EXAMINE YOURSELF - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
There is nothing more important to your future, both on this earth and in eternity than choosing to accept Christ as your Saviour. That choice should then make a difference in your way of living and thinking, but how often do we stop and examine ourselves to see if we are abiding in Him? This should be done daily to be sure that we are living for Him, and not for our own fleshly desires. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." 1 John 2:6. It is important for every Christian to examine their life to see how they have grown since accepting Christ and to see if there are any changes that need to be made. If we claim to be His follower we need to walk in His ways
The way to test your life and attitudes to see if you are growing closer to God is to measure them against God's word. For instance, what is your desire? Do you desire the things of God, or of man? Don't measure yourself by human standards but by God's. You cannot trust your human heart to draw you nearer to Christ. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-10. Most people desire things, such as a better car, a bigger house, or fancier clothes. Is that what a Christian's desire should be? These things are the desire of the human heart, which is wicked. It isn't wrong to have a nice car, but what sacrifices do you make to get it? Do you sacrifice service to God by working long hours to pay for worldly treasures? Does your fancy car occupy a place in your heart which is above that of Jesus? When you examine your life remember what Jesus says our desire should be. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33. First seek God. Then He will supply our needs. Our Heavenly Father knows we need food, drink, and clothing. We may not eat lobster tail every night, but our bellies will be full because He will provide. As a Christian, be sure your desire is to live for Him...not for the desires of a wicked heart. As you examine yourself, pray that God will search your heart and help you to desire His ways.
Christian's should be righteous, but not self-righteous. Christian righteousness is correctness of thinking and feeling which is Christ-like. When you examine yourself, see if you seek allow the righteousness of God to show through your life. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." 1 John 3:7. The truly righteous things we do are only through God's righteousness. God entered His creation and lived His life here showing us what His righteousness is like. Jesus loved those who followed Him, but He also loved His enemies. He served in humility rather than requiring to be served. His love was manifest every time He healed a leper or fed the hungry. He only came against the Pharisees who put their hope in the approval of the world and who desired religious control; they had no Godly righteousness in them. A Christian needs to emulate Jesus, not those who oppose Him. Take a good look at your life and see if you desire to do righteous acts as Jesus did. If not, maybe you need to ask Him to help you grow closer to Him.
Christians represent God, and that fact should humble even the most proud person. The motive for all we do should reflect God. If we do all things in order to glorify Him, then we can be sure that others who watch us will see God glorified in our life. "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." 1 John 3:10-11. It isn't always easy to love another human, even if that human is a brother or sister in Christ, but we are admonished to love one another. Godly righteousness a purity of life based upon Christian values.
Righteousness is important to a Christian's way of living and Jesus named it in two of the Beatitudes "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6. When you examine yourself you need to see how strong your desire is to please God. Do you hunger and thirst for a correctness of thinking and feeling (righteousness), or do you give in to the desires of a wicked heart? "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10. Most of the people around us will laugh at us for making Godly choices. We may be ridiculed if we choose not to gossip or choose not to go to see a movie which is ungodly. Our motives for everything we do in this life it should be to please God, not our fellow man. If we desire to please God then any ridicule that comes our way should be expected. If the persecution we feel is for righteousness' sake then it won't matter. When we choose to please God we have made the right choice.
Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? If your self-examination reveals that you prefer to spend your time with worldly, secular people rather than fellow Christians then you need to make an attitude change. Christians need to fellowship together. We need the support of fellow Christians in order to keep from the evil influence of this world. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." 2 Corinthians 6:17. If, upon self-examination, you find that you prefer the company of the secular world to that of fellow Christians then you need to do some honest evaluation of whether you are right with God...or even if you have truly accepted Christ. Christians have nothing in common with the secular world and need to keep separate. It's true that we sometimes have to associate with the unsaved, but we need to separate ourselves from those who don't care about Christ. The unsaved see nothing wrong with foul language, gossiping, casual sexual encounters, coveting what others have, and much more. Christians need to be a witness for Christ to these people, but unfortunately the unsaved seem to influence a Christian rather than the other way around. "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." 1 John 5:2. If you love God you will be very uncomfortable around the lost people who care nothing for Him and His ways. If you love God you will keep His commandments. Keep in mind that you will be spending eternity with your brothers and sisters in Christ so you need to enjoy their company now. If you prefer the ways of secular people then you need to really question if you meant it when you accepted Christ.
In your self-examination, honestly ask yourself if the Holy Spirit dwells in you. When a person first accepts Christ, rather than just saying some words that meant nothing to you, the Holy Spirit is sealed within that person. Changes should begin to happen and their life should reflect Jesus. He or she should move away from the lusts of the flesh and the desires of this world. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9. We may slip occasionally and sin, but if the Holy Spirit dwells in us we will be convicted of that sin. We will ask forgiveness from the One who died for us and change our life to conform to Christ. The only way to understand what God views as sin is to study His word. There are things that some Christians deem as sin, but aren't called sin in God's word. On the other hand, there are things that are an abomination to God but winked at by many so-called Christians. Homosexuality, sexual relations outside of a one man/one woman marriage, murder (even if called abortion), hatred towards another person, envy, pride...the list goes on. These are all works of the flesh. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:13-14. If you can casually participate in the things that God sees as abomination, then maybe you haven't truly accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. At the very least you are not in fellowship with Him. Examine yourself carefully and honestly.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. Our salvation is not based upon a set of religious rules of do this and don't do that, but if your life and attitudes have not been changed by your acceptance of Christ's free gift, then you need to get to know Him better. You need to learn to love what He loves, and hate what He hates. He doesn't hate people, but He does hate sin. If you claim Him as your Saviour then you need to examine yourself to be sure that you are allowing Him to change you and draw you closer. Study His word and apply it to your life. We are all a work in progress, but we cannot draw nearer to God and be happy in our sin.
Desire to please God. Examine yourself and allow God to reveal the changes you need to make. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. Is there any secret thing in your life that you don't want known? God knows about it. Allow Him to help you in examining your life. Prayerfully allow Him to reveal to you any wickedness you may be harboring and holding onto. Then, allow Him to help you change. Come away from the world and the evil therein in order to serve Him better.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
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