“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?” (II Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
I’m a reader. And a writer. I enjoy both—a lot. I am seldom without a book I’m in the process of reading. The problem with that (other than spending too much time reading) is that I find myself proofreading as I go. Without conscious thought, I notice typos, misspelled words, or incorrect word usage. It irritates me when details in the storyline are inconsistent. I want to tell the author, “That’s not what you said two chapters back.”
Here’s the real problem. I make mistakes in my writing as well. Although I check closely for errors, I miss things. I think it’s perfect and later discover it isn’t. Why is it so much easier to see other’s mistakes than to see my own? It reminds me of the words of Matthew 7:3 (ESV). “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” It is easy for our hearts to deceive us and keep us from recognizing things hidden inside. Like my proofreading problems, it’s easy to overlook little sins that have crept in, questionable motives behind our actions, compromises in our integrity, or times we ignored God’s voice.
Because I am prone to mistakes, I have some aids on my computer that will point out spelling or other grammatical errors. It’s a “warning system” that alerts me when something doesn’t seem right. When the notice pops up, I can check the problem area and decide how best to fix the problem.
Our spiritual life doesn’t come with spellcheck, but God has provided ways for us to do a heart check. We know it will trick us, so it’s important that we stay alert. By doing a self-examination, we can discover areas in which we have become lax. Early intervention will save us a lot of problems later.
Here are just a few questions we can use to begin our self-exam:
- When I measure myself by the Word of God, what do I see?
- When I hear the preached Word, do I feel convicted?
- Am I a doer of the Word, or only a hearer of the Word?
- Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in my life?
- Am I willing to allow God to correct me when I am wrong?
- Am I submissive to the spiritual leadership God has placed over me?
Let us make David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 our prayer today.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(New Living Translation)