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“The Secret of Joy” (2 Cor. 8:1-4)

“Examine Yourself” (2 Cor. 13:5)

“Examine Yourself” (2 Cor. 13:5)

Wonderful Thing in this Passage – One of the problems with spending a lot of time thinking about other people’s faults is that it keeps you from focusing on the one person whose faults you can actually do something about: you.

There had arisen in the church at Corinth a faction which spent a lot of time discussing the many shortcomings they perceived in Paul’s apostleship. He gave them some godly counsel that applies to the rest of us: The next time you go on a fault-finding expedition, start your search in front of the mirror.

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you – unless you fail the test” (Cor. 13:5).

His exhortation is even more forceful in the original Greek, which places more importance on word order than does English. It literally reads, “Yourselves test …Yourselves examine.”

We easily recognize the immaturity and worldliness in the Corinthians, but they couldn’t see them. That’s why we call them “blind spots.” And every one of us has plenty.

Wonderful Thing in My Life – If, more than anything else in life, we want to please and honor the Lord Jesus, we will passionately desire to have our blind spots exposed to the light, so we can see them and do something about them. There are three primary sources of the light we need:

The Lord, Himself – “Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind” (Psalm 26:2). “See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:24). The thing I most want to avoid is offending the One who loves me as God does. And He alone knows exactly what offends Him. I want Him to tell me, and He does so through His still small voice and, supremely, through the love letters He has written me: His holy Word.

Mature believers who love us – If you don’t have a brother or sister like Paul who can speak trusted words into your life, try to find one.

Our honest, Spirit-directed selves – Morbid introspection is never healthy, but honest inward-evaluation arising from a deep desire to be more and more pleasing to Christ every day is an essential discipline of the Christian life. The self-satisfied Christian is an anomaly.

After many years of knowing and serving the Lord, Paul expressed his own heart: “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings …Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus …One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:10-14).

And he closes that paragraph with this direct word to you and me: “Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way” (Phil. 3:15).

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