If I asked the above question to one of my fourteen-year-old granddaughters, she most likely would talk to me about her latest big scholastic exam. If you questioned my 70 plus crowd about their latest exam, most would tell you how their latest physical exam had gone. If I asked a businessman or businesswoman the very same question, they may tell me about an exam for some certification important to their job. Exams test for competency and capabilities or assess for physical condition. They are important to our lives.
2 Corinthians 13 instructs us to examine ourselves testing our spiritual condition, “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.” Paul the Apostle tells us to “test ourselves” daily to examine the condition of our faith. How is our fellowship with Jesus going? Romans 8:27 says “And (Jesus) searches our hearts know(ing) the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Jesus desires fellowship with us which is disrupted if our heart is not prepared to talk. He wants us to be in tune with the Spirit. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Are you examining yourself daily in the light of the Spirit?
A daily examination that helps us test ourselves is found in Psalm 139:23&24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- The daily assessment always begins with the heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). What are our innermost core thoughts…the thoughts that drive our self-talk, emotions, and behavior? Make sure Christ is glorified.
- Then, test yourself regarding “anxious thoughts.” They are focused on temporal things which pull you away from the eternal desires of the Spirit. “Anxious thoughts” at the core are lies. Get rid of them. Philippians 4:6&7 give us sound advice, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Don’t be preoccupied with anxious thoughts. Give them to God and leave them with Him. Then, stay in peace where God resides and protects you.
- Then, make sure there are no “offensive (hurtful or grievous) way in (you).” 1 John 1:9 is the go to verse here, “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
- Before the exam is over, ask God to lead you in the everlasting way.
Examine yourself daily making sure that your heart is healthy, substantiating there are no anxious thoughts, with offensive ways being confessed and cleansed, and living life according to His way and will. If so, you aced the test.