Saturday, August 6, 2016

Doing Self-Examinations - Martin Wiles

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

Examinations can be disturbing or self-assuring.

Most doctors suggest routine examinations. After all, the body begins to deteriorate as we age, and some things just naturally happen and are common among humans. Bones get more brittle. Eyesight deteriorates. Skin thins. Joints wear out. Certain types of cancer seem to show up by certain ages, so various scans and procedures are recommended. Fifty is often the dreaded number. 

During a typical examination, doctors do similar things: check the lungs, listen to the heart, test the reflexes, poke around on the stomach, feel the neck, check the pulse, measure the blood pressure, take blood samples, and schedule procedures. 

Abnormalities in any of these areas could signal more serious concerns. Some choose not to visit doctors and never suffer any health concerns. Others decide on regular check-ups and discover things that could have been life threatening had they been neglected. And if a person has had certain types of health issues, the doctor may suggest they execute periodic self-examinations. 

Paul makes two imperative statements: examine yourselves and test yourselves. Imperative sentences give commands or directions, or make strong suggestions. His concern deals with a life-threatening situation: whether or not one is in the faith. 

A good self-examination will determine whether or not I’ve made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Am I in the faith? Have I asked Him to forgive my sins? Do I obey Him wholeheartedly? Is His mission mine?

Self-examination will also investigate how I feel when I sin. Does it bother me, or do I pass it off as just a human mistake—something not to be overly concerned about. Do I imagine God will merely overlook it?

When I self-examine, I should consider why I do what I do—my priorities. What motivates my good deeds and actions toward others? Is it selfishness? Am I pandering after recognition? Or do I serve because I love with a sacrificial love as God does?

Self-examination will also reveal how I feel about sin in general. Evidence of it saturates my everyday life. Media sources shove it in my face continuously. Have I built up immunity against it, or do wicked and immoral actions still shock and concern me?

Get in the habit of performing regular self-examinations under the guiding hand of God’s Spirit. You might be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by what you uncover.

Prayer: Father, prompt us to regularly examine ourselves to discover where we are in our faith walk with You.

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