Much is being said these days regarding self-examination, but most of it is of
a medical nature. Warnings abound this time of year about the adverse effects
of the Sun in receiving too much exposure. In addition to this we all participate
in a bit of self-examination from a health standpoint (if we are wise) as we inspect
our gums, teeth, etc. in our efforts to maintain good dental hygiene. Other areas
of our health are equally important and there are benefits of self-examination
to find any lumps, bumps, or previously unseen oddities and such that could be
indicators of areas of concern or disease that may have appeared.
Now, we all (whether we like to admit it or not) take an appraising look in the
mirror occasionally to determine how our clothes look, or if we think we have
added a pound or two, and how this affects our appearance. Many a person has set
aside, or even discarded a garment for the time being based on how they made him,
or her look. I too have done this.
But how many of us follow the Bible directive found in 2Corinthians 13:15 and
really take a hard look at ourselves in regard to how well we follow the Word
of God? Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Surely we are familiar with 1Corinthians 11:28 where we are told that self-examination
is indeed part of our partaking of the Lord’s Supper. But let a man examine
himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. According to
vs 27, failure to perform a proper, and honest self-examination before we partake
and eat the bread and drink the cup unworthily renders us guilty of the body and
blood of the Lord. None should desire this.
We cannot “look” inside ourselves with a device as we do this. Physically,
the Doctor can view “inside” us with a myriad of scopes, devices and
tools and even take pictures and images to see if some-thing is amiss, but this
is not what the Spirit was alluding to when He had Paul write to the Corinthian
brethren. A self-examination of our mind is what The Spirit had Paul say is required.
We can only accomplish a successful internal self-examination if we are honest.
The Bible speaks of the mind as the “heart” of man. This is because
what the body does is controlled by the mind of the man that possesses that body.
In the Old Testament, the first part of Proverbs 23:7 tells us this. For as he
thinketh in his heart, so is he: We can also clearly see this from Matthew after
Jesus healed the man on a bed, sick of the palsy, having uttered the Words in
Matthew 9:2: Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. Following this
in vs 3 the “scribes said within themselves” that Jesus had blasphemed
in saying this. As we read vs 4 we find Jesus reply and what Jesus also knew.
And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
It is the mind with which one thinks, and not the “heart” or blood
pump. Leave the examination of the physical heart (pump) to the physician.
Then the question becomes: “How may I do a self-examination of my mind,
the spiritual heart?” To do this one must look “introspectively”
or inside to examine themselves and compare what is inside with what is found
in the Word of God. We should also want to look good in the “inner man”
and should make frequent and honest self-examinations to ensure that we remain
”in the faith.” We then need to make the needed adjustments according
to the Word. Hebrews 4:12 points out for us that the Word of God is the “instrument”
by which this self-examination is to occur.. For the word of God is quick, and
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of
the thoughts and intents of the heart. This is most important as the Word will
also be that by which we are to be judged.
Perhaps another way of looking at “examining ourselves” is to “take
heed” unto ourselves. In 1Timothy 4:16 this is what Timothy was told by
Paul, and is equally applicable to us today. Take heed unto thyself, and unto
the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself,
and them that hear thee. Then there is Hebrews 3:12 which tells us what a lack
of “spiritual self-examination brings. Take heed, brethren, lest there be
in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. We
cannot afford to NOT do these spiritual self-examinations, do them honestly, and
make the needed changes.
By Dennis Strickland
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