Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test.
2 Corinthians 13.5
Self-examination is a good and helpful exercise providing that it is done in the light of Biblical criteria. If this is not the basis of such an exercise, the result is likely to be one of self-satisfaction, for as fallen human beings we are very good at convincing ourselves that we are in the best of spiritual health when the reality might be quite different. Alternatively such an examination on our own criteria can too easily result in feeling of despair as we realise how far short we come of the standards we know, deep down, to be right.
Paul in writing to the church at Corinth nails the examination down to just one area which translates for the individual (you and me) to the question ‘am I in the faith?’. When did you last apply that test to yourself? It is a good question to ask and a good test to apply before the New Year gets any older!
One way of applying the test is to ask the question ‘What evidence is there in my life that I am in Christ and that Christ is in me?’ To what extent is it obvious to my family, my friends, my work colleagues, my fellow students, those I meet at the gym, those with whom I worship on a Sunday, indeed to anyone, that I am in the faith?
It is a challenging and humbling question and answering it requires a level of honesty which will be quite difficult to apply.
Let me set before you, and indeed before myself, some indicators as to whether we ‘meet the test’.
What place does God’s Word have in my daily life?
What place does prayer both individually and with others have in my daily life?
How eager am I to meet with God’s people within the opportunities that my church offers – Growth Group, Prayer Meetings, Sunday Services (yes the last word is in the plural!)?
What do those I meet regularly see in me that marks me out from others, for surely if Jesus Christ is in me then it must be obvious? You cannot be indwelt by the Saviour of the world without it showing.
How do I respond to the ups and downs that life throw at me on a daily basis?
As we noted in an earlier blog Jesus says ‘Fear not’ and ‘Do not be anxious’ is such quiet confidence to be seen in me?
Am I bringing the light of Christ into this ever darkening world?
Am I being salt? This is perhaps the most difficult of the above tests to understand so I refer you to the following article to be found at https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/salt-earth,
There is much to think about as we examine ourselves, and doing so has the potential to revive us as individuals and a church to impact the society in which God has placed us to proclaim Jesus. Will you ‘Look In’ before the New Year ceases to be new, be honest as you apply the test and address those areas where you are failing, for none of us is perfect!
But bringing our failings to God and seeking his forgiveness will transform our lives and the lives of others as he works in us.
As we examine ourselves why not pray David’s prayer of Psalm 139.23-24
Search me O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.