Have you ever had a pastor or Christian teacher urge you to examine yourself? Let’s talk about what that means.
You see, I’ve recently written a few posts about backsliding, sharing my own experience as a backslidden Christian, some must-read Scriptures for backsliders, and a simple prayer that can start the process of restoration.
Is it possible for Christians to be backslidden? Is it possible to get so caught up in pleasure or comfort or doubt that we drift away from God, and that sometimes we don’t even want to return right away?
Yes, it’s possible for Christians to have this kind of experience. I’ve had it myself.
But it’s also possible that this kind of experience is a big, blazing red flag alerting you to the need to examine yourself.
In Scripture, we read Paul admonishing the Christians in Corinth to examine themselves to see whether they were really in the faith, and I believe that’s still a good practice for Christians today.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?2 Corinthians 13:5
That word “examine” involves making proof of something. To examine yourself is to consider what your life is proving.
Do the patterns of your life prove that your faith is genuine?
Here’s a helpful comparison Jesus made. Speaking of false prophets, He said in Matthew 7 that people are distinguishable by their fruit.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.Matthew 7:15-20
The “fruit” of our lives is exactly what we need to examine to make sure that our faith is sincere. Here are just a few spiritual checkup questions that can help in this examination process.
Spiritual Checkup Questions
1.Are you as close to God as you’ve ever been? (In other words, can you think of a time in your life when you were closer to God than you are now?)
2.If you’ve strayed from God, does some part of you miss the closeness you once had with Him?
3.Have you sensed conviction about your sin (even if you haven’t yet heeded it)?
4.Do your affections follow the things of the world or the things of God? (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:1-5)
5.Does the pattern of your life align more closely with the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:16-26)
Assurance of Salvation
This could be the perfect time to evaluate whether you are truly in the faith. Here are two other articles from the blog archives that may shed more light on this topic:
This is so important to consider, dear one. Many, many people are deceived about the state of their heart before the Lord, and will in fact remain that way until they die without Him. (Matthew 7:21-23) Oh, how I pray that you aren’t counted among them!
If you’re uncertain or confused, please know that God doesn’t want this to remain a mystery to you. He doesn’t turn away an earnestly seeking, humble heart. So reach out to Him in faith–even just a mustard seed’s worth–today, and don’t rest until you find assurance of salvation!
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