Article: Examine yourselves! | Jacob Varghese
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.”
The Bible tells us to examine ourselves. Am I a true Christian, or am I a counterfeit? Those of us who are Christians ought to ask ourselves that occasionally. It is a good idea to examine ourselves. A Christian, of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ dwells, and the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that fact. Paul is suggesting that we ask ourselves if we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us. How can we know whether we have true faith? What is the evidence that we can really know and that others can see that we are in faith? Romans 8:16 says that “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” This is an inner testimony, a feeling, a sense within produced by the Spirit of God. One of the marks of born-again believers is that they have a deep and sudden thirst for the Word of God, a hunger to be fed, to know the truth of God. 1 Peter 2:2 says “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” This inner change will also produce an outward change in our attitude and behavior.
When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Obviously, we see our reflection. Every day, we all look into the mirror to examine ourselves, look for faults we need to fix, and ensure we look presentable. However, do you know that we also need to look into the spiritual mirror to help us examine ourselves? Self-examination is a crucial part of our spiritual growth. We need to examine ourselves whether we are in the faith or not. In Acts 17:11 we see “the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” In addition to that, Paul said to test yourselves. Testing is a stronger term compared to the word examining. Testing is always intense. A blacksmith who wants to know the real quality of a metal does not just sit down and examine it visually. But he actually would use fire to test it.
We read in Galatians 6:3-5 “if anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” From this scripture, we can see that we must examine our works. It says that if you think of yourself more highly than what you really are, then you are just deceiving yourself. What should we do to avoid being deceived in this way? It says, let everyone examine his own work. We need to ensure that our work, deeds, and actions are in agreement with our faith. It is not enough to learn God’s way; we must apply what we learn in our lives. Examine your works! Whether you are applying what you learn or not. To effectively examine ourselves, we need to read the Bible and see what God expects from us.
In Psalm 139:23-24 we read “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We need to remember that we CAN’T properly examine ourselves without the help of God. So, we need to pray, for God to show us our hidden sins and be ready to accept those faults, repent of them, and change our wicked ways. Don’t look at others and say, “I’m better than this person and that person. When examining ourselves, let us not use other people as our standard but look at God’s standard. The Bible is like our mirror. We don’t look in the mirror just to examine what it looks like and how beautiful the mirror is. We look in the mirror to examine our appearance and correct anything that needs to be changed. In the same way, we don’t just look at our Bible and praise how beautiful its content is. We need to read the Bible, identify our faults, and do our best to change them.
We need to examine our faith, examine our works, and examine ourselves through God’s perspective. After examining yourself, what do you see? Do you see yourself becoming more like God and less like yourself? Do you see yourself spiritually growing or spiritually dying? Are you the same old person as you were before? Spiritual self-examination is important so that we can correct ourselves on a regular basis to make certain we continue to bring glory to God in the manner in which we live our lives. It is of utmost importance for us in our self-examination to answer to the foundational questions – Do I have saving faith in Christ? and Do I have unconfessed sin in my heart?