Self-Examination: Part I

 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:3; 3:24; 5:3)

Jesus constantly probed the conscience and examined the heart of those He encountered.  He still desires to help us see ourselves as seen by the Father. The appeal extended in the text is for us to examine ourselves as to whether we are “in the faith.” Since there is no issue more vital than determining whether we are in the faith, let’s begin.

Test number one: “Do you keep His commands?” (2:3).

It is not enough just to know the language, we must live the life. Four times in the opening verses of I John the author refers to a person who says one thing and does another: I John 1:6, 8, 10, and 2:4.

First a word of caution. You will never be able to do this by imitation. It must be by incarnation.

Sir Walter Scott warned us of the urgency of destroying the seed of a deed before it sprouts and flowers with these words:

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive!”

Obedience results from one of three stimuli:

We have to. A slave has no choice.

We need to. An employee obeys because he needs to. He may not really want to obey, but he does want the rewarding pay that results. We all need what results from obedience — God’s blessings.

We want to. We have matured in the faith when: “His commandments are not burdensome.” (I John 5: 3)

Assurance comes through obedience to His will. This is inner loving submission. The second “know” in the text is perfect tense meaning to know Him by experience. That experience results in obedience.

The word “keep” was used of a sentry walking his post. It means to watch over so as to guard the commands of Christ. It is in the present tense meaning this should be the habit of one’s life. This obedience is to be habitual action.

The person who “keeps his word” (verse 5) is one in whom God’s love is “perfected”. Again this is a verb in the perfect tense meaning to bring a thing to a desired end or goal. Proof that we are “in the faith” is that the love of God is in us. This love results in us keeping His commands. We are therefore obedient.

Pause now and evaluate how you can improve on your walk with Him.