You are, no doubt, familiar with the seven danger signals of cancer. Are you familiar with seven danger signals of spiritual cancer? According to II Corinthians 13:5 and I Corinthians 11:27-32 self-examination ought to be going on regularly. Note that we are to examine ourselves and not others. Here are seven questions to ponder.
1. What is my primary love, joy, desire and purpose in life?
Is it primarily temporal and material with little time or concern for spiritual and eternal values? That’s not a difficult question to answer. It’s the thing about which you think day and night. It’s the thing to which you devote the most time, money and effort. It’s your passion in life.
Hebrews 11:24-27 speaks of Moses who had grown up in Pharaoh’s palace for forty years. We read that he refused to continue on in the palace with all its comforts and pleasures and chose to identify himself with the Israelites who lived in bondage in Egypt. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him (The Lord Jesus) who is invisible. He looked forward to the day the promised Redeemer would come into the world. He spent the next eighty years walking with God, leading Israel through the wilderness to their promised land of Canaan. He lived for God’s glory.
The Apostle Paul also lived for God alone. He testified in Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” As you read Acts and Paul’s Epistles, there’s no question that Jesus was everything to Paul.
Ask yourself these questions? Is my primary focus of my life church and not on Christ Himself? Will any church do as long as the people are friendly to me, the music appeals to me and there are activities for my family? Does the lack of doctrinal content in the preacher’s sermons not matter to me as long as the other factors are present? Does it take the unusual to attract and hold me? Is my interest primarily in healing meetings, prophetic conferences, going to hear famous preachers? Does it take a special kind of music to satisfy me? Must the church have support groups for me? Is speaking in tongues more important to me than having the power of God’s Spirit on my life to serve Him effectively?
2. Do I find it difficult to confess to God that I have sinned and to others that I was wrong?
It’s so much easier for us to see the faults of other than our own sins. It’s so much easier for us to blame others and attempt to judge their hearts. Beware if you have the idea that everyone is wrong except you. I’m reminded of an old man who had a habit of sleeping in the park each afternoon. One day some boys decided to play a prank. While he slept they carefully rubbed limburger cheese in his beard. When he awoke, he immediately smelled something bad. He leaned over and smelled a rose. It stunk. He went home to his wife and she smelled bad. He sat down to the supper she had prepared and it smelled awful. He finally walked out of the house fuming that the whole world stunk.
When is the last time you went to your spouse or child and with a broken, humbled heart and admitted, “I was wrong. I ask your forgiveness.”
3. Do I find it difficult to love others and let them know it?
Every husband ought to love his wife because the Bible commands it. Ephesians 5:25 Christians are commanded to love one another. John 13:34-35 Do visitors who attend your church immediately sense genuine love for them? Do they sense the love flowing through the church for one another?
Do you excuse your lack of love of a Christian brother or sister with one of the following excuses? I can’t stand his personality or I can’t stand her pride and arrogance or I don’t agree with his ideas. None of these things matter. We are still to love one another and receive one another as brothers or sisters in Christ. Read Romans 14 to understand your responsibility as a Christian towards such people in your life. Am I judging and condemning fellow Christians. If rebuke is necessary, do I give it in love and humility. Our love for one another must be seen in acts and words of kindness and thoughtfulness. Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2.
4. Is my primary loyalty to men and movements, rather than to Christ Himself?
Godly men and movements need our support and loyalty. But beware of blind loyalty. Men and institutions often move from their Biblical foundation. Make sure your loyalty is to Christ, His Word. and with all who are faithful to Him. Reject and reprove evil doers. Ephesians 5:11
5. Is my interest in the Bible merely academic or is it personal?
Some only approach the Bible as a frog to dissect in the classroom. Am I obeying what I understand? Jesus asks, “Why call ye me Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46 When was the last time I was convicted and cleansed by the Word? Ephesians 5:26
6. How do I approach prophecy?
Am I argumentative about what I believe? Do I have idle curiosity about details? Or is it a purifying hope? Philippians 3:20-21 I John 3:2-3
7. Do I tend to be unbalanced about something?
Good physical health depends on our body being in proper balance. Our bodies’ ph must not be too acidic nor too alkaline. If too high or too low, it leads to poor health and disease. The whole universe is in perfect balance. The Christian life involves a balanced understanding of seemingly opposing doctrines, such as:
1. Law and grace
2. The New Covenant vs. the Old Covenant
3. God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility
4. Resting in the Lord; yet actively serving Him with all our heart and strength.
We must all seek to avoid riding our hobby horses. I as a preacher must especially guard against this in my own life. We preachers tend to become unbalanced by riding certain doctrines or issues, carrying them to extremes.
It’s good to be introspective at times and examine ourselves. At the same time, get beyond your introspection. Don’t waste your time trying to determine the degree of your spirituality. Don’t spend your life wondering how humble you are or how loving you are. Don’t measure yourself alongside other Christians. Those who do are not wise. II Corinthians 10:12 If you’ve not done it recently, read prayerfully and carefully through Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians to discover who you are in Christ.
Well, how did you do on the test? If you are a Christian and making progress, rejoice. If God has revealed an area in your life where you need to make a change, may He help you to do it. If you are not a Christian and God is speaking to you about it, say yes to Jesus right now. Ask Him to be your Saviour and Lord. Then go to I John 5:11-13 and walk yourself through that passage and rejoice in the new life Christ has given you.