“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless you fail the test?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
Paul instructed the members of the church in Corinth to test themselves in order to determine if they were true followers of Jesus. His counsel should still be followed today by those who claim to be Christians. If it is important to examine our physical health, how much more valuable it is to examine our spiritual health. So, are you willing to take this spiritual test? If so, answer the following four questions and see where you stand.
1. The Discernment Test: Do you have spiritual understanding? Yes or no? Can you discern the spiritual meaning of the truths contained in God’s Word? This is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself. Now what does it mean to have spiritual understanding? It simply means that you are able to hear the truths of Scripture and understand their spiritual meaning. The only way you can understand spiritual truth is if it has been revealed to you. Moreover, the One who reveals spiritual truth is the Holy Spirit. Finally, the only way you can experience this spiritual revelation is if the Spirit of God lives IN you. Does He? A careful reading of 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 will provide you with more truth concerning the role of the Holy Spirit in conveying spiritual wisdom to true believers.
2. The Witness Test: Do you share your faith with others? Have you ever shared your faith in Jesus with someone else? Yes or no? Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matthew 5:14-16). Martin Luther said, “If he has faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and [shares] the gospel [with] people at the risk of life itself.” Have you ever shared your faith with a friend? If not, why not?
3. The Hunger Test: Do you hunger for more light and more truth from God’s Word? Yes or no! In Mark 4:24-25, Jesus said, “Consider carefully what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you — and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” What did Jesus mean with these words? He meant that we are to earnestly contemplate how we respond when we hear God’s spoken word or when we read His written word. How do you respond? Do you believe it? Do you hunger for more of it? Do you truly love the Word of God and believe all that is written in the Bible? Jesus is saying that if you believe one truth, more truth will be revealed to you. You will receive more and more. But, for the one who rejects the truth, even the little he has will be of no value to him. Our spiritual health and eternal destiny are at stake. How we respond to God’s Word carries eternal consequences. So, take heed. Listen carefully. And ask Jesus to give you ears to hear.
4. The Fellowship Test: Have you ever had real fellowship with Jesus? Yes or no! What does it mean to have fellowship with God? 1 John 1:3 and 6 says, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ… If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
This is the most important question of the four. Have you ever experienced real fellowship with Jesus? First, do not rely upon your feelings because feelings are often wrong. If you are earnestly spending time in prayer, and earnestly spending time reading God’s Word, and asking Him to speak to you, then I don’t care how you feel, because what you are doing is real, genuine fellowship with God.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “‘Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I WILL listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I WILL be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” Jesus says in John 10:14 and 27, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Here is my final word on this subject. I can’t tell you whether or not you have had fellowship with Jesus. Only you can answer that question. All I know is this, true believers, those who are inside the family of God, hear His voice, they follow Jesus, and they truly understand what it means to have fellowship with God.
So, examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless you fail the test? My greatest desire, for each one of you, is that you do not fail this test.