06 March, 2013
How Do We Examine The Self?
Because I have been bedridden the past few days with fever, sore throat and sinus infection which I do not recall ever having it so bad. I had time to think about my life and where I went wrong in my Christian walk. I know I was heavy handed by God. In my Blog I mostly mentioned the good things that came out of my encounter with Him, and all the experiences. But I know if I was to talk about how specifically He led me there, it would be depressive to anyone reading.
I was growing slowly, but I was also drifting in this life mainly because of what I have been taught and because of what was around me. No one ever helped me understand how important it was to examine myself. I mean by that examining yourself according to the Holy Spirit’s way not your own way. I have to say while they did not find it important to teach us this doctrine but we had the type of mentality where we check our spiritual pulse by checking how well we have the basic Christian behaviour down pat according to those “don’ts” of the Bible. If we could put a check mark for attending Church regularly, we were okay. There was also how much you get engaged in serving in the Church as well as doing evangelism. Another one was how often do we pray and donating the 10% that we ought to.
Well, I passed all these spiritual check marks with flying colors but they did not help me understand where I was hindering God’s work in me. They did not help me walk in the Spirit or live out God’s plan for my life. In these areas I was failing miserably and clueless like everyone in the Church.
But, over time, I learned that examining self goes so much deeper than that, way much deeper. When we examine self, it is more important to examine the depth of our obedience to His Word and our relationship with Him before we even bother asking ourselves the hard personal questions we do not want to touch. We have to make sure we know that we are growing steadily with Him so ask: are you growing spiritually? And if you do not know what it is, here is your answer. Some of us tend to think just because we have accumulated more head knowledge of the Bible, we can discuss more doctrines, we are growing spiritually but that is a big lie of the devil.
You should also ask yourself questions like: are you aware of the improvement of your relationship with the Holy Spirit? How long has it been since you heard Him talking to your heart? How committed are you to this Christian life? Don’t answer that one just because you fulfill some obligation. Your commitment should come from love and gratitude for what Christ had done for you. It should be because you have such a burning desire to know Him. You reach the height of your commitment to Him when you can say with everything that you are, take all of me and I will follow you wherever you lead.
You should know if you have been trying to use excuses not to go forward with Him? Are you taking His Word for granted? Are you taking Him for granted? How many times you pray during the day? How many times do you think of Him during the day? Are you living a life focused on Him? If not what are you focusing on? Are you sure you are walking in His will for your life? Don’t be so sure because of what you are doing seem so good in the eyes of others, is pleasing to Him. And don’t think because you are helping others you are probably living out His plan for you. These are just a few examples of the questions you should ask yourself if you are truly looking into learning to examine yourself properly. I am still asking myself those questions all the time, even now. They will never go out of style as long as you are living in this earthly form.
It makes sense, if people in my Church knew how important it was to examine yourself with the Holy Spirit leading they would not have been a Pharisee style type of Church. It is the role of a pastor to teach from the pews and to insist, and reinforce some doctrines that we cannot escape and will not escape no matter how much we want to. These doctrines matters to God and we better have them down pat by the time we die. Such doctrines like Holiness, the salvation of the soul, surrender, the examination of self etc. I know if I had ever heard sermons from the pew of my Church, I would know how important they were. Since there was never a sermon on them, I assumed they were equally not as important in this Christian life. But, I will never stop saying this “we can only lead others as far as we have been with God for ourselves”
There are some doctrines in the Bible, you can never bluff your way through them and if you have not been there, your sermons sound empty and it shows what you are doing is repeating what you read. A lot of people can see it’s just a head knowledge. Some go as far as advancing their own opinion from their carnal life, on the doctrine they know nothing of. But to those who possess the real McCoy they will always know it was just that –opinion of the natural mind. You failed to feed God’s sheep.
We ought to examine ourselves even if we start slowly and we are not good at it yet. But we have to keep the habit of going to God with an open heart and ask Him to not only teach us how to examine ourselves in His light but to bring us to a place where we can do it with a willingness to see the hard things we do not want to touch, change or see. I do not believe as Christians we should be caught up with so many self-help books like the unbelievers world. We do not need self help books to teach us how to examine the self. What we need is to learn to obey and consecrate ourselves to Him. Any self help book that does not promote consecration and obedience to God first, and foremost, misses the mark. Through total obedience and true devotion of the heart to Him, everything else falls into play.
What do you know? I found out, it was also the job of the Holy Spirit to teach us how to examine the self, so your relationship with Him is of the utmost importance. Seek the Kingdom of God first.