[The following is taken from the 4th Episode of Disciple Up. I like to include a “Disciple Up Low Down” in each episode as sort of a closing editorial related to that show’s topic. Enjoy!]
We’ve talked a lot in today’s show about testing. At this point I hope it’s clear to everyone that we are not just encouraged to test but commanded too. It is absolutely vital that we test everything and this of course includes not just what other say and do, but our thoughts and opinions as well.
Yes, what I think, feel and say isn’t beyond testing. In fact it’s even more necessary that I test myself not only because I am accountable to God for what I say and do but because of the damage I might to do to others if I don’t.
There’s a problem however when it comes to testing myself. And that problem is that I cannot see myself with anywhere near the objectivity needed to make a fair and just test. I’m hopelessly subjective when it comes to myself no matter how hard I try to be objective. I can never get completely outside myself and thus cannot see myself accurately.
The writers of the Bible knew this to be true, as does anyone who really thinks about it. Happily for us they found a solution to this otherwise insoluble problem. What is it? It’s quite simple really, we must call upon God to test us and to give us the courage to face the results of that test.
Here’s just a few examples:
2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2 (ESV)
2 Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; Psalm 26:2 (NIV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
That last verse is probably the best known of the bunch. I quoted the other two just to show you that there’s more than one place in the Bible where someone calls upon God to test or judge him. And this awareness of our need for God’s clear and perfect test is not limited to the Old Testament either.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (ESV)
I love how Paul knows that in the end the only opinion that counts is God’s opinion. Just because everyone thinks we’re wonderful and we tend to agree means nothing. It’s God’s opinion that matters for he alone is the King of the Universe and the only right and just judge. He sees all things clearly and therefore we are answerable to him.
It is before him that we stand or fall as Paul says in Romans chapter 14: 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4 (ESV)
He goes even further a few verses later when he writes: 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:7-11 (ESV)
So this ingrained testing that I’ve been talking about must apply to myself before it applies to anyone else. But I must be honest enough with myself to know the depth of my bias and the understand that without God’s searching test and judgement I will surely fail.
One of the greatest goals in life is not to live a life of self-delusion. I must face the facts about myself no matter how awful they might be. But I need God’s help to do so. I also need other people to help me face facts and to know how to go about changing what needs to be changed in my life. Then God can continue his great work of transforming me into the likeness of Christ. But he can’t do that if I don’t first see myself as I really am, repent of that, and then seek his Spirit’s power to change.
And that’s the Disciple Up Low Down on Testing Myself.
[If you enjoyed that you’ll really like the entire episode which you can listen to right here.]