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Faith Examination

2 Corinthians 13:5-10 5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you[b]; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 6 As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority. 7 We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won’t need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come—even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. 8 For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. 9 We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature. 10 I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won’t need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down.

Have you ever been around people who call themselves Christians but you can’t really tell it by how they live?  Well, I have, and apparently, Paul was dealing with a few in the Corinthian church and he was doing a “proof text” of their lives to make sure they were who they were saying they were.  In other words, actions were not matching the lifestyle as proof that Jesus was anywhere near them or in them.

I believe a little reminder for each of us is necessary to reaffirm and reform our faith is moving in the right direction by doing a “heart-check” like the one Paul was calling them to do.  In verse 5 Paul says “examine yourself to see if your faith is genuine.”  Here is a good rule of thumb in the faith thing.  If you consistently ignore and reject following the basic teachings of Christ, then you might have a problem.  That problem would be an unchanged life because you really don’t know Christ.  I have served in local churches for forty years and sometimes I get the impression a person might not even know Christ because they exhibit the opposite of how a follower of Jesus should live.  And the confusing part is “they don’t want to change.”

The Apostle Paul had to deal with this throughout his ministry and especially in the church at Corinth.  The people who were trying to run everything in the Corinthian church were “ruining” everything and their supposed power was actually killing all that the believers had done in establishing a fellowship there.  Power in a church, like chairing a committee or being voted on some committee is a great responsibility, but in a politically run nation, our default is to think “we” are powerful, when in reality our power is not even a part of it.  It is about following the promptings of the Lord and spending extra time in prayer to ask God what to do in a situation.  Those. who do this can and should be leaders, but anything less should disqualify a person wanting a position of leadership.  We call these people “servant leaders.”

If you are being asked to be in a position of leadership in a church you should take the time to examine yourself and make for sure of your motivations and keep your self pure in your motives about being in leadership.  A good example of this attitude is what a person serving as a deacon should be thinking when trying to become that kind of servant leader.  My ordination counsel quizzed me at length and I remember one Godly man I highly respected telling me to examine myself before committing to the ordination process.  I really took that to heart and have remembered all these years since.  I pass this wisdom from that man to all who are considering any kind of leadership in the church and follow that wisdom by saying “souls are dependent on that kind of commitment.”  The “participation trophy ” that is given out because you attended is not good enough when looking to lead.  You have to be committed to the Lord in a very strong, passionate commitment.

Look in the mirror.  Is Jesus in there anywhere?  Time to get that right and then you are ready for God placing you in leadership, but not until that is made right!!

The Pilgrimage continues…..

David Warren

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