“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5a)
It’s time to take a test. Don’t worry this test will not affect your GPA. But this test is far more important than your academics.
I have one question to ask you: Where are you in your faith?
Now be honest with yourself, don’t lie saying you are doing just fine. For me to truly answer myself this question, I break it down into multiple questions:
What is your prayer life like? Are you praying often? And if you are, what are you praying for?
Are you attempting to enlighten others through the gospel? Are you trying to win an argument for the sake of yourself and the argument? Do you look at others and tell them why they’re wrong and you’re right? Are you providing this person comfort in the Word of God? Is your goal to boast your intelligence or to point others to God?
Do you seek help? My last blog I mentioned that you need someone like a Paul and a Timothy in your life. Do you have a Paul-like friend who can provide you wisdom that continually points back to Christ? Do you have a mentor that can help you mature more and more spiritually?
Can you take criticism from others? When your friends point out your wrongs, how do you respond? Do you respond humbly? Do you turn the other cheek? Or do you respond in outrage and in anger?
What is your motive? What are you aiming for? Is your goal to further yourself in the gospel or is your goal for self-centered?
Finally, are you always focused on God and His glory? Is what you’re doing glorifying God or is what you’re doing for selfish reasons?
Pondering through these questions, I would assume that you would say that you’re not in a place that you want to be in as of right now. And that’s okay. Our relationship is not going to ever be perfect or what we want it to be ideally. But we can grateful that Christ’s faith is perfect. He is good and fulfilled the covenant that God said in the Old Testament that He would do when the Messiah came. For the Bible tells us, “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
So, why am I asking you this exactly? Well for many reasons. One being that it is good to reflect on your relationship with God and focus on the areas of sin in your life that need to be attended to. Another reason being that our relationship with God and our spiritual maturity our reflected on our character.
Character is what defines you. It is what you are and how you choose to live your life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Now, no one on earth will never really know our true selves, but the scary thing for me is: God also knows who I truly am. He knows everything about me, every memory, every thought, everything that I have said and done. He knows all and sees all (Psalm 139:7-8). So, if you are hiding your true character from others, you aren’t hiding anything from God.
Good character is an important quality to have not just as a person but as a Christian as well. Solomon defined character as something better than our own appearance (Ecclesiastes 7:1a).
God designed us specifically to glorify and proclaim His name in everything we do. I’m sure that everyone at Cedarville usually correspond to character to Boaz from the book of Ruth which is good, but how can we specifically improve our character? One of the many areas in the Bible that gives us a good illustration is in Colossians where Paul commands the people of Colosse:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these things put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12-17).
It is hard to do, yes, but my mission for you is to continue to strive for perfection, become more like Jesus. We are going to continually fail but let’s not forget why we do this: to become closer with God and to allow our lives to be a glimpse of who He is and His glory to others. So I hope that you may continually ask yourselves those questions I gave to you earlier so that you, may flourish into greatness.