Second Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
I believe that when we examine the Word of God, the Word of God examines us. That is to say, when we read the Bible, it reads us and gives us a good look at our own heart. The truth is that our hearts can easily deceive us, and we can’t fully know it (Jer. 17:9). When Paul writes to the Corinthian church to examine themselves, I don’t believe he is doing this to have them make sure that they are saved or not but to place their lives up against what Scripture says. We had a man once attend our church who insisted that he was not a sinner, but this is contrary to what the Bible teaches (1 John 1:9; Rom. 3:23), so I asked him about a couple of Scriptures that teach that all of us have sinned and what God’s Word says about those who claim they have no sin (1 John 1:10). The man refused to look at these verses as if he was afraid to question himself in any way, and he never came back to our church again. Am I like this? Are you?
Questions for the Self
I have often wondered just how strong my faith is. I have seen many who have endured so much in being persecuted and have thought could I go through such things and remain strong in my faith without renouncing Jesus? I just don’t know, and I’d be afraid to find out. What about you? Have you ever seen what other believers go through around the world and asked yourself if you could endure such persecution and loss? I am not so sure I could go through what they’ve gone through. God tested Israel in their wanderings in the wilderness (Ex. 16:4), and he may test us or has already tested us to see how strong our faith is. Israel was always testing God for some reason, even though He keeps every promise (Ex. 17:2). When they put God to the test, it resulted in the death of many of them, which is why Paul warns us about doing the same thing (1 Cor. 10:9).
Asking for Patience
Someone once told me to never ask God for patience because He will allow circumstances in your life where you’ll need to have a lot of patience. I had not heard that before. Is that something that you’d be afraid to ask for yourself? If you wanted more patience and we are given opportunities to exercise patience, how would that go? Would you pass that test? Would I do as Paul feared some might in 2 Corinthians 13:5 and fail the test? Paul had hoped that the church at Corinth would see that he didn’t fail the test (2 Cor. 13:6). If we are to test everything against what is true and cling to what is good (1 Thess. 5:21) and God tests our hearts (1 Thess. 2:4), would you ever be scared to ask yourself the question of whether you would fail where a lot of other Christians didn’t? Could I endure as much as the severely persecuted believers around the world do? How would I handle such intensity of pressure as being tortured and losing everything as some have had to endure?
A Closing Prayer
Father God, I still have doubts about whether I could go through what so many endure in other parts of the world. Help me to calm my doubts and fears, to put my full trust in You, to not fear anything or anyone, and to erase any doubts so that I know I am secure in You by Christ’s death. In His holy name I pray.
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