Take heed to yourself to test your motives
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.” 1 Timothy 4:16.
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5.
We can also say: Test yourself whether you are full of love. Test yourself whether you are in humility. Only those who love the truth have a sense for diligently taking heed to themselves in the light of the Spirit. For example, they test themselves in relation to 1 Corinthians 13, to see whether they are in the love that does not envy and does not seek its own but bears all things and never fails.
How necessary it is for a truth-loving soul to take diligent heed to his hidden motives. By reading 1 Corinthians 13, we can see that those who prophesy and those who are rich in knowledge and have all faith, as well as those who give all their possessions to the poor, have good reason to examine themselves and test their motives.
Examine yourself so the Spirit can guide you
Romans 7, which gives so much light and help, and is so rich that truth-loving souls consider it a goldmine, is precisely the result of the apostle Paul taking heed to himself and examining himself. “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness …” Psalm 112:4. The upright know how to examine and test themselves. Thus the Holy Spirit has an opportunity to lead these upright souls into all truth, the truth that sets us free from sin and self-life. In this upright love for the truth Paul discovered the law that when he wanted to do the good, evil was present with him. He discovered something in himself. He was totally liberated from searching for something in the others. When we discover this law, there will be an end of blaming the others. In this way Paul was able to help them. Indeed, the greatest help we can be for the others is to judge ourselves.
Take heed to yourself – and learn to know God!
“For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10. Only those who thoroughly and uprightly examine themselves will be led by the Spirit into the deep things of God. So this is the way to learn to know God. The Spirit of truth who teaches us to examine ourselves and test ourselves is the same Spirit as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Spirit that imparts the knowledge about God to us.
In his prayers for the Ephesians Paul prayed “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:17. Here we can see the unspeakably blessed result of an upright soul’s self-examination: we learn to know the Lord! Why do we have such an intense desire to be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation? The only motive that will stand the test of the light of truth is that we long to learn to know the Father. This is the purpose for which the Spirit was given.
Examine yourself in the Spirit of life, who sets you free!
When we again consider Romans 7, where Paul has thoroughly taken heed to himself, we will see that Paul became neither discouraged nor downhearted. Not at all! He breaks out in praise and thankfulness to God in Romans 7:25, and continues: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2. Paul took heed to himself in the light of this Spirit of life, not in the “light” of the spirit of accusation.
The enemy of our soul also wants us to take heed to ourselves, but with the intention of paralyzing us and causing us to become discouraged. The Spirit of truth, on the other hand, who is also the Spirit of revelation, proclaims to us the things to come and the things that glorify Christ and the life of Christ for us. (John 16:13-14)
This article has been translated from Norwegian and is an adapted version of an article titled “The blessedness of examining yourself” in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) in March 2009.
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