The Art of Self-Examination – Part Two

“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)” verse 5.  II Corinthians 13:1 – 5

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

If so, your new life had its birth in an atmosphere of faith, it lives by trusting in God as your body does by breathing. Does Jesus dwell in you? If so, your life is bearing the “fruit of the Spirit.” To know yourself is to rehearse for the judgment day.

To fail to engage in self-examination is to be subject to creeping indifference and forgetfulness. It will allow unconscious gradual but growing spiritual decay.

Are you in the faith? If so, prove yourself. To “prove” is to test, to try, to be subject to a test.

Scriptural self-examination is the only sure way to avoid self-deception. It is not an option; it is a divinely commanded responsibility. Don’t let your self-examination be superficial, the purpose is to probe your heart to the very bottom. Don’t fear exposing yourself to your own eyes. Seek the help of the Lord in doing this reconnaissance. Pray with the Psalmist: “Search me and try me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Self-searching and Scripture-seeking must be carried on at the same time. In this way you have the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. Examine yourself by a standard unseen but real – Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this self-examination relates to whether you “are in the faith.” Are you decidedly more than an indifferent cold assenting receiver of Christian doctrine? It is possible for a person to be and at the same time in spirit opposed to all heavenly conduct. All professors are not possessors. Jesus told us wheat and tares grow together. Even in the ark of Noah there was a disbelieving and disobedient son named Ham. There was a disbelieving Ishmael in the family of Abraham and a profane Esau in the household of Isaac.

When engaging in self-examination keep these things in mind:

Don’t deal merely with external conduct. If this were the only basis, a well regarded hypocrite might exonerate himself.

Don’t examine yourself in light of what others think of you. We will have a tendency to take flattery for fact and criticism will produce a defensive mood. Cool, deliberate independent self-examination is the standard.

Don’t overlook slight symptoms. In medical science these often save the patient’s life.

Remember the purpose of self examination is not to condemn yourself, but to let Jesus put you on a correction course so that you may enjoy your salvation.