As a society, we are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Doctors and health officials state we should consume a minimum daily intake of vitamins and minerals. We are advised to get plenty of exercise, sleep, and eat organic fruits, vegetables, and meats. Health organizations throughout the world agree. According to the W.H.O., the number one cause of physical death and totaling 16% of the world’s death statistics, is heart disease. Since 2000, we have seen a large increase in deaths from this disease, which has risen from 2 million to 8.9 million deaths in 2019. The healthcare and exercise industries in the U.S. alone are massive. Healthcare accounted for over 19.7% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020, and fitness care is booming with no signs of slowing anytime soon. According to statistics on exercise, the industry is expected to reach a value of 86.6 billion by the end of 2022. Though we have a plethora of health information, healthcare advice, gyms, and organic food sources, the death toll from heart disease continues to rise. We suffer from a lack of personal responsibility.
As Christians, we have God’s word and spirit to instruct us on what a holy and righteous lifestyle should reflect. We are advised to examine and test ourselves. But why? When we read and apply God’s word to our lives we are able to find our faults and weaknesses, or areas in our faith that require improvement. Constant evaluation of your heart allows you the opportunity to apply God’s word in your life. The apostle Paul admonished the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Consider the following verses.
1 Corinthians 11:28. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Galatians 6:3-4. For if anyone thinks he is something, vwhen he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
Understandably, self-examination can be difficult and unpleasant. We should see ourselves for who and what we are without Christ- scarred, broken, and full of sin. We should take account of every shortcoming in our daily walk, and earnestly try to resolve them through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Peter 3:18, we are instructed to “Grow in the Grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
In order to fully and accurately understand our hearts, it is imperative to seek God’s help. We should ask God to reveal our sins so that we can confess and seek to improve in those areas of stumbling.
In Psalm 26:2 David says, “Examine me O Lord, and prove me, try my mind and my heart.”
David Prays in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me O God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxieties: and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead in the way of everlasting.”
But self-examination doesn’t end there. The real test of self-examination is seeing our actions through the lens of God. We can pray and read the Bible, but we are deceiving ourselves if we do not apply His word to our lives. Inasmuch, many Christians today do not take the time to open their Bibles, let alone believe in its authenticity.
According to PonceFoundation.com, out of 2 billion Christians in the world, less than 30% will ever read through the entire Bible. The fact is over 82% of Christian Americans only read their Bibles on Sundays while attending church. A little over 20 years ago, Gallup released the results of a major study indicating that 86% of Americans claimed to be Christian, although only 70% of these admitted to being “born again” according to biblical measures. In recent studies, Pew research indicates that only 25% of Americans now attend church on any given Sunday, significantly down from 47% in 1990. The study also shows that in evangelical churches throughout the United States, only 36% of those attending church weekly indicate that believing Jesus Christ is the only true way to Heaven. A shocking 57% of American Christians believe other religions can lead to eternal life. One of the main reasons American Christians do not read their Bibles is because only 22% of them believe the Bible is fully inspired by God Himself and that it is written by men who were divinely appointed by the Lord almighty. Statistically, 1 in 4 American Christians believe the Bible to be a book written by men without the instruction of God.
We must remain in a constant state of self-examination if we are to live a life worthy of the gift that Jesus paid for us all by giving his life for us on the cross. If we live without knowing who we are, where we have been, or where we are going, we become stagnant and live without meaning. It is this examination of self that brought us to our knees knowing there is nothing we can do for ourselves. Without conviction of our failures and weaknesses, we would have never come to know Jesus Christ.
“You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”
Charles H. Spurgeon