“Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith.“
What you focus your attention on is the most crucial things in life. It determines what you believe about yourself and what you believe about God. Even Jesus said that your eyes are the windows to your heart. Your focus will shape both your physical and spiritual life.
Self-focus or self-examination isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it leads to spiritual growth. However, some people mistakenly assume that it’s a biblical mandate! After all, didn’t God tell us to “examine ourselves”?!
With that in mind, sometimes there is a tendency to ask ourselves: “Do I even measure up spiritually? Have I truly repented for that situation? Do I pray enough? Is God really pleased with me? Why can’t I be like so-and-so who seems so perfect in all these areas?”
The truth is focusing on yourself (or naval gazing as I call it), can keep you in a place of feeling disappointed, discouraged, and even defeated and rejected. It keeps you focused on yourself rather than all that Jesus has already done for you. Stop it!
Thinking like this is in short part of a victim mentality. We can either be a victim by circumstance or a victim by choice. Please don’t choose to stay in that place, instead allow God to show you your true self based on how He sees you.
What Does God Say About Self Examination?
Now let’s check and see what God has to say about self-examination: There are only two mentions of self-examination in Scripture, and neither teaches us to indulge in self-focus. Wow, now that’s a fact we can focus on!
Firstly, Paul challenged the Corinthians about tolerating gross sin in their church. There was a man in that congregation who was having an affair with his stepmother, and no one seemed bothered by it. And because they had not repented of the impurity, sexual sin, and debauchery in which they were indulging in in 2 Corinthians 12:21, Paul wrote,
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
This wasn’t an invitation to self-focus, but instead a spiritual health check-up: “See whether you are in the faith.”
Secondly, Paul corrected the Corinthians on how they were behaving during the Lord’s Supper. This was because some believers were getting drunk on communion wine, so he said,
“Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” – 1 Corinthians 11:28 NIV
Paul was not suggesting we become fixated on our bad traits and flaws, but on the liberating truth that Jesus paid the price for all our sin – past, present, and future! And when we receive this truth, we become dead to our old man, can focus on ourselves as the new creation that we now are, and continue to grow into the maturing son of God whom He sees us as!
Focusing on Jesus
The Bible says,
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” – Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Growth, joy, and victory lay in abandoning unhealthy self-focuses and staying Christ-focused regarding who we are in Him and Him in us! Now that’s something to keep in the forefront of our minds and hearts. Praise the Lord!