“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” —II Corinthians 13:5
Why do we need to examine ourselves?
Examination is a process to determine the nature or condition, it is also a way to test the knowledge or proficiency. So if we examine ourselves, we would like to determine the condition of our faith, we try to prove ourselves to know if we are still in alignment with God and His will.
We ask the question, are we walking worthy of our calling?
The apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 11:28-30:
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
In schools, examination is done regularly for students to determine if they already achieved the learning outcomes needed in their subjects. Regularly, it is a must for us Christians to continuously assess ourselves to make sure that we continue to give honour to God.
Apostle Paul writes, II Corinthians 13:5, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
Here, Paul wants us to learn that there are things we should consider, that is, to examine ourselves, do we know ourselves, Christ is in us, unless if we are already disqualified.
In Galatians 6:3-4, Apostle Paul writes, “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
The Greek word for examine here is dokîmázô, which means, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “‘to test, prove,’ with the expectation of approving.” It can also indicate “to discern” or “to distinguish,” suggesting proving whether a thing is worthy or not.
If we know that we are doing is right, we feel satisfaction for the work well done. The problem is sometimes it gives us a feeling to compare ourselves to others. This is the reason why Apostle Paul writes it is not wise to compare ourselves to some one else. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
A life of a Christian is a continuing process of drawing closer to God. Here, we need to exert effort to assure our victory and to be able to do that, we need to regularly examine ourselves to know what things need to be improve in the areas of our faith and spirituality.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
If continues examination is always done by a Christian, the result can be fruitful. We got to really know ourselves. We can say that most of the times we learn from what we experience in life. And life offered us so much trials and sufferings, which helps us to be a better person and a better servant of God. It also let us experience joy, contentment, growth in ourselves and peace, they are all blessings from God.
A God’s servant is not ordinary in any sense. Its different from any one else. We live not for ourselves alone, we live through Christ and we realize how important is our relationship with God.
In Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Our heart shows how strong is our character. So, it is important that we keep it always strong through meditations and prayers, asking for insight from God to reveal us exactly who we are—inside—where normally only God can see. We must implore Him for understanding about who we really are right now in His eyes. We need this information to understand properly our relationship with Him.
Knowing ourselves can take time. It can be a lifetime process. We have to show God how much we want to change for the better. And we must come to God in this process with humility and a heart ready to repent immediately of the shortcomings that He shows us. God can be a consuming fire to His enemies (Hebrews 12:29), but to His own children, He is a boundless provider and loving Father (Ephesians 3:14-21). He is quick to forgive if we freely confess our sins to Him (I John 1:9).
We received the gift of the Holy Spirit when we were baptized in the church of God.
Act 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ to remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Act 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Therefore, if we are baptized and were given the gift of the Holy Spirit, then we became a new being. A new being created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
Christ now dwells in us. Apostle Paul explains this in Corinthians, And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. We became part of the church, the body of Christ, the temple of God, and He dwells in us.
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 7:1 Then having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilements of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
And we became special because we became God’s sons and daughters, but nothing on our own makes us special.
It is only God dwelling in us by His Spirit that separates us from others.
But if we do the things that others do, what difference that makes? We must therefore continue to clean ourselves and be spiritually mature in holiness in the fear of God.
It is really a must to continually know ourselves because we may never know if we are still standing in our faith or if we are already disqualified. Strong’s concordance defines it as reprobates, from the word adokimos. In Vine’s, it means not standing the test or rejected.
Apostle Paul mentioned this in Romans 1:28, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased (adókimon) mind, to do those things which are not fitting.
In Titus 1:16, it says, They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified (adókimoi) for every good work.
And in Hebrews 6:7-8, (For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth plants fit for those by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God. But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected (adokimos) and is a curse, whose end is to be burned.)
When we say we are already disqualified, it means we are already cut off from God and this is one of the painful things that could ever happen to a Christian life.
In Hebrews 6:4-6, it says that returning to a sinful life can happen after a Christian was already disqualified or rejected by God.
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, Heb 6:5 and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, Heb 6:6 and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, Heb 10:27 but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Heb 10:28 He who despised Moses’ Law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. Heb 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy of punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? Heb 10:30 For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord shall judge His people.” Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Medically, regular visits to doctors for check-up is necessary to ensure that we are physically in shape and free from any sickness. This is the same in spiritual sense, regular self-examination ensures us that we are walking worthy of our calling. And we are making it sure that we are not allowing ourselves to be disqualified or rejected by God.
This way, we can always find ourselves living according to what God wants us to live.