“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
It’s 2020, let the vision jokes, puns & metaphors begin. All joking aside, a new year is a threshold we cross that inspires many of us to examine how well we’re doing.
Paul wrote about self-examination. It’s a great practice, not just for the new year, but with each new day.
New years resolutions are self-examinations of how we’re doing regarding the outward man. Paul is urging self-examination of the inward.
What does a spiritual examination look like? How do we do it? What do we look for? Paul specifically states, “whether ye be in the faith.” Let’s look to the scriptures for God’s answer to this important question. Since we’re to ‘PROVE’ ourselves, there must then be things we (& others) can see regarding our faith.
5 Things to examine about our FAITH. This is just my list; you search the scriptures to find what else God says on the matter.
FIDELITY: How loyal are we toward God, His church, His doctrine [2John 9]? Do we believe in the ONE church as spoken of in Eph 4:4? Do we attend as we ought [Heb 10:25-26]? Are we giving with regularity and purpose in our hearts [1Cor 16:1-2; 2Cor 9:6]?
APTITUDE: How good are you at handling aright the word of God? Do we study as we ought [2Tim 2:15]? Are we able to teach it [Heb 5:12]? It’s called a sword; can we wield it properly & accurately with love [Eph 6:17; 4:15]?
Do you cry out for the study of God’s word as a newborn baby cries for her milk?
“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” [Proverbs 2:3-5; 1Peter 2:2]
INFLUENCE: How well am I at leading others to good works?
“in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,” [Titus 2:7] How well do I do at edification of the saints?
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
TELLING the Good News: Jesus told the man released of the legion to, “tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,” how well are we doing? [Mark 5:19]
Are we looking at the field that is “white unto harvest?” [John 4:35] Are we looking for that honest, seeking heart?
“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” [Mark 4:20]
Do people see us as people of hope, in the midst of struggles, that want to ask us about that hope?
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Peter 3:15]
Or do they only hear about how bad people are, how bad life is and how bad we have it in life?
HOPE: Let’s examine our own hope of salvation. Are we living in fear & doubt? Are we uncertain of our salvation? Do we believe that we can be saved?
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [1John 5:13]
Too many are doubting and this doubt leads to apathy and a negative influence on the rest of us. If we’re in doubt about our salvation then examining of self is in order. We can take the necessary steps of repentance. We have the assurance from God that He will forgive the Christian that will confess her sins. [1John 1:9]
Paul finishes by assuring us, “But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” [vs6] May we each discover an ever-growing faith within us.