How to Examine Yourself
The apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 13:5 says”Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.”
What I have noticed in my own Christian walk is that it is very easy for me to examine someone else to see if they are in the faith! That comes very naturally to me. I have to be deliberate about turning the light of God’s word on me constantly to make sure that I am walking in the faith. The Bible clearly says the righteous man shall live by his faith. It’s easy to try to remove the speck in a brother or sister’s eye when there could be a plank in our own eyes. Jesus said by their fruits you shall know them. My eyes naturally look forward and outward and so I see the faults of others and scrutinize them with facility. I must intentionally focus on examining myself. God doesn’t command us to examine others as he commands that we examine ourselves. In business and the sciences today, hypothesis testing and examination of outcomes is something that is done all the time. That is the only way to improve outcomes of an experiment or a business. To improve our Christian experience, we must make it an important part of our lives to daily examine ourselves to see how we are living. When we do that, we will find that our prayer lives become rich and meaningful because we will have many weaknesses to take to God everyday as we seek to grow.
George Whitefield was an amazing evangelist that God used greatly in England and America. His Diary begins with a list of criteria which he used each night as the basis of examining his actions and attitudes during the day. Here is his list.
1. been fervent in private prayer?
2. used set hours of prayer? (1 hour in morning, 1 hour at noon, and 1 hour in the evening)?
3. used spontaneous outburst of prayer in supplication, intercession, praise and thanksgiving every hour?
4. after or before every deliberate conversation or action, considered how it might lead to God’s glory?
5. after enjoying any pleasure, immediately given thanks?
6. planned my day so as to not waste time?
7. been responsible and thoughtful in everything?
8. been zealous in my work and active in doing what good I could?
9. been meek, cheerful, gracious in everything I said or did?
10. been proud, vain, impure, or jealous of others?
11. thoughtful in eating and drinking? thankful? self-controlled
12. taken time for giving thanks?
13. been diligent in studies?
14. thought or spoken unkindly to anyone?
15. confessed all sins?
It will be greatly useful to any Christian to create a similar list for themselves with which they daily check to see how they are doing with their Christian walk. A word of caution is appropriate here. This type of list is not to become a law. We don’t live under any laws. There should be no guilt or condemnation if you don’t do well with your list. Condemnation and guilt are weapons of Satan. Instead, when we fail, we should kneel before our God and tell him how weak and frail we are. How incapable we are at accomplishing even the smallest tasks without his help. Then ask him to empower us. Again, the purpose of this kind of list should be to help us grow and monitor our growth. That is what I am doing in my life this season and I encourage you to consider it. It is time we Christians start growing on purpose! Join me and create your own list and start praying for God to help you grow.