At the end of every semester, students at universities and colleges take final exams. They are tested on how much they have learned after sixteen weeks of sitting under a professor who is an expert in their specialty. Those who have mastered the curriculum get higher grades, and those who didn’t study, get lower grades. The Apostle Paul says it’s time to examine yourself.
“But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.”
Are You Making Progress?
From time to time, Christians need to examine their work for Jesus. You need to assess if you are on track with Scripture and are making progress. Can you boast regarding your work, or does it leave you with a feeling you could’ve done more? It is easy for ambitions in other areas to supersede our seeking first the kingdom of God. We often hunger for praise and affirmation from others over hungering for righteousness. This is why it is important to examine yourself.
When teachers grade tests, they will often use a key with the correct answers. When you examine yourself, it is important that you use the right key for disciples of Jesus, that is the Bible. Don’t measure yourself up against others. The compare game is dangerous. It can produce both self-righteousness and lament. When we see ourselves as better than others, we act superior. When we think we fall short, we will often fall into pity and depression.
Tests are always an indication of growth and are never meant to be the final say. If you examine yourself and come up with a low score, don’t give up hope. Keep going and ask Jesus to do work on your heart. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in truth. If you commit to growing in your knowledge of Scripture and obedience, you will look back a couple of years from now and realize how much you have grown.