The Art of Self-Examination – Part One

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless you are disqualified (false professors)”. II Corinthians 13:5

Jesus either is or is not in your life.

Jesus either is or is not in control of your life.

Examine yourself! Is He in? Is He in control?

Our text indicates the Corinthians had been engaged in an art at which most believers are most adapted. They were engaged in the examination of others, not themselves. Verse 4 forms a parenthesis in the text. They had been attempting to examine the life of Paul. Paul instead urges them to examine themselves.

In the text “yourselves” is emphatic both times it is used meaning “Yourselves be testing… yourselves be proving.”

Suppose someone were to say to you: “Prove to me that Jesus is in you.” Can you do it? Prove it.

As we engage in self-examination on this occasion, I want to appeal to you not to make it morbid. A miner doesn’t look for dust and dirt, but gold. There may be a lot of dust and dirt equivalents in your life and if so they should be gotten out, but just now let’s search for the main load, the real gold, Jesus Christ.

Systematic self-examination for the purpose of correcting faults and gaining a perspective of one’s spiritual condition is a worthy ancient craft.

Paul’s contemporary, the Stoic Seneca, wrote of his habit in this regard: “When the day was over and Sextius had gone to his night’s rest, he used to ask his mind: ‘What bad habit of yours have you cured today? What vice have you resisted? In what respect are you better?’ Anger will cease and will be more moderate, when it knows it must daily face the judge. Could anything be more beautiful than this habit of examining the whole day? What a sleep is that which follows self-scrutiny! How calm, how deep and free, when the mind is either praised or admonished, when it has looked into itself, and, like a secret censor, makes a report upon its own moral state. I avail myself of this power, and daily try my own case.”

Our Puritan predecessors daily surveyed their lives. Under the dominance of the Holy Spirit they scrutinized their individual conduct. A calm, self-possessed character was the consequence.

If you determine to daily survey your life you will find how clever you are at hiding favorite pet undesirables in the recesses of your mind.

Now the question: “Are you in the faith?”