In various life situations, we acknowledge the need for self-examination and improvement. Our boss may ask, “How well do you think you’re doing?” Our annual medical exam probably includes a doctor’s encouragement to check our diet, to get back on track with our exercise program. When we share quality time with our spouse, we might anticipate some loving encouragement to restart some good habits from earlier in our marriage.
Introspection (self-examination) is a good habit regarding our faith so we can improve and grow in our daily walk. In
1 Corinthians 11, Paul instructed the Corinthians to examine themselves before participating in the Lord’s Supper. In 2 Corinthians, he continued working on that church family. At a hard time in his relationship with them, Paul wrote these words in 2 Corinthians 13.5-6: “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 hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.”
These are strong words: “…to see whether you are in the faith” and “…unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” Self-assessment is an important part of our faith walk. Do we have goals for our behavior, for our daily decisions? Are we walking in step with God’s Spirit? In what areas are we falling short of our own expectations? Or His expectations?
Paul was well aware of his human nature (Romans 7). He took great pains to overcome himself and pursue a higher walk in God. This is his encouragement to the Philippians in 3.12-14: “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
There are entirely too many New Year’s resolutions that fail in February! Before the holiday rush begins, this might be a great time to do some soul-searching … to identify some things that need improvement so we can better serve and glorify our God.