Frank Retief was pastor at St James Church Cape Town for 31 years, having planted the church in 1968 with his wife Beulah. He became the Presiding Bishop of the Church of England in South Africa until he retired in 2010. Frank remains active in ministry through preaching, teaching , pastoral work & writing, and has authored a number of books.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves”
If you are into gym exercise you will know that you are repeatedly told to strengthen your core muscles i.e. back, side, hips, abdominal muscles and so on.
According to Harvard Medical School there are all sorts of advantages to your body, health and sense of well-being.
I think the same is true for us as Christians. We continually need to go back to basic spiritual truths so that we can remain strong, assured and growing spiritually. Hence Paul advises his friends in Corinth to examine themselves. We should do the same. But how do we examine ourselves?
We all know what it means to keep a check on ourselves in other areas of life. Diets are a great example. We usually start off with great enthusiasm, then we begin to cheat a little; then we begin to cheat a lot. Eventually we abandon our diet, but it’s not as if we did not know we were doing so.
So with our spiritual lives. We need to keep examining ourselves and the examination should probe our inner lives. We know very well when we begin cheating spiritually. We should ask ourselves certain questions. Do we still believe what we said we believed when we became Christians? Are we still unashamed of Christ? Do we still maintain our devotion to Him? Are we faithful to Him when the going gets hard?
Paul says “test yourselves”. If Christ is in you, you cannot help being a Christian and doing the right thing even though it is sometimes very hard. Is your spiritual core strong?
It would help us immensely if we kept up a regular bible reading programme accompanied by times of meditation on what we read. And of course we should be in church regularly with other believers to worship God.
These and a whole host of things which are really simply common sense can help us to examine ourselves and our devotion to Christ. In this way we assure that our spiritual core remains strong.
“Almighty God, I feel I have been losing my grip on you lately. I need to keep examining myself. Please help me. Thank you for knowing and loving me in spite of my weaknesses. Please give me grace to strengthen my inner self to love you, serve you and glorify you each day”.