Have You Taken the Test?
Examine yourselves… 2 Corinthians 13:5
Two great philosophers have been credited with this maxim, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” It is true both Plato and Socrates said it. However we find that Plato was choosing to quote Socrates from the speech given at his trial. In this moment, Socrates was opting for death rather than exile or being reduced to a life of silence. Still today, people will dispute whether Socrates’ words hold a great truth. The apostle Paul would not question that. His own view of spiritual growth advised, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NLT)
It is true for at least three reasons. First, we should examine our lives to avoid a waste of our precious time. On multiple occasions in the Psalms and Proverbs we are advised to consider the length of our days. For what reason? That we might make adjustments to our lifestyles and live by the right priorities. It is a weighty matter to look back and find our lives heavily out of balance.
Secondly, if we seek a steady peace of mind, we should consider whether the character we show the world aligns with the intent we claim is in our souls. Behavioral examination is painful, but a way of pruning our lives with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, and this is most potent of Paul’s challenge, we are to examine ourselves in order to determine our conviction of actually being “in the faith.” In his letter to the Romans, Paul outlines a life of Christian living. He’s clearly saying that the converted soul produces an evidence worthy of the Kingdom of God. We don’t get to check off boxes toward perfection, but we do search our souls for signs of fruit. We “test ourselves” as respondents to God’s call.
A healthy self-exam is a worthy spiritual exercise!
Holy Spirit, guide my heart in true self-examination. Seek out where I need correction and shape me according to Your will. Amen