Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13
You may have heard “the grass is always greener on the other side.” The idea is that things may appear better from a distance, but the reality is often not what you thought it would be. Self-examination is a difficult task to undertake, and it is never easy to give an honest opinion about ourselves to ourselves. In The Merchant of Venice, 1596, Shakespeare writes, “All that glitters is not gold.” As Christians, we need to take a step back and look at our lives in general.
For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
In this final chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul’s comments are made to notify the church of his upcoming third visit and to prepare them for what to expect. He shares that he believes there has been sufficient opportunity since his last visit for those in need of repentance to do so. With this visit, he will discipline those who continue to choose to sin over God’s instructions.
2 Corinthians 13:2
I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that next time I will not spare them.
Paul also tells the Corinthians of the need for periodic self-examination to prove that our faith in Jesus is real—noticing this will ensure that the God of love and peace will be with us.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
Paul’s hope is for them to be faithful, and he encourages them to engage in self-examination to prove whether they are faithful, and whether Christ is in them.
How can we be certain that our faith is genuine and our salvation is sure?
Do your actions show that you are a follower of Jesus?
Spend time in prayer and ask God to help you examine your faith. Ask yourself what your actions say about your beliefs. Do they confirm your claim to be a follower of Jesus? Talk to God about the areas in your life that are not matching up. Give them to him and ask for his help to grow in those areas.
Abba Father, we come before you to humble ourselves at your feet, asking you to bring mercy where judgment has been earned. We are deeply sorry for allowing our hearts to be led astray by our own desires and the things of this world, for the ways we have turned away from you and sinned against you. Amen!
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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