The following post is the first of three related posts written by Stu. All three will run consecutively for two days each. Please be sure to read all three.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Cor. 13:5
I am currently on a holiday for two weeks from work and it’s proving to be a good time to stop and listen to God where I need to work on my relationship with Him… boy there is so much to do!
God Gives us a New Heart of Flesh
As Christians, we are to examine ourselves constantly to ensure we are putting into practice what God teaches us through the Bible. When we become a Christian, God gives us a new heart, transforming our heart so that we may be receptive to and live for God (Ezekiel 11:19). This is what is known as being “born again”, being made alive spiritually by God.
We are saved by God to serve Him, not to live for ourselves (Eph 2:8-10). We are to practice righteousness as God’s children, bearing the fruit of His Spirit at work within us (1 John 3:8-10). However, we still struggle against sin every day. Therefore, we must be wary of our weaknesses and take appropriate action to work with God so that we may walk in closer relationship with Him and not be hindered by our sinful rebellion.
Follow Christ no Matter the Sacrifice
Now this is very different to earning our way into God’s good graces. Far from it! Rather it’s about sacrificing our life for Christ as He first did for us. How do we do that? By turning from our sinful desires and choosing to follow Christ no matter the sacrifice. This is tough!
I think it’s critical in our walk with God to make time to reflect on how we are going, asking ourselves some tough questions. How have I reflected Christ more over the last few months? How can I serve others more effectively? Whom do I need to pray for more? What areas of my life do I need to repent of and ask for God’s restoring grace? These are meant to be probing questions, and often we don’t like the answers!
However that is how we test whether or not we are truly disciples of Christ. We become Christians by trusting in Jesus with our lives, knowing that through His sacrifice alone we are freed from condemnation before God, enabled to live and enjoy Him forever. However, in that happening, we will not go on living as we used to. There may well be times where we have greater periods of struggle than others, however over the years that follow our conversion and profession of faith in Christ, we should see the evidence of God working in our lives, as the book of James points out, i.e. faith without works is dead. If there is no evidence, then we need to ask ourselves some tough questions.
This holiday I have discovered areas of my life into which I need to address. I have asked my close Christian friends to keep me accountable in some areas, and to pray for God’s help in my life. I am trying to get some basic disciplines back into my life. Having two young kids can really stuff up any order we may have had!
I am a Child of God
Most importantly though, as I critique myself, I continue to remember who I am as a Christian. I am a child of God, redeemed by Christ because of what He has done for me on the cross, not what I can do. I will struggle with sin, but by God’s grace I am able to learn from my mistakes and God-willing mature as a Christian.
Being a Christian can be tough… but often we make things so much harder for ourselves by allowing ‘stuff’ to stop us drawing close to God and listening to His quiet voice in our lives, allowing Him to lead us down a path that will grant us peace amidst the chaos of this noisy world.
Thank you God for your continual gracious support in my life!! May I serve and honour you accordingly.