1 JOHN 1:6-10 – If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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 cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
THEME OF THE DAY. EXAMINING OURSELVES. Self-examination is a healthy discipline in the Christian life. It is also a necessary discipline for a couple of reasons. The first one is to keep a constant temperature on the spiritual condition of our heart. David would pray to the Lord, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24). His prayer wasn’t because God was uninformed as to the condition of his heart and needed help. No, this was a plea for God to show David what lurked deep inside his very being because he was incapable of such knowledge. The Psalmist knew well the truth from the prophet Jeremiah concerning the human heart – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
Another reason self-examination is healthy and necessary is God commands it. The Apostle Paul writes – 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! (2 Corinthians 13:5). Obedience is always for our good. God’s commands protect us. They don’t hinder or hurt us, they help guard us from self-deception and worldliness. So, how do we conduct objective self-examination of our lives to get a good assessment of our spiritual condition? Today’s scripture. There are five “if we” statements the Apostle John states which serve us well as tools of self-examination. Let’s consider three.
First is the self-examination of our talk matching our walk – “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). This one is not too difficult. Just look over the course of the day or past week. Do we see consistent and intentional patterns of obedience to God’s Word? Now don’t quickly say, “Yes, I obey. Not perfectly, but obedience marks my life.” Do a thorough investigation of the quality of our speech, the acts of love to other Christians, and the sharing of Christ with people. Are we obeying these? Self-examination is designed to increase obedience by revealing weak areas of obedience.
Next is self-examination of our theological understanding of sin – “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Ligonier Ministries in conjunction with Lifeway Research conducted a state of theology survey. Statement # 11 read “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.” I am assuming all of us are sitting down. I hope so when we share the response to that statement. 52 % of professing evangelical Christians agree with this statement. What???? The Bible is clear that no one is good, only God, and that humanity is not a little flawed, but totally depraved – dead in trespasses and sin (Matthew 19:17; Ephesians 2:1-3). Let’s examine ourselves to see if we are aligned Biblically, not culturally, with the depravity and the all-pervasiveness of sin in the human heart.
A third “if we” statement to be used for self-examination is confession of sin – “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). Are we confessing sin to the Lord? Keeping short accounts with Him? But remember, true confession leads to change. Confession without change is not confession. This is a great place for self-examination. It keeps our hearts sensitive to sin.
Examining ourselves. Commit to doing this important and necessary self-discipline. It will be one of the most helpful spiritual practices we may do to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).
PRAYER: “Father, search me, know me, and reveal to me anything that is displeasing to You.”
QUOTE: “Self-examination is not to make us feel bad about ourselves but to reveal how great God’s grace is.”