Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Importance of Self Examination

I love the writings of the Puritans. Every time I read any of them I come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and I see all of the areas of my life that I have fallen short of what God requires of us all. There is just something about they way that they wrote that shows me what is truly in my heart and leads me to repentance. I thank God for the power that they had in the words that they put to paper, I thank God that He has seen fit to preserve them for us today, and I pray that He will use the words that I write to touch people the way that the writings of men like Thomas Watson, Thomas Vincent, Octavius Winslow, and many others have touched me.

Here is another very convicting excerpt from Puritan writer Matthew Mead. This short excerpt, taken from "The Almost Christian" shows us the importance of making sure that we are truly in the faith.

A man may preach like an apostle, pray like an angel—and yet may have the heart of a devil!

Many have gone to hell, laden with spiritual gifts. No doubt Judas had great gifts, for he was a preacher of the gospel. What a grand profession Judas had! He followed Christ, left all for Christ, he preached the gospel of Christ, he cast out devils in the name of Christ, he ate and drank at the table of Christ—and yet Judas was but a hypocrite!

The Scriptures speak of some who have "a form of godliness, yet deny the power thereof." That is, they do not live in the practice of those graces, which they pretend to profess. He who pretends to godliness by a specious profession—and yet does not practice godliness by a holy life, he has a mere form of godliness—but denies the power.

Grotius compares such to
the ostrich, which has great wings—but yet does not fly. Just so—many have the wings of a fair profession—but yet do notuse them to mount upward in spiritual affections,and a heavenly life. As many go to heaven with the fear of hell in their hearts—so many go to hell with the name of Christ in their mouths!
Matthew Mead (1661)

The apostle Paul also wrote of the importance of examination; in his second letter to the Corinthians he wrote:
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?
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
From this verse we can see that it is possible to think that we are in the faith and discover that we are not; it is possible to fail the test. Take some time today and examine yourself in light of God's Word. Ask Him to show you anywhere you fall short, repent of what He shows you, and then praise Him for the salvation that He provides. That is what I will be doing today.
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