Summary: Testing our spirituality
July 21, 2013
”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?”
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Last Monday I was suppose to go to the VA at Mather in Sacramento for a MRI exam. Those aren’t too bad. I have known a couple of people who have freaked out while taking them, my mom being one, but I’m not too afraid of closed in spaces, I just close my eyes and go to my little happy place in my mind, so they are pretty easy for me. Some other kinds of exams are pretty tough, tho. You probably have had some unpleasant exams in your life.
Another kind of exam that we have to take occasionally is educational exams. In high school and college it was a pretty big deal. I remember Julie and a lot of other friends would cram for the exam and do all nighters trying to prepare for it. For some reason I always kind of enjoyed them. One of the keys to doing well is the less stressed you are about them – the better you will do. In High School I didn’t do too well because I didn’t care about my education. In college I did quite well because I did care and wanted to learn. Attitude is everything isn’t it. Some said “attitude is like a paint brush – it colors everything you do.” And it does, doesn’t it?
This morning I want to talk about taking a spiritual exam. We need to test ourselves. We need to keep our finger on our spiritual pulse. Some people never do that. They never question where they are spiritually. Sometimes they arrogantly think, “I’m just fine. It doesn’t matter how I live. Jesus did it all!”
Really? They why does the Bible repeatedly tell us to test ourselves or examine ourselves or consider our ways, etc? I think we CAN go astray. We can get off. Therefore we need to consider our lifestyle and our focus and so on. Some people even convince themselves that the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth. Therefore it is important to examine ourselves once in a while.
Let me give you five helps in testing yourself to see if you are in the faith or not. I’m sure there are many more and probably some very individual questions or areas to examine that are just between you and God. These are just what I consider five of the more important areas to exam. And let me quickly say that you obviously can get OUT of the faith – You CAN fall out of the center of God’s will – or the Bible wouldn’t say you could.
First, you need to examine your Bible Study habits. Do you even make Bible reading and Bible Study a habit? Most Christians don’t. They think they don’t have time for it. In reality, we don’t have time for anything else until we make time for God – otherwise all our efforts are pointless anyway. The bible says,
“...from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
How do you grow in grace? You use what you have. How do you grow in the knowledge of Jesus? You study. Paul writes the young pastor,
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Are you doing your best to find approval from the Lord? Do you believe He would say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I have put reading the Bible and studying it as the first thing to test in our spiritual lives for a couple of reasons. 1. You connect to God when you read His Word. There is a spiritual connection. It is almost an act of prayer.
2. You must become familiar with God’s promises to grow in faith. Faith is built on hope and hope come from learning and believing God’s promises. We do that by reading them.