There are times when we all must go to the doctor for a physical examination. The doctor looks us over, checks our reflexes and various other things. We do this so that we may maintain good health.
In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Paul wrote, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” While this is a warning about how we should be careful about our attitude as we partake of the Lord’s Supper, the idea of examining ourselves should be something we all do on a regular basis as it is about more than simply the Lord’s Supper. If we do not take the time to examine ourselves and correct the things that are wrong, then we will begin to crumble as Christians.
Self-examination, a continuing act
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul expanded on the idea of self-examination. He said, “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?” We should do self-examination daily. But this can be more difficult than it sounds because of what we may be afraid of finding. We may try to put it off afraid of what things are brought to the surface. However, the time we use to examine ourselves is very important, because it gives us the opportunity to realize our errors and then correct them. When the time comes upon us that we realize we are in sin is a time when a Christian will either “sink or swim.” If we choose to repent of our sin and come back to Christ with a heart of repentance, we will remain in Christ. If we refuse to correct the sin in our lives, we will lose our relationship with Christ.
This is how the growth of a Christian is accomplished. It is not accomplished by parading around with our noses in the air as if we are without sin. There are those who, when their sin is found out, quickly seek to justify themselves and brush off the wrongdoing. But God does not simply “brush off” the sin, regardless of how small we may think it is.
We are told to “test ourselves” as to whether we are in the faith. When many hear these words, they are stricken with fear. It is a terrifying thought to come to the realization that we may be in the wrong. However, what many fail to realize is that this is the whole purpose of self-examination. If our faults are never brought to light, they will not be corrected. When we realize our faults, we can REPENT of them and be back in a right relationship with the Lord.
Lack of self-examination
Sadly, there are those who act as if they would rather live in torments, than to admit they have sinned or to feel embarrassed of their sin. That is why Paul told the Corinthians, “For this reason, many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (1 Corinthians 11:30). When we do not examine ourselves daily, we become weak or sick Christians. Verses 31 and 32, tell us that we read that if “we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.” “We are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned WITH the world (emphasis added J.C.)”. When we examine ourselves, it is so that we may judge ourselves that when we realize our sins, we may repent of them. No longer will we be “condemned with the world.”
As difficult as it may sound, self-examination is something all Christians should actively be engaged in. It is not so we may feel bad about ourselves or feel afraid to sit down and ask ourselves, “Am I living as a Christian?” We are to examine ourselves, so we may not be condemned as those in the world will be condemned. We judge our own actions, so we may not be judged.
Let us not be as the world, brushing off sin and searing our conscience with a hot iron. Instead, let us examine ourselves daily to whether we are “in the faith.” Self-examinations can save the soul.