Why is this so hard to do?
2 Corinthians 13:5
“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?” (KJV)
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (NAS)
In every area of our lives, we establish standards and goals and measurements for ourselves.
We usually do this for our well-being.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can improve ourselves.
We just need to set the proper standards that apply to our own selves, rather than use other people’s standards.
Often, we compare ourselves with others.
We are usually disappointed with the results.
There will always be people thinner than you, younger than you, stronger than you, smarter than you, prettier than you, richer than you….and the list goes on and on.
While this should motivate us to work towards improvement; we usually get depressed about ourselves and choose to do nothing about it.
There is our problem.
We do not set high enough standards for ourselves.
Sometimes we compare ourselves with ourselves.
That can mean how we used to be compared to how we are now.
We must take caution not to overrate ourselves.
We can tell ourselves how pretty we are or how handsome we are—and that has some benefits to our self-esteem.
Our pride usually tells us we are better than others, but that can get us into a lot of trouble.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves, but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding”.
Physically we do this for our health.
What are we eating?
Healthy food or junk food?
We can eat both because our bodies can handle it.
But we also know that our food should be balanced in the proper proportions.
Too much of one thing is not good.
What exercise are we doing.
If we sit around all day without any exercise, do we complain because we hurt to move around?
I am sure we all realize that if we moved more our health would improve.
Paul wrote that bodily exercise is beneficial but spiritual exercise is better for the soul.
1 Timothy 4:8: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness Is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”.
This is why this sermon is important.
Our souls eternal destiny is at stake.
Do we really examine ourselves and determine that we need more Bible study?
Do we see that we need to correct something that is amiss in our lives and behavior?
If someone followed your example, could they get to heaven?
If we think we have a problem physically, we can seek help in getting the problem identified and hopefully fixed.
We go see a doctor and they use their training and experience to determine what is wrong.
They might need assistance from any number of tools and machines to look inside you.
With their experience, anything out of the normal is spotted immediately.
Then the doctor will discuss with you your course of action.
It might be medicine or surgery.
But do we have a way to correct spiritual sickness?
Yes we do.
We go to one who has the experience of life and knowledge that can diagnose your sickness.
We need one who can look inside us to see where the problem lies.
God is able to do so through His word.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.
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.
Proverbs 23:7 tells us this. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
We also know who can read our minds.
Jeremiah 17:9-10: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds”.
Jesus would have the same ability that God has in reading hearts and minds.
After Jesus was born, His parents took Him to the Temple where one old prophet spoke of Him.
Luke 2:34-35 “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘”Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed’.”
We can also clearly see this from Matthew after Jesus healed the man on a bed, sick of the palsy,
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.
God will examine your heart.
To prepare for that event, you must examine yourself.
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.
Perhaps another way of looking at “examining ourselves” is to “take heed” unto ourselves.
1 Timothy 4:16 ”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”.
Hebrews 3:12 ”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.
Your self examination is all up to you.
No one this side of heaven can do it for you.
God has already examined you and He has already written the prescription.
The Bible has your remedy.
But like the fact you must go to the pharmacy to get your medicine and you must follow and do the instructions from your doctor…
You must follow God’s instructions for your spiritual well-being.
By Carey Scott from an article by Dennis Strickland
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