Sunday, November 26, 2023

Examining Ourselves

By Jared Green
    No matter the stage of life, nobody likes tests. Be it a final test in a class in which you have struggled, a driver’s test, or a test the doctor ordered, tests often bring up bad images in our minds. Tests, however, are important in many instances because of their ability to expose the truth. Even in our Christian lives, we need to be ready and willing to test ourselves. Lamentations 3:39-40 explains the reason: “Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” In math class, a student may be able to fake success by copying another student’s homework, but when test day comes, the truth is exposed. The same is true spiritually.
    In 1 John 1-2, John teaches that there is a clear distinction between those who say they are following Christ and those who are genuinely following Christ. For John, those who are genuine are “walking in the light,” and those who fake it are “walking in darkness.” As we understand the importance of examining ourselves, let us look at John’s three-part test of genuine discipleship.
    First, a genuine disciple confesses his or her sins to God. John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1:8-9). While it may be tempting to deny, rationalize, or justify sin, a genuine disciple confesses sin and seeks God.
    Second, a genuine disciple practices obedience to God’s commands. In 2:4-5 we read, “Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.” A genuine disciple seeks genuine obedience.
    Third, a genuine disciple loves like Jesus. In a command that both came from and is shown in Jesus (2:7-8), John says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (2:9-10). Throughout our lives, may we examine ourselves in order that we may live as men and women who “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1:7). God loves you, and so do I.

- Jared Green preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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