Should we examine our faith?
There is without a doubt, especially in this day and age, there is a great need for people to examine their faith – regardless of what faith they are claiming. And, I believe, even more so, a great need for professing Christians to examine their faith, but is such a question scriptural and is this this even the greatest of questions we ought to be asking of ourselves?
First, yes it is very scriptural for believer to examine themselves. Read 2 Corinthians 13:5 below for starters.
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test?“
Throughout the Scriptures, not just the passage above alone, a professing Christian is indeed to be about the examination of their faith. For example, if you read the book of 1st John with diligence, line by line, you will begin to clearly see a trend. Not only does John labor to say why he is writing his letter, and this for a variety of reasons, but you begin to see a “two-edged sword” – on the one hand a serious examination for those who profess and on the other hand a building up of the truly regenerate believer.
Yet, is the question, “Should we examine our faith?,” really be the chief question here, meaning, ought we to stop with such basics or should we continue further down the path of our salvation and sanctification? Could it be that the greater question may be, “How shall we examine ourselves?”
You see, to ask questions of ourselves and that which we claim, is necessary for the discovery of truth, for the sorting out of falseness, for the growing in God, and ultimately for the reveling, glorifying and knowing God Himself. It’s not a matter of “if we should,” but rather, “how shall we?”
So then, how shall we carry out such examination and introspection?
I remember back several years ago. I was walking down the road with a friend and we were talking about our walk with God and multiple other things. At the time he was struggling with how others were viewing him and his faith.
Now, we had talked about this at times and in length, but this day was to be altogether different. While we were walking I guess I had said something that the Lord would use to help set him free. In the Lord’s perfect timing, and while I could not have mustered any short of power in the flesh, the Lord was pleased to flex his muscle in just the right way.
I said, “You know, it does not matter what others think and what we think of those who are thinking bad of us, we cannot compare our walk with their profession. But rather, we are to compare ourselves to Christ Himself. How are we walking in faith in light of Christ?”
You see, that really is where the place begins as we ask the second and greater question, “How shall I examine myself?”
If the Bible’s claim to itself, God’s inspired word, is indeed true, then why do we not begin our examination right there – through the pages of the Bible? Why is it we often begin, and of course end up so opposite God’s will, with a half-hearted inward look comparing ourselves to everyone else? Simple, we: 1.) Walk by the flesh instead of the Spirit. 2.) We are self-absorbed. 3.) We really do not want to be conformed into the image of God.
Yet, in this, “how shall we,” we are not to make ourselves the focus, but the One who is the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. For it’s in looking to Jesus, with a singular gaze, that we will find where our faith and verbal profession really lies.
Having posed the former question, being foundational and yet somewhat basic, and asking the deeper question, we must still reason with the end goal of why we should regard such questions in the first place. And if we will go to this depth, go to such honesty of heart, we will discover the importance and eternal relevance that lies at stake.
You see, these questions, having real practical applications, will serve us eternally, that is if we dare grapple with them in truth now. And how will we benefit? We will find out if indeed the faith that we lay hold of is true; we will come face-to-face with the one true and almighty God; we will come face-to-face with who we really are and our great need; we will find peace, joy, love, grace and mercy; we will come to experience and lay hold of the reality of salvation/regeneration/conversion and walk rightly with God.
What is at stake if we dare not examine our faith according to God’s word? – the very real possibility of false eternal safety, a false ideology of self-goodness, and a false idea about heavenly things.
How shall we not examine our faith?
Jeremy B. Strang
Christian. Husband. Father.
Grace Upon Grace / Foothills of True Grace / As Christ: A Man and Marriage / Realities of a True Christian
 2 Corinthians 13:5; NASB version
 2 Peter 1:21 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17
 Matthew 7:21-23