“But Let a Man Examine Himself”: 10 Questions to Ask Before Passover
If I’m not careful, my pre-Passover self-examination can take a sharp turn into unhealthy territory.
It’s so easy to see the failure. Where I am versus where I wanted to be. What I’ve overcome versus what I’m still struggling with. How much time I’ve had versus how much I’ve accomplished. A laundry list of weaknesses and inadequacies versus a few redeeming traits.
As Christians, we understand that growth is important. Growth is expected. We don’t sit where we are. We don’t bury the talent in the ground. God is expecting progress.
It doesn’t take much for self-examination to turn into self-flagellation.
Not good enough. Not far enough. Not strong enough. Not wise enough.
…But isn’t that the point?
The whole point of the Passover is to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). To honor and reflect on the sacrifice that paid the price for our inadequacies. What makes us think that, a year from now, we should be approaching this evening with all the kinks worked out?
We won’t. We can’t. That’s not how this works.
Yeah, growth is important. We should pay attention to it. We should make a it a goal. We should be periodically measuring ourselves against our own spiritual growth chart and taking note of the ways we’ve changed.
But we shouldn’t let it become the only thing that matters.
This evening that’s fast approaching—it exists because we can never be good enough. No amount of growth, no track record of progress is enough to qualify us to become sons and daughters of God. From a human standpoint, there’s only one way we can approach the Passover evening:
If you disagree, answer me this: What amount of growth will make you feel qualified to eat the bread? Exactly how much spiritual progress do you need to feel entitled to drink the cup?
Passover is about more than saying, “Last year I was this tall, but now I’m this tall.” That’s important, but it’s not what the evening is about. It’s not about who we are and how far we’ve come; it’s about who Christ is and what He did.
What He continues to do.
Christ’s sacrifice is what allows you to walk into the room on Passover. Nothing else ever could.
Still, if you’re like me, it’s easy to fixate on the shortcomings—the unrealistic expectations—the “if I was a better Christian I’d be at this level by now but I’m not”s. So instead, I’d like to offer you a handful of questions to incorporate into your self-examination this year. These aren’t questions that ask you to highlight how far you are from the goalpost you have in your mind—they’re questions to get you focused on the impact being a disciple of Jesus Christ has had in your life.
Over the course of the past year…
- What are some specific ways God has shown you His love?
- When have you been encouraged to “seek first the Kingdom?”
- What passages of the Bible speak to you differently than they used to?
- What moments made you grateful for God’s mercy?
- What moments brought you to a deeper appreciation for God’s Word?
- What scripture has offered you the most encouragement?
- When has God’s grace given you hope and perspective?
- What has been your biggest contribution to God’s Church?
- What has been the biggest blessing you’ve received from being part of God’s Church?
- What part of your relationship with God is more important to you now than it was before?
Hopefully, the picture you see in answering those questions isn’t a measurement of the distance between you and perfection. Hopefully, it’s a painting of the beautiful way of life we’re all doing our best to live—and maybe even a reminder of why we’re living it in the first place.
Until next time,
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