We are to be discerning of our own relationship with Christ.
Read 2 Corinthians 13:1-11
“Test yourself to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves.”
The most challenging thing to do is to be honest with ourselves. The prophet Jeremiah warns, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” We quickly see the faults in others but remain blind to our own. When confronted with our sin, we are adept at justifying our attitude and actions. This is the greatest danger we face in our spiritual life. We can be firmly convinced that we have a relationship with God when in reality, we do not.
Because of our self-deception, Paul warns us to carefully examine our life to make sure we are genuine disciples of Christ. The church at Corinth was a church that teetered on the brink. While professing to be disciples of Christ, they have become embroiled in internal conflicts, each claiming to have superior knowledge and truth over the others. They had used the grace of God as a mantle to conceal their tolerance of sexual immorality and perversion. They questioned the teaching and authority of Paul as an Apostle. Consequently, in light of all the internal struggles they had, Paul challenges them to examine their heart to verify the genuineness of their faith. They were critical and judgmental of Paul but failed to be honest in their own evaluation.
How do we examine our relationship with Christ, and what measures do we use to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith? These are critical questions if we are to avoid self-deception. The answer begins in verse 4. Paul reminds them that we are inherently week and in need of God’s redemptive power at work. The first evidence of the genuineness of our faith is found in the realization of our inherent sinfulness. Eternal life cannot be attained by our own efforts but only but the acceptance of the work of Christ in our life. To examine ourselves, we need to be honest with ourselves about the presence of sin. We need to recognize our weaknesses and then allow God to explore our life. After pointing out the deceptive nature of our heart, Jeremiah directs us to God for, “I the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind.” God can do what we can not—reveal the true nature of our heart.
The second test is found in verse 5, namely, do we have Christ in you. To have Christ in us involves the complete surrender of our life to Christ so that he is not just present with us, but he is directing us, and we are following his commands. In John 14, Christ repeatedly states that the measure of our love for Him is revealed in our obedience to him. Many claim to have Christ in their life, but they reject his word and live independently of him.
The third test we see in verse 8, that we “do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.” To follow Christ involves living by the truth of scripture, for it is the Scriptures that reveal sin and point us to Christ. The Psalmist affirms this when he states, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9). Scripture brings clarity in a confusing world. We often hear, “Let your conscience be your guide.” But our conscience is misleading. The sage warns us in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.” Rather than allowing our conscience to be our guide, we must allow scripture to be our guide.
Today, ask God to do a wellness check of your relationship with him and reveal the areas in your life that need to be changed.