One of the most difficult things for us as human beings is to look into a mirror, whether a mirror hanging on a wall, or the mirror of God’s word, examine ourselves, and come to a truthful conclusion, one which is unbiased, impartial, dispassionate and unprejudiced. Since the beginning of human existence man has had a tendency to see himself through the subjective prism of individualism, perpetually highlighting the positives, and minimizing the negatives that are visible to everyone but himself. Objectivity is difficult, dare I say near impossible when it comes to our own person, to our own shortcomings, and to our own faults.
As difficult as a right and true examination of oneself might be, the Word encourages us to examine certain things in our lives, not once in a lifetime, but on a regular basis that we might know the truth of our spiritual maturity, the truth of our walk, the truth of our strength, the truth of what we have chosen to believe, and by knowing these truths, amend, repent, and change the course of our trajectory that we might reach our desired destination.
Anyone who says examining oneself is an easy task, has never approached self examination with the requisite honesty it demands. As imperfect creatures, if we are honest and forthright before an all knowing God, there will always be something in us, something in our actions, something in our conduct, something in our walk, that God will demand we chisel and refine, because this faith, this journey is an ongoing transformation, an ongoing maturity and ascent toward the utter mortification and death of self, and complete surrender to our heavenly Father.
The first and most important examination we must undertake, as pertains to eternity, is to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith. The Bible doesn’t tell us to take someone else’s word for it as to whether we are in the faith, it doesn’t tell us to believe our relatives when they tell us we are on the right path, but rather to examine ourselves, personally and intimately looking into the mirror of God’s holy Word to see if we are in the faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5-7, “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. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.”
Although there are many profound topics we can discuss at length in this passage of God’s Word, from proving ourselves, to the possibility of being disqualified as Paul so readily states, the main reason I included this passage is self explanatory enough. We must examine ourselves, we must look into the Word and make certain that we are not following after men, but rather after Christ, that we might do no evil, that we might not stray, but that we would be led by Christ and Christ alone.
The second aspect of our lives we must examine is our own work. We ought to know by now that a bad tree cannot bare good fruit, nor can a good tree bare bad fruit. We must examine our work and see that we are truly serving God, being led of God, and laboring on behalf of the Kingdom of God and not our own self interests or agendas.
Galatians 6:4, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
I realize the notion of personal accountability has fallen out of favor with much of today’s church, and that far too many have embraced the idea that God has to love us no matter what we do, but the Word encourages us to examine or own work, to look at our labors and our sacrifices and make certain that they were made with a pure heart, and pure intentions seeking only to please God.
When it comes to spiritual matters, we are also encouraged in the Word to test all things. Within the context of Paul writing to the church of Thessalonica, and admonishing them not to quench the Spirit, or despise prophecies, he also warns them that they must test all things for the sake of their spiritual wellbeing. Time consuming as some might think it to be, whenever we hear a word of prophecy, we must make certain that it lines up with the Word of God first and foremost.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
Much deception has been wrought upon the house of God because believers are simply too lazy or too indifferent to go into the Word and test the things that they hear. If it sounds good, well then it must be good, and so they receive doctrine and teaching contrary to the Word of God simply because the flesh liked what it heard. For the sake of your spiritual well being, test all things, and once you have tested them, hold fast what is good.
The last thing that we must examine or test is the spirits, to see whether they are of God. In our ongoing quest for newness and supernatural manifestations, we have lost sight of John’s admonition to test the spirits, whether they are of God. It is vitally important to know the source of a power, and not merely accept someone as a messenger of God simply because they posses power.
1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
It would seem that when it comes to spiritual things we have the tendency not to learn from our mistakes. There is an easily recognizable cycle wherein every few years a new and ‘gifted’ individual comes on the scene, kicks a few people in the face, blows on a few others, punches a cancer patient in the gut, and he is crowned the new spiritual leader of the age. Shortly afterwards however the mask begins to slip, and rather than bring glory to God, these selfsame individuals who everyone looked to, to bring about a worldwide revival, begin to bring shame upon shame to the name of God by their actions and conduct. Test the spirits, whether they are of God, because the enemy is by no means impotent.
A wise man tests and examines both himself, his works, the things he hears, and the things he sees, having the Word of God as the yardstick by which everything is measured, as the prism by which everything is seen, and the final authority by which everything is judged. We can choose to be wise, or choose to be fools; the choice in the end is ours and ours alone.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.