(5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
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God intends for us to discover the reality of our nature. Of course, it is impossible to fathom it entirely, but we can and must come to grips with the potential for evil that exists in every one of us. We must at least annually measure the extent that we have overcome the evil in us and the sincerity of our commitment to our relationship with God. As we examine ourselves this and every year, God expects us to prepare ourselves as mature Christians, to rededicate ourselves to Him afresh at Passover and to put sin out of our lives diligently and actively.
If we sincerely ask God in faith, He will reveal our inward, hidden faults to us (see Psalm 19:12-13; 51:6; 139:23-24). It is important that we not be overly discouraged by what He reveals. It is human nature. It has lived and grown within us for as long as we have lived, and it takes long years to overcome its influence. In fact, we cannot entirely escape it in this flesh, a compelling reason Christians long for the resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ.
Rather than wallow in discouragement, we should channel our energies in eradicating its power over our lives (see II Corinthians 7:9-11). Paul tells us in Romans 7:14-23 that, to his shame and regret, he often did what he hated, sin, and conversely, he did not do what he really wanted to do. Yet, the same apostle also writes in verse 25: "I thank God - [I am delivered from my sinful flesh] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." As long as we are "in the flesh," we will sin, but we must continually - daily - repent and ask God for help in fighting our carnal nature.
God has promised the overcoming if we do our part. Although every imaginable wrong influence in this age besets us, we must remember that God has promised to stick with us and give us the help we need: "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will not fear'" (Hebrews 13:5-6).
In Psalm 119:57-60, the author intimates that it is a Christian's obligation to turn again, day after day and year after year, to God, saying:
You aremy portion, O LORD; I have said [declared, promised] that I would keep Your words.I entreated Your favor with mywhole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word.I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments.
By doing so, we will, due to God's help, succeed in attaining eternal life.
When approaching the Passover season, we would do well to fast, dedicating a whole day to searching the Scriptures and ourselves. We need to make sincere inquiry of God regarding our sins and shortcomings, so that God will never need to reveal them to us in condemnation.
Let us recall I Corinthians 11:28-30:
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
Notice verse 31:"For if we would judge ourselves, we would not [need to] be judged." Christ is the righteous Judge. He would much rather we judged ourselves and turned to righteousness than have to point out our faults to us.
In II Timothy 4:7-8, Paul speaks of his life's accomplishments. He knew he had run the course of his life in a way that was "pleasing" to God. He described it this way:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
He is speaking about us!
We have no need to be discouraged at Passover time. It is our opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Almighty God and renew our dedication to putting on the new man. As James says, sometimes we have not because we ask not (James 4:2). We need to ask God for a clean heart before Him, as well as for hope, joy, peace, and a close, personal relationship with Him and His Son.