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!
2 Corinthians 13:5
In a few days, I celebrate another birthday. It’s great getting older. You won’t get hisses and boos from me about being another year older. I’m grateful for the last 365 days. Also coming soon is a new year. So, this is the perfect time to take inventory, to evaluate the previous year, to see where I’ve been and look ahead to where I want to go before my next birthday and another new year.
As a child of God, evaluation is important. Scripture tells us, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, emphasis mine) Evaluation of our faith helps us to test our thinking, what’s on our mind? Are we thinking about eternal things are temporary worldly concerns?
We size up and review most everything else in our lives. Each Monday I get out of bed and step on the scale to see which side of progress the numbers will fall. The results tell me whether I can have cake on my birthday or wait until next year.
We evaluate that which is important.
My health is important so each year I visit my doctor for a check-up. My doctor looks at all the current information and tells me what a great job I’m doing (never) or tells me what I should do differently to be healthy. If I adhere to his suggestions, I’ll have better results the next year. My health is important.
Our relationship with God is important. Are we headed toward spiritual maturity or do we need to change our direction? Do we need to put off some things and put on others? Are we delighting in the will of God or following our earthly desires?
Paul told the Corinthians to take a look at their faith. In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul defends his ministry, imploring the people to repent and return to the truth. The people were turning away from Paul’s teachings about Jesus. His opponents disputed his apostleship and the Christians of Corinth began following the wrong people. He was stern but sadden that he might have run and labored for nothing. In our focus scripture, as he closes his letter, Paul says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”
Are you in the faith? How can we know? To know, we have to ask ourselves important questions.
I am not an expert in spiritual examination, but I can look at the transformation in my life. What did my life look like a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago? Am I being transformed to be more like Christ?
Testing ourselves starts with prayer asking God to reveal the places of growth and the places that need attention. For a faith inventory to work, however, we need to be open to the answers and willing to let God continue to change us from the inside out. Real transformation comes from within. Also, when taking inventory, it is vital that we not compare our journey with another’s journey. You have to look at where you have been and where you want to go.
You may have more evaluation questions, but here are seven questions I ask myself:
Am I loving people? How are my relationships with the people God has put in my life? Am I loving them like Jesus? Am I forgiving as I have been forgiven? Am I sharing my gifts?
Am I praying? How’s my prayer life? Do I make time to be with God in a conversation? Am I listening? Am I praying for others?
Am I devouring God’s Word? Do I desire to be reading scripture? Am I applying God’s Word to my life? Am I letting God’s Word change me, or am I a “hearer” and not a “doer” of the Word?
Am I producing fruit? Have I cultivated love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Am I sharing the gospel with others?
Am I living a surrendered life? Or, am I chasing my will, my desires, my comfort? Am holding on to things God want me to let go?
Am I trusting God’s sovereignty? Do I believe that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him?
Am I living a grateful life? Am I thankful in ALL things at ALL times? In the blessings and the pain?
At times, these questions lead to more questions and when I have answers, I can see how God has transformed my life over the past year (or years). I clearly see where I need continued transformation. Aware of the places that need work and the places that are working, my job is to let God work in me to will and act according to His purpose. We must allow ourselves to be transformed.
If you are having a birthday soon like me, “Happy Birthday!” Isn’t getting older great?!! Take a moment to evaluate what is important and let’s be changed in the coming year!
Father God, thank you for birthdays and times to test and evaluate our faith. Let us see how we have grown and how we need to grow. Put questions in our mind that lead us to answers. For you work in us to will and act according to your good purpose.
Psalm 119: 59-60: When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies; I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.
Lamentations 3:40: Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
Today, make a list of questions that evaluate your faith? With intention and purpose, schedule a time to intentionally hear God’s answers to your questions.