Self-Examination: The Way to Maturity

1Corinthians 1:10-11 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit, For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

These mysteries are now revealed through the Holy Spirit. But as Paul said, these truths are for the mature. Those who are still carnal will either not understand them, or else, as in the case of some well known leaders, will run off on a tangent with a bit of understanding and miss the truth of Christ. An example of the latter is the health/wealth, name-it/claim-it theology: They take the truth that we are healed by His stripes (Isaiah 53) and teach that believers should command God to heal them or else they will stop following Him. That is not faith, but sheer chutzpah, total hubris, ignorant pridefulness. They twist the Law of sowing and reaping to say that if you want God to give you a hundred-thousand dollars, you should give Him ten thousand first as seed faith, so that He will perform on demand.

GOD IS SOVEREIGN!, not man. Some even say things such as that God is subject to the laws of the universe and can only work on earth through legally permitted means – but the Bible teaches that God IS the law of the universe. He is the absolute ruler, the King of all kings, Lord over everything, more powerful than any earthly dictator or emperor ever thought of being. He heals according to His grace and mercy, not because of our demands. He saves by His own will and power, not because we deserve it. But enough about these carnal teachings.

As we abide in the Spirit of God, He will reveal these deeper truths to our heart and spirit.

Ephesians 3:16-19  …that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the  love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It is as the Spirit strengthens our inner man and we become rooted and grounded in the faith of Christ through love that we can begin to comprehend what Christ has bought for us in His great love, and be filled with the fullness of God.
Examine yourselves

Much, if not most, of the church today does not develop this attitude of examining themselves to see where they are not walking in the faith of Christ. Their nature deceives them into thinking they are basically all right, when in fact they are, at best, mere infants in Christ. They do not let their born again spiritual man search themselves to learn where they need to grow, but instead listen to their natural man which will hear none of that stuff.

The Bible gives warning to those who will not examine themselves to find the truth. 2Thessalonians 2:7-12 explains that the antichrist spirit comes with all unrighteous deception among those who do not receive the love of the truth which brings salvation and spiritual growth. If we will not learn God’s true ways and apply them to our lives, the devil will be more than happy to instruct us in false religion. All believers should echo King David, who wrote several Psalms asking God to search him and show him where he is in disobedience and error so he can mend his ways and honor God.

If this is not our heart’s desire, to love the truth and thereby love God – if we would rather go our own way in the natural fleshly pleasures of unrighteousness – God Himself may will send strong delusions that we would continue to believe the lies. Like the Pharaoh in Egypt when God delivered Israel from slavery – some of the times Pharaoh hardened his own heart against God’s will and judgments, therefore God was just in hardening Pharaoh’s heart during other plagues so that he remained under God’s wrath.

Note that this warning of judgment of delusion is not directed against those who hate their sin nature but struggle to find the victory. This warning is for those who embrace their natures and ignore the truth, like the lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-19; They think they are doing great, are rich, healthy, etc., but in reality are spiritual paupers at risk of being vomited out. They will not receive the chastening of the Lord and repent, so God is just in letting them blindly following their lies.

God gives freely

1Corinthians 2:11b-13 Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

If we have truly believed upon Christ for salvation, we have the Holy Spirit. By Him we can examine and know ourselves in truth. In Him we can also know the things that God has freely given to us. But these things do not come by natural reasonings of human wisdom, but by the Spirit of God Who knows the deep thing of God.
Scripture tells of several things freely given by God. Romans 6:23, one of the best known verses of the Bible, says that “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

Eternal life is one gift that is freely given by God. We  earn judgment and death, so it is a wage or payment earned. All it takes to earn that wage is to work a single sin. But God offers by His grace the free gift of eternal life to those who will receive it. Even the very faith to believe is a gift from God (Ephesian 2:8).

In 1Corinthians 7:7 Paul says that each person has different gifts or abilities from God. In context he is speaking of having no need for a wife for himself, having no real struggle with fleshly lusts in this area. Every one of us has our strong points which pose no real problems in our obedience to Christ. An example I can give from my own life is forgiveness. That is not to say that my flesh cannot be stirred up to anger against another person for a moment, but after a short time, rarely more than a day, it fades away and my feelings toward that person are as if I had never been offended. And as I grow in maturity in the Lord I am less easily offended in the first place. I can look at my own weaknesses and shortcomings and say, “What right do I have to condemn them, when I have all these personal failings of my own.”

Then there are the supernatural gifts of the Spirit discussed in 1Corinthians 12 and 13, such as healings and prophecy and miracles. These gifts are given freely as the Spirit wills and when He wills.
1John 3:1  He has freely called us children of God. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but I know it shall be too marvelous for words. We do know that we will be like the resurrected Jesus.
In fact, Scripture tells us that all good things come from God, that they are all gifts, even to the unbeliever.

Godly Wisdom

1Corinthians 2:13a   These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches…

We see what happens when man’s wisdom enters the church. We end up with thousands of denominations and independent churches, and cults that base their religion on the Bible by the score. We get divisions and factions and cliques within a church.  Or churches bow to worldly wisdom and politically-correct drivel as if it were equal to God’s Word, even to the point of interpreting the Bible in the light of man’s wisdom.

2:14-16  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they  are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has know the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Many Christians, even among teachers and preachers, prefer to give God a piece of their own minds, their own thoughts and opinions, rather than to seek after and desire to know His thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own. Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance we cannot understand God’s will, for the natural man cannot receive the things of God. Yet still we tend to put in our own two cents, not realizing that our thoughts are not worth even the proverbial penny to God in Kingdom matters.

That is why we must learn to take every thought captive into the obedience of Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 10:5). Kingdom thinking is much different from the natural reasonings of man. We get plenty of practice thinking the way the world thinks – you might say that it comes naturally to us. Our spiritual childhood should be spent learning to take every thought captive, both the evil and those that seem to be good.

Every thought needs to be examined and prayed over so that God can teach us which come from Kingdom thinking and which are philosophical reasoning from the nature, which is an enemy of God and His Kingdom. As we exercise our understanding through doing this, we will learn to discern not only the good, but the evil as well. Those who are practicing these spiritual things judges all things, that is, tests and proves all things, whether they are from God.
We have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

The mind of Christ is humility and obedience to God. Jesus, who is the very form of God, did not consider His rights and honor of Deity something to be held on to at all costs; rather He emptied Himself and took on the form of man, a man of no reputation, a common, ordinary person of low position. He was willing to die in obedience to God’s purpose – even the horrible, shameful death of a convicted felon on the cross. Numerous passages also teach that if we have the mind of Christ in this way we can find unity with one another. But we must learn to put on the mind of Christ by crucifying our nature with its lusts and thoughts.

Question for thought: Do we examine ourselves daily to see where we are in the faith, and where we are not?

This entry was posted in Bible, Christian, Jesus Christ, Religion, Scripture, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s