SPIRITUAL CHECK-UP TIME
Lord, thank You for Your longsuffering toward me.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 13
13 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”[a] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
5 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? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
a 2 Corinthians 13:1 Deut. 19:15
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Spend some time praising God for all he has done in your life. Thank him that he has further plans and purposes for you.
Verse 5 was one of the favorite texts of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Puritans, who used it to commend the discipline of “self-examination”—in effect, a regular spiritual check-up. Sometimes the rigorous way that self-examination was practiced became unhelpful. People with tender consciences such as John Bunyan, the writer of The Pilgrim’s Progress, became convinced they were not really Christians at all. (Bunyan later gained a more confident assurance of faith.) Time and energy was lost in introspective soul-searching and Christians failed to claim the joyful assurance that is the birthright of every true believer in Jesus.
Nevertheless, we are encouraged—indeed commanded—to “examine” and “test” ourselves to see whether we are “in the faith” (5). Yes, we are saved by grace alone, yet for all of us who have received such grace there should be some evidence that we are growing as disciples of Jesus. God takes us “just as we are” (cf. Charlotte Elliott, 1789–1871, “Just as I Am, Without One Plea”), but he doesn’t leave us there. He saves us from both the penalty and the power of sin, changing us step by step through his Word and by his Spirit.
So, it is helpful to have an inquiry into our spiritual health from time to time. As we do this today, what is the diagnosis? As already noted in these studies, we will never be perfect in this life, yet we should aim to be the best we can be (11). Certainly we are called to grow in love, prayer, knowledge of God, holiness, ministry, and mission work. In what areas does God want us to repent and move forward? It is easy to despair when we examine ourselves in this way, but all Christians have the “fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (14) so we can change. Such is God’s saving, transforming grace toward us.
Lord, show me where You want me to change and grow. Help me to become the person You want me to be.
Lord, as I examine myself to assure my spiritual health, keep me mindful that You always encourage my continual development as I nonetheless rest in Your assurance of salvation.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.