Reflective practice provides a way to learn from life experiences. It involves thinking about encounters with others, deciding how well or if they worked, and considering any life lessons you learned. Disciplines like teaching, medicine, and social work have long used reflective practice, and individuals like students and corporate professionals have also discovered its benefits.
As a habit, reflective practice provides a system for continual improvement both for individuals and groups/organizations. For Christians, this practice presents an avenue for growing spiritually and strengthening one’s faith.
At its heart, reflection is self-examination. Even when its purpose is for the greater good of a group of people, individual examination plays an essential role.
The Bible gives some specific directions for how Christians should do regular self-examination.
“I remember the days of old. I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” (Psalm 143:5)
“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
We need to regularly remember what God has done both throughout mankind’s existence and in our own lives. Spending time thinking about his activity not only keeps us focused on the big picture of redemption but also helps us see that plan at work uniquely in our own lives.
One of the most essential elements of reflection is remembering. We’re told throughout the Bible to remember what God has done for his people. We’re encouraged to focus on his activity in our lives, not our sin and not any imaginations about us overcoming it on our own in any way.
When we grasp this bigger picture, we can better see God at work in our hearts and minds. This shows in growing faith and activity that reflects Jesus. We are to regularly assess our progress toward perfection and to keep focused on God’s plan and purpose uniquely and universally.
Vision and Reflection
The Bible tells us to have vision based on God’s guiding will as communicated in his word while also helping us to track God’s activity in our lives. This requires times of praise as we thank him for all he’s done, is doing, and will do, for who he is, and for his grace and mercy.
We also need regular times in prayer where we reflect on his communicated vision and how it might – or might not – exist in our lives. Times spent immersed in his word in ways that help us test our lives against God’s truth is also essential.
Praise, prayer, and Bible study are all avenues for reflection that we need to make sure our faith stays grounded in God’s word. They’re needed for genuine faith and for our lives to reflect Jesus.