“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
— 2 Corinthians 13:5
Did you like taking tests when you were in school? If you didn’t, you’re in good company. Most of us dreaded tests, unlike the blessed few with natural smarts and good study habits. I hate to say this, but today is test day. Are you ready? In today’s passage, Paul commands us to take a test—an open-book test comparing our lives with God’s Word. We must administer the test to ourselves, for this test is a self-examination, a test for Christ’s presence within us … a test with eternal consequences.
When it comes to making moral and spiritual judgments, we’re often prone to examining everyone but ourselves. All of us have something of the critic within us, always willing to point the finger at others. The Corinthians had the same tendency. In fact, they were the hypercritics of the ancient world. They criticized Paul’s apostleship, and in reaction to their criticism, Paul urged them to examine the reality of their own faith.
We still have Corinthians with us today. In fact, we so often are the Corinthians. How many of us have left church saying such things as “Well, what did you think of that sermon?” or “How did you like that preacher?” Sounds like Corinth, doesn’t it? But we shouldn’t judge God’s servants. Instead, we need to place ourselves at Christ’s feet and submit ourselves to the judgment of God’s Word.
The Word of God explains that one day we shall give account of ourselves before Christ. On that day you won’t criticize your spouse, your parents, your neighbors, your church members, or your pastors. You’ll give an account of your own life. No other statements or input will be allowed. That’s a sobering thought.
As hard as it is, take that test today. Use the psalmist’s prayer to aid in this process: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any hurtful way in me. And lead me in the everlasting way.” Amen. Make sure your heart is right with God. Let’s get our own act together before we try to direct everyone else’s.