Or at least am I ahead of other Christians who do not have the discipline I have?
A portion of the Bible that has spoken to me lately is Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 4:3, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.”
My temptation is to always be judging myself. Am I good enough? Have I done enough? Is my faith strong enough?
Being unaware of my failings would be spiritually unhealthy, but always wondering about spiritual health results in religious hypochondria. Paul reminds me that I can be certain of my spiritual health not because of what I do but because I have encountered the Great Physician, Jesus, who healed me once for all.
So I do not allow the judgment of others or even my own self-judgment to guide my life. Instead I trust in Jesus who did not come to judge but to save (John 3:17). This trust sets me free to love myself and others with the love God has for me.
This is the secret of the easy yoke that Jesus promised.