Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
As indeed dark days befall upon us, perhaps now is a good time to look inward upon ourselves. It is easy to look at the external world in chaos, a Church in apostasy, and even our own families in disorder. But how often do we examine ourselves? Let’s face it, we still do miss the mark and fail. There were times in my life that I ran far from God, and was mired in a back-slidden state where I looked no different than the world around me. Praise the Lord that HE is the Good Shepherd and leaves the 99 to go after the one. ALL of us at one time or another were that one lost sheep.
Indeed, God is a God of LOVE. His Mercy and Grace run deep. Nevertheless, this does not give us license to sin as we please. Run far away from and totally ignore the hyper-grace that promotes licentious living. So called Christians that accept homosexuality (or whatever sinful habit) as if it is ok with God and just you go on in that condition, because God loves you. ******WARNING DANGER WARNING*********
God tells us differently: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21–23)
Well, I’ll be… That seems to be a different tune then what those false teachers are tickling in my ear. “Depart from me” says Jesus, the One who will Judge humanity. I’m not an Einstein, not even an Ein, or even a Stein, but I think I would rather err on the side of what Almighty God says than foolish man. Perhaps it is wise to heed the words of Jesus rather than discard them.
My wife Marie asked me this the other day. “Do you fear the end times coming?” I sincerely put some thought into that and responded, “I fear God. As believers, it’ll do us good to fear the LORD. After all it is deemed wise… “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
Knowing this, do we ever take enough time to examine ourselves? I honestly must admit, no. There are things with me that need to change. I am by far not where I need be, but PRAISE THE LORD, I am not where I once was. Nevertheless, we all can use time to examine and correct (repent). The Bible is replete with the theme of repentance and turning back to God.
Right now, in Judaism is the season of the High Holy Days and the Ten Days of Awe. These are the Biblical feast of Rosh Hashanah (feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) The central theme of the holidays is “Teshuva” (Hebrew: תשובה, literally, “return”) It is akin to repentance. Whereas repent is turning away from sin and Teshuva is returning to God. Ps 51 the famous Psalm of repentance known in Judaism as Perak Teshuva. David, a man after God’s heart (as proclaimed by God Himself) fell into sin with Bathsheba, and had her husband murdered to cover it up up. When confronted by the prophet Nathan, David replied “I have sinned”: Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. (Psalm 51:1–4)
There is no sin too deep that is beyond the forgiveness of God. But you must turn back to Him and repent. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Let us look deeply at our own faults and return to Him: Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord; (Lamentations 3:40)
As believers we must always examine ourselves. It is a practice that will do us well. Lord knows it is very easy to see the faults in the wicked world, and the faults of other believers. I do believe that we must examine ourselves firstly then out to the exterior. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3–5)
If you are not saved and do not know the LORD, I earnestly appeal to you to seek Him now! Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
He is, after-all patient: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9), but sooner or later the door of the ark will close, and the flood will consume you. for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Let us all spend some time in self-examination and teshuva/ repent where needed!
Our Jewish friends this time of year say: L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem. May you and yours be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good and sweet new year.
To that, I say. May your name be found written in the Lamb’s book of Life!