‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.’ 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
Self-focus isn’t necessarily bad if it leads to spiritual growth. However, some people mistakenly assume that it’s a Biblical mandate! After all, didn’t God tell us to ‘examine ourselves’? So with that in mind we start to wonder—‘Do I measure up spiritually? Have I truly repented? Do I pray enough? Is God pleased with me?’ The truth is, focusing on yourself can keep you feeling discouraged and defeated.
Let’s check and see what God actually says. There are only two mentions of self-examination in Scripture, and neither teaches us to indulge in self-focus. First, Paul challenged the Corinthians about tolerating gross sin in their church. A man was having an affair with his stepmother and no one seemed bothered by it. And because they had ‘not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they… indulged’ (2 Corinthians 12:21 NIV), Paul wrote, ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.’
This isn’t an invitation to self-focus, but a spiritual credential check-up. ‘See whether you are in the faith.’ Second, Paul corrected the Corinthians’ behaviour during the Lord’s Supper. Because some were getting drunk on communion wine, he said, ‘Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.’ (1 Corinthians 11:28 NIV) Paul’s not suggesting you become fixated on your flaws, but on the liberating truth that Jesus paid the price for all your sin—past, present, and future.
The Bible says to fix ‘our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.’ (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) Growth, joy, and victory lie in abandoning unhealthy self-focus and staying Christ-focused!
SoulFood: 2 Chr 16–18, John 12:37–50, Ps 102:18–28, Pro 27:13–16
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023