Test. One word that ignites tension, stress, anxiety, and apprehension. Most of us don’t like taking tests, but our lives are full of them. From math tests in kindergarten to high school SATs or grad school finals, our entire education is based off of test-taking. Then in adulthood, we have driving tests, work related testing, and various other forms of tests. Our health is checked and evaluated based on tests—eye exams, blood tests, etc. In short, we use testing to measure all sorts of things, from competence in academics to whether or not we need more vitamins.
We are very familiar with the benefits and process of testing. So it should be no surprise that just as we test our physical health, we should also test our spiritual health. In fact, our spiritual testing should be of utmost importance to us, for the results from it have eternal impact. Therefore, let’s see what Paul said about spiritual testing.
“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!”
~II Corinthians 13:5
Fundamentally what do tests do? What are they meant to accomplish? They show whether we are lacking in anyway. They reveal truth. Do we always like the results? No, but the results show us exactly where we are.
Throughout the entire book of II Corinthians, Paul is talking to a wayward church--a church that doubted his authority, was led astray by false teachers, and was trying to enjoy sin while also claiming Christianity. Sound familiar? Yes, the church of America is following the same path as the Corinthians. Therefore, this message near the end is equally important to us as it was to those who first received it.
Chapter thirteen is the last chapter in II Corinthians. It’s short--only fourteen verses--but it contains vital information. As Paul neared the end of his letter, he packed in some of the most important, imperative instructions. What were they? Test yourselves. Why? To see if you’re in the faith.
Remember, Paul is writing to believers in an established church, yet he commands them and pleads with them to examine their lives for evidence of Jesus Christ. Why? Because if there is no evidence--if their lives were not changing--then the test would reveal that Jesus Christ was not in them, and that would mean that all Paul’s labors would be for naught.
The saving power of God, and the hope of the gospel ought to change our lives. We should be transformed and daily changing into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Why? Because the Holy Spirit dwelling within us is not idle, and at the moment of salvation we become new. Therefore, our daily lives should reveal this fact. But if the spiritual test does not find evidence of change, then we should become worried, since Paul told us that Jesus Christ is in us unless we fail the test.
So test yourself! See whether you are truly in the faith, and do it often. Not because you’re worried about losing your salvation, but to reveal marked progress in your spiritual life. For we should be constantly growing in our faith. So think of it as your yearly spiritual exam that makes sure your spiritual life is healthy, strong, and as it should be. For we would hate to reach the end of our life and realize that we had failed the test.
Therefore, be honest with yourself, for God already knows the truth, and examine yourself for evidence of transformation. The results may be painful, you may realize that you’re not actually where you should be spiritually, but I promise you this: you won’t regret it!
“I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.”
~II Corinthians 13:6
Here is a short questionnaire that Alex and Brett Harris designed after realizing the importance of taking stock of our spiritual condition. While it is not the only examination you should do with yourself (the Holy Spirit is a great tester, just ask Him to reveal your spiritual condition and He will!), but it is helpful in getting you started.
View the About page for more info on the author.
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