May 20, Saturday

The AMI QT Devotionals from May 15-21 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston.  Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard).  They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.


Examine Yourself

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

One of my seminary professors refused to give exams in his class because he had been scarred by all exams and tests he’d endured in his own education.  Even though I did fairly well with exams, his class was still one of my favorites in the seminary!  Few of us like the idea of exams:  We delay going to the doctor; we dread what we will hear from our auto mechanics.   There is even a school of thought in education that wants to eliminate high-stakes testing (i.e. state wide exams) in our public schools.  But we know that—even if we don’t like it—exams at some level are necessary.  They are necessary because sometimes we get off-course (even if we don’t want to acknowledge it). That’s why we need to check where we are and figure out where to go from there.

The church in Corinth had gotten off-course.  They had started in grace, but now division, anger, jealousy, spiritual pride and sexual immorality were serious problems.  They had begun to reject the teachings and authority of Paul who had originally started the church.  So as Paul concludes this letter, he commands the church in Corinth to examine itself.

The phrase “examine yourselves” (Ἑαυτοὺς πειράζετε) has three grammatical nuances in the Greek language that I’d like to point out:  First, it is imperitival, i.e. this is a command and not optional.  Second, it is in the present tense which has a continuous aspect; in other words, Paul is commanding, “examine yourselves and keep on examining yourselves.” This is not meant to be a one time or even semi-regular type of evaluation—we are to continually examine our hearts.  Third, the second person plural indicates that this is something that we are to do together.  While each of us is to examine ourselves individually, as a church, we also need to help each other examine ourselves.

Let us examine ourselves and keep ourselves moving toward Jesus.  Here are some possible questions to ask ourselves with the Spirit’s help:

  • Are you where you want to be in your relationship with Jesus?
  • Do you love Jesus today more than you loved Him yesterday?
  • When was the last time you thought about the cross?
  • Are you rationalizing away any sin?
  • Do you have people whom you have given permission to speak into your life?

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for Your grace.  Holy Spirit, please search our hearts and reveal any hidden sin or complacency within us.  We don’t want to do this in a spirit of legalism, for we know that we are not earning our salvation.  At the same time, we want Your incredible grace to continually be transforming us and drawing us closer to You.   In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Deuteronomy 13

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