Thursday Morning Thankfulness – Epistles of Paul
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you are disqualified. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Putting Yourself To The Test
It is easy to find the faults and failings in others. They are so apparent. The challenge comes when we have to examine our own lives and find fault. Let’s face it: looking for things lacking in another person is more easily revealed than facing an honest truth about our own hearts. We are entitled the do what we do and act like we do because that is who we are. Other people need to conform. The litmus test of Christ changes all of that. Paul’s frank statement to the Corinthian Christians was to stop and examine themselves. Look closely whether they could really say they were in the faith. Tough questions. Tougher answers.
Becoming complacent in our relationship with God is a relationship of complacency. It is a form of self-righteousness that masks a spirit of hypocrisy. Jesus tells of the man who went up to prayer and could do nothing but brag about what a great disciple he was of the Father. It was only from the self-examined heart of the publican the spirit of humility was found in begging for mercy. Looking deep within our own hearts takes more courage. It is a deeper well we enter when we open up our hearts to the truth.
The importance of self-examination is to make certain we are following the will of the Father and not the will of men. Why do we believe what we believe? What is the pattern of authority for what we do as disciples? Paul’s plea was to invite the brethren to make assurances they are abiding by the will of God. Make proof of your faith as the Bereans did examining the scriptures daily to determine what truth is. Everything in our lives must be in harmony with Jesus Christ who is the only way, the only truth and the only life.
We are victims of tradition. We fix a Thanksgiving meal the way our grandparents and parents did because that is what we were taught. Cutting the end of a ham was only because grandmother did not have a pot big enough to cook the ham. We still cut the end of the ham off through tradition and nothing more. It is just as easy to have a faith based on a tradition rather than a truth. Every generation must examine itself and ascertain where faith resides. We must believe and practice the truth today because of what God says in His word; not because our parents believed and practiced certain things. Truth is based upon only one truth. Self-examination and proving of self will always bring the same answer when it is placed under the microscope of God’s word. Examine. Prove.
Where religion goes wrong it is because, in one form or another, men have made the mistake of trying to turn to God without turning away from self. (Aelred Graham, Christian Thought and Action, 1951)