Someone told my husband once about self-examination, “Why would anyone want that?!” But, self examination is an important part of our walk with God and can, actually, breathe life into our relationships with God and others and protect us from God’s judgment and discipline.
Paul warned us of the consequences when we don’t … sickness, problems, even early death. But how can we examine ourselves when our tendency is to justify our own actions and responses? What’s the standard?
And how, living in our sin-cursed world, can we re-inform our consciences biblically so we are more sensitive to the lack of love and other sins in our lives? And in so doing, grow and change?
Also, what does God think about sex? Does He say anything about it in Scripture?
Song of Solomon 1 & 2
1 Corinthians 11.17-34
Love, Sex & Self-Examination
1 Corinthians 11.17-34:
In verses 27-32 Paul gives instructions for how we should approach the taking of the Lord’s Supper. He says that we should use it as an opportunity to examine ourselves to see if there is any unconfessed sin or unreconciled relationships in our lives.
If so, we should confess them to the Lord and repent. Repentance is more than regret or feeling sorry, it carries with it the idea of a turning from our way and going God’s way. Paul said that because we fail to examine ourselves, many in the body of Christ are sick and some sleep (have died prematurely).
Of course, communion isn’t the only time we should examine ourselves. It should be a regular part of our walk with the Lord. How can we do that?
When asked about the most important commandment, Jesus said the whole law and the prophets can be summed up in two commands: Love God and love others. If we’re loving God as we should, we won’t look for loopholes for disobedience and obeying Him won’t be a burden, but a delight. That doesn’t mean our flesh will always like it, but our hearts will desire to please Him.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn. 14.15).
Part of loving God is loving others.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 Jn. 4.20).
A good way to examine how well we are loving others is to study and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13.4-7 and ask, “How am I doing in each of these areas (remember our standard is Christ, not how we’re doing compared to someone else)?”
If you’re struggling in some relationship, it may be helpful to be specific. How did I do today or yesterday? How am I doing with my spouse, my children, my co-workers, strangers I meet, other drivers …
Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians is:
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Have I been patient … even when others tempted me to be impatient?
Have I been kind … even with those who are unkind?
Have I been envious or boastful?
Have I been rude?
Was I selfish or irritable or resentful?
Have I taken into account a wrong suffered—have I kept score?
Did I rejoice when someone fell or did I rejoice when others obeyed the truth?
Did I bear up under whatever came my way without complaining or sinning in response?
Did I believe the best of others?
Is my hope in God?
Am I enduring by trusting in God?
Why not take a few minutes and meditate on that passage?
It’s amazing how doing that everyday for a season will begin to re-inform our conscience and help us be more aware of our unloving behavior. Behavior we often minimize or justify, especially, if we are focused on our own standard rather God’s.
Lord, help us to examine ourselves, see our own sin and turn away from it, so that we won’t require your discipline before we’re willing to change and grow. Help us to be willing to remove the logs from our own eyes before we ever try to point out the specks in the eyes of others.
If you would like to print out a Daily Self Examination Sheet to use in your prayer or quiet time, see link below. You might fold it in half and place it in your Bible for easy reference each day.
Today’s Other Readings:
Song of Solomon 1 & 2:
God & Sex
Just in case you didn’t think God sees sex as a good thing, think again. The Song of Solomon is a book about the sexual relationship between a man and a woman! It’s written in the form of Hebrew poetry, something most of us find somewhat foreign, but if we go through it prayerfully, I believe God will give us some great nuggets of truth.
Truths that can open our minds, not just to God’s thoughts on sexual intimacy, but to the incredible love He has for us and the intimacy He desires with us. REMEMBER: Marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and His church (Eph. 5.32)! So even if you’re single, the Song of Songs has much to say to you.
Let’s start with 1.2:
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine.”
According to Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus in their book Intimate Issues, the word for kiss in Hebrew is onomatopoetic, that is, it sounds like what it means. They suggest we might translate this verse, “O, that he’d give me some of his smacking kisses that take my breath away.”
And in 1.4 the bride says, “Draw me away!” inviting her bridegroom to carry her away to their bedroom. The bride in this book of inspired Scripture is a passionate, not a passive, lover.
Within the confines of marriage, God’s Word encourages us to enjoy this sacred part of life. And, even more, He wants us to experience that kind of joy and satisfaction in our relationship with Him!
More to come in the following days …
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
4 Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.
5 You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
8 They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.
Even though God in His greatness cannot be measured by natural things, the psalmist uses this imagery to help us understand the power and majesty of God. And even though no one can know God fully, we can grow in our understanding of Him as we seek to understand His various attributes.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn. 17.3).
Getting Back Up with God’s Help
“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, …” (v. 16).
The only thing that can cause us to lose is if we give up!
In the next few days, we’ll look at how the meaning of holiness, talk more about God’s description of red-hot biblical love, what the Scripture means when it says women should keep silent in the church, tattoos, and more.
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