My photo: the tender for the Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s a reminder that we need to deeply examine ourselves as a ship is examined in a drydock.
Search me o God and know my heart.
Test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you.
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24, NLT
Socrates is the one who is supposed to have remarked that “the unexamined life is not worth living”. God wants you to win the race, complete the journey and live the life that He has called you to live (Hebrews 12:1). However, real progress in living the life you were designed to live begins with examining your heart. It begins with the inward journey of prayerful examination, discovery and ends with a life well-lived.
A particular professional football player looked successful and appeared happy but suddenly erupted into such anger that he killed his wife and then took his own life before some of his team members. It was a shock to his friends and family. On the surface, he seemed so successful. But underneath, he was struggling mightily. I wonder if he ever took even spare moments to examine his own attitude, thoughts, and struggles. Did it ever occur to him to evaluate and examine his life daily on the basis of God’s love and ultimate purpose for him?
Imagine the life that you can live if you daily examine your heart, mind, and attitude in the light of God’s word. Such evaluation and examination can only be accurate and successful if we seek God’s help to show us how we are growing and where we also need to repent.
Like sheep, we so easily go astray from God’s path and so we need to pray: “Test me O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” (Psalm 26:2, NIV). In 1 Corinthians 11:28 and 2 Corinthians 13:5, we are reminded to examine our hearts to see if we really belong to Jesus. Do you know about Jesus, or do you really know and love Him in growing intimate relationship? Are you living according to His word or is your life about you instead of being all about Him (John 15:9-10)?
In1 Timothy 4:16, (NIV)the apostle Paul warns Timothy to “…watch your life and doctrine closely. (Examine yourself). Persevere in them, for if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”. Please note that Paul is really saying that intentional examination of our hearts before the Lord and our living in full dependence on Him will enable us to stay true to His holy word. The proof of our salvation is that we live and practice His word that we are sharing and teaching to others. Many of us know the experience of having our car or vehicle break down on the highway or that we suddenly discover that our vehicle needs costly repairs. The reason is that we may often neglect to regularly examine the mechanical health of our car. The self-examined life leads to blessed spiritual growth and adequate physical health so God can accomplish His intended purposes in and through us!
- Next Steps:
- For purity in your life: Pray God’s word in Psalm 139:23-24 back to Him as you start your day each morning.
- For integrity in and through your life: Meditate on 1 Timothy 4:16 and seek God’s help in your personal life examination, empowering you in practicing what you profess in daily relationships.
- For honesty in your character which infuses all facets of your life: Meditate on Hebrews 4:12-13 while allowing God to use His word to expose any lingering sin in your heart. God will use this response to develop you as a person of Christ-like honesty and integrity.