With another year approaching fast, it is a good time to pause and consider some things of importance. With the passing of the old year, we are again reminded of the words of James, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). As we look back and remember friends and family members we have lost during the present year, we are again made to realize how true Peter’s words were when he penned them, and how true they are today almost 2,000 years after he wrote them: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away” (I Pet. 2:24).
As we anticipate the beginning of a new year in just a few days, if the Lord wills, we need to remind ourselves of the words of Solomon when he wrote, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov 27:1). And on this same subject Jesus tells us, “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for the morrow shall take thought of the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34).
This time of year is also a good time to do a little self-examination. As Jeremiah lamented over the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, he called for the people to examine themselves and turn back to the Lord. “Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven” (Lam. 3:40-41). In teaching the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper, Paul wrote that it was a time for self-examination (I Cor. 11:27-31). In II Corinthians 13:5, Paul challenged the Corinthians to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (NKJV). In doing so, he used the present tense for the verbs “examine” and “prove.” This indicates that such examination was to be an ongoing activity. We should examine ourselves because the danger of drifting is always present (Heb. 2:1-4). We should examine ourselves so that we can know our standing before God (which is implied in Paul’s statement).
We should examine ourselves to determine if we have been “disqualified.” What does this mean? Here is how some other translations read: “Ye are reprobates” (KJV, ASV); “You fail the test” (NASV, NIV); “Disapproved” (Young’s Concordance).
Therefore the challenge is ever before us: “Examine yourselves, and keep on examining yourselves.” Paul stated the necessity for doing this on his own part: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Cor. 9:27). Let each of us “examine yourselves” and make corrections where necessary.
-Paul M. Wilmoth