Thursday, August 18, 2011

10 +1 Reasons for the Christian to Examine Yourself (part 1)

When was the last time you went to have a physical? Okay maybe that isn't the best example; lots of us don't do that on a regular basis (hint, go for your annual physical).  Perhaps I should use as an example when was the last time you had your eyes examined?  Probably more frequently then the last time you examined your beliefs, your thoughts, your actions, to see if in fact they match up to your professed faith. 

So just why is it that I fail to take every opportunity to examine myself?  Is it because if I have my eyes examined, that's all I have to do?  I don't have to change anything, the doctor does that for me, she orders my new glasses or contacts, all I have to do is sit there and answer a couple questions regarding what I see (or more recently, don't see).  Give me a magic pill, and bam, my weight problem is solved, my face is lifted, my muscle mass is increased, I’m faster, stronger; instantaneous - that’s our idea of how to fix something.   

But if I examine myself in regards to my faith, what happens when I uncover a blemish, or worst yet a serious breach?  I can’t pay someone to fix me; I have to make the difficult choice to change. I have to align my walk to my talk?  That's just not something most of us want to face.  It's just easier to tell ourselves that we are a nice person, and so we must be okay.  Because it is easier to feel like I am right, then to know that I am wrong.  One deceives, the other convicts.

10 + 1 Reasons to Examine Yourself

1. Examining is Commanded
It was not a request, the words “examine” and “test” are imperative mood words, which means that they are commands which must be obeyed.  1 Thessalonians 5:21 also commands “Test all things; hold fast what is good” and 1 Corinthians 11:28 instructs “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”  1 John 4:1 told all Christians “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world”.  Examining ourselves, what we believe and what we do is commanded by God.

2. Don’t Assume Too Much
The most important thing on earth is a person's relationship to God.  Therefore, one should be more careful about his soul than about any other thing.  Somehow, religious people can be very careless about what they are taught and very gullible as to what they believe.  Acts 17:11 says that when Jews in Berea heard Paul's preaching, they "examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  They did not assume that because a minister preached something that it automatically agreed with the Bible.  They checked it to see for sure, and we must check our Bible to be sure.

3. Why So Careful in Other Things
When Jesus visited two sisters, Mary and Martha, He told Martha that she was "worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed" (Luke 10:41.)  Martha was too concerned about serving food to Jesus, while Mary was totally engrossed in serving Jesus with her life.  Why is it that people will be very careful about the tires on their car, about their cholesterol, or about their children's teeth, but have never given a moment's thought to a spiritual checkup?  To risk your soul is far worse than to risk these things.

4. Examine Yourself, Not Others
Paul's command to the Corinthians was to get them to examine themselves instead of him.  Somehow, we have no trouble criticizing others and seeing where they should be better and do better, when Jesus said, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  (Matthew 7:3)  This is why most people "pay no attention" to examining themselves, they are to busy examining others.  2 Corinthians 10:12 and 18 say that the Corinthians were commending themselves and measuring themselves with themselves, but it isn't the one who commends himself  who is approved, "but the one whom the Lord commends."  We must examine ourselves before God for His approval, instead of for self-approval or for the approval of others.  We must examine ourselves, not others.

5. Are You in the Faith?
Paul doubts that many of the Corinthians were "in the faith.”  He fears that they cannot pass the test of "the truth”, meaning the truth of God's Word.  The same applies to us today, can you imagine the degree of  doubt Paul would have in regards to our churches and us?  People can and do believe and feel that they are ”in the faith”, when in reality they are far from it.  However, they do not know this, because they are unwilling to take the truth test of God's Word.  They have an assumed relationship with God that is not based upon the facts of the Bible.  They assume that they are in the faith, but a self-test would reveal to them that they are not.  Deception can be so very subtle and comforting.  Ask yourself the question, "What is Christianity?"

To be continued……
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God 

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