Today’s bible study is 2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?
Nobody likes to test themselves; usually for fear that they will fail. If is important, as Christians, to continually test ourselves to be sure we are practicing our faith and following Jesus as best we can. This is not something that will take a tremendous amount of time, and is not an easy test to fail, since God gives no grades. But, during each day, we can ask ourselves again and again: Is this what my faith teaches me to do?
We learned much of our faith as children and have added to it and improved upon it as adults, yet it is sometimes very easy to forget all of what we have learned. The chapter and verse may not be terribly important, but the concept is. The basic concepts of being a Christian, being a follower of Christ and living a life that emulated that of our Savior, is our goal. At any given time, probably all of us would fail such a test during a lesser moment. Again, we would surely ace the test when we let the light of Christ’s love shine in us, through us and around us.
To better understand this difficult verse, we share the commentary of Ray Stedman of Authentic Christianity who helps make it more understandable and biblically based: When we are out of line with Christian standards we have to ask ourselves, Am I a true Christian, or am I a counterfeit? Have I been born again, or am I only putting up a front? Those of us who are Christians ought to ask ourselves that occasionally. It is a good idea to examine yourself, especially if there is any kind of wrong behavior involved.
The very fact that the apostle could ask a question like that indicates that a possible answer is what marks true Christianity. A Christian, of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. Nor does adhering to a certain moral standard in your life or the fact that you consistently read the Bible make you a Christian. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ dwells. And the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that fact given to him or her. Paul is suggesting that we ask ourselves if we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us.
You may be asking: How can I know that? The answer is found in several places in Scripture. For instance, Scripture speaks of an inner witness. In Romans Paul says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” That is one way you can know. There is an inner testimony, a feeling, a sense within produced by the Spirit of God who dwells within that you are part of the great family of God.
Scripture speaks also of desires that are born in the heart of a new Christian. First Peter says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” One of the marks of born-again believers is that they have a deep and sudden thirst for the Word of God, a hunger to be fed, to know the truth of God.
May we continually remind ourselves that we are being tested and to test ourselves. Help us to be the best Christians we can and true followers of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.