Good Life Journal - 2 Corinthians 13
"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 Cor 13:5
Why is Paul challenging the Corinth church corporately and individuals specifically like this? Test myself? Is he calling for me to doubt? Or maybe the Holy Spirit is asking for something else....
This is one of the Scripture references I used to avoid-mostly because I didn't understand the question. It is difficult sometimes because I have read...and re-read...and re-read again more than just verse 5. I have to back up and read the previous verses...sometimes 2 and 3 chapters before a verse just so I can get some kind of coherent run-up into it.
In this case though, it didn't come really clear until I was introduced to the Doctrine of the Atonement and subsequently Justification and Sanctification. To my pea-sized mind, limited as it is, I needed to be able to mentally separate the Eternal from the Temporal; that is, Salvation and Redemption is all of God's prerogative (Justification) and my growth in the Faith (or in Maturity- essentially same thing) is Sanctification.
To revert to a sports metaphor: Am I focused for the Game today? It is asking for me to take a look at myself: Am I focused? Have I relaxed reviewing and remembering the Gospel for myself? Have I stopped preaching the Gospel to the face in the mirror? Do I have a game plan for today to walk worthy of the Gospel or am I coasting in misplaced self-confidence?
Examining myself isn't comfortable-especially if I am being shaky because of sin. Paul refers to it well in the letter to Romans: "I know what to do; I don't do it." Am I doing what I should be doing? Am I at least leaning toward it? Thinking about it? Am I putting in place particular biblically based "circuit breakers" to interrupt my veering of the path of righteousness?
Every year I need an objective for growth in the Faith. Every month I need to review goals. Every week I need to make sure of a tactical direction of reading, reviewing, talking about with trusted friends, confessing sin, repenting, praying good self-revealing prayer, being and pressing into transparency, cultivating a preparedness to give an account of the "hope inside me." Every day I need to put my feet on the floor as I roll out of bed and acknowledge my dependence upon God and my need for God. (Lamentations 3:21-26 is a good good scripture to remember in declarative prayer as my eyes open on a new day...)
Lord Jesus: I praise You. What I have written above has been on my mind for many years. I keep reminders on my wall. This is something I speak to myself and others consistently. Hopefully I have spoken and written about it not in a spirit of condemnation but of candid response and with honorable transparency. This is a nail that needs to be pounded and pounded in me constantly (and through the end of my days). I want to grow; to be mature in Christ! This is a desire that You are pleased with and will honor (and rejoice about) when I pray towards this end. AMEN!