Though most have probably never thought of it exactly this way, the greatest goal of a Christian is to build whatever qualities that will ultimately bring him Godâs approval so that he can inherit the kingdom of God. What could be more important?
There is, in fact, revealed in Godâs Word, a certain spiritual âseal of approvalâ that every Christian MUST obtain. Specific actions in a personâs conduct confer this approval upon him, and, because God is not a respecter of persons, there are no exceptions to what He expects. Without these actions, a Christian, no matter how sincere, has no hope for salvation.
Godâs instruction has always been to âwork out your own salvationâ (Phil. 2:12). Most people are familiar with this scripture, but few any longer seem to take it personally as God intends. This had better change for manyâand soon!
A Shocking Survey
Since entering the ministry, I have worked directly with well over 10,000 brethren. This has given me an enormous exposure to and understanding of the spiritual temperature of Godâs people. Let me offer one case study for your consideration. In each of my pastorates, beginning in the 1970s, I asked brethren during a sermon to anonymously answer five very simple questions (on a 3x5 card) about how often they were praying, studying and fasting.
The answers were always stunningâmore like appalling! Invariably, about 20 percent would not even turn in the card, presumably because their answers were not good. (Some in this category were openly offended that they would even be asked to do this.) Astonishingly, another 20 percent admitted to being virtually zero in all categories. Yet a third 20 percent prayed and studied only 5-10 minutes a dayâon the days that were not zeros! A fourth 20 percent were generally praying enough, but not studying enough, and rarely fasting between Days of Atonement. The last 20 percent (interestingly, about the number surviving the apostasy) were generally praying and studying close to 30 minutes most days. But only about 2 or 3 percent of the total group were reaching or exceeding these numbers every day in both categories, and fasting on a regular basis.
Over this same period, I began to monitor what I came to call âThe Disappearance of Self-examination,â and there is a sermon under this title on rcg.org, describing this condition in some detail.
All of this forms a backdrop to examine some truly fascinating understanding that every person with the Spirit of God alive today must eventually have an opportunity to learn and address. Those who comprehend what we will now cover will find that it is the only corridor leading out of the dark tunnel of blindness to the spiritual light at the end of the tunnel.
Letâs walk this corridor step-by-stepâscripture-by-scriptureâso that you perfectly understand your path from blindness, and learn the rest of what Christ meant when He said, âanoint your eyesâŠthat you may seeâ (Rev. 3:18).
Godâs Word Is a Lamp
Proverbs 6:23 states, âFor the commandment is a lamp; and the law is lightâŠâ The Hebrew word for âlawâ is torah, which literally means âto cause to see the light.â All of us are familiar with the phrase âsee the light,â but probably very few know that it springs directly from the word âlaw.â
The Psalms expand this statement in 119:105: âYour word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.â When put together, there is no misunderstanding exactly how God intends His Word to function within our lives.
A New Testament passage expands this equation. But it uses a different way of stating what Godâs Word is: âYour word is truthâ (John 17:17). When placed together, Godâs Wordâthe Bibleâis revealed to be a lamp of light, identically defined as truth. Before continuing, I urge you to stop and think about what you have just read.
The one thing that blind people do not see is any kind of light. Their world is pitch black!
John records additional important insight into the natural tendency of human nature in every person to actually choose darkness over light, as well as why they do this. Carefully readâand believeâthe following verse:
âThis is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in Godâ (3:19-21).
Several points spring from this passage. First, remember that we talked about those who live the truth, as well as love it. Both are essential. Notice the passage above also talks about the one that âdoes truth.â And recall that everyone who has the âanointingâ of Godâs âSpirit of truthâ continually âpurifies himselfâ (I John 3:3). Are YOU âseeing the lightâ here?
This process describes one who regularly âcomes to the lightâââthe word of truthââso that he can examine his âdeeds,â to be able to see whether they are âwrought in God.â In other words, is he conducting himself as a Christian? Is his life filled with Godâs Spirit and true doctrineâparticularly as it relates to becoming pure? Does his life reflect Christâs conduct? Is he growing in character? Only intense study of Godâs Word reveals this.
It is most interesting that during the Days of Unleavened Bread, God instructs Christians to âpurge outâ leaven before eating the âunleavened bread of sincerity and truthâ (I Cor. 5:7-8). You are about to see that there is much more here than what the surface suggests, and it relates specifically to âanointing your eyes.â
The Greek word for âsincerityâ is fascinating. It means âexamine by the sunâs light and to be found pure.â It is also most interesting that God links sincerity, carrying this meaning, with truth, and that purging (the process of making pure) is involved. How this happens will soon become more clear.
Next, back in John 3, the word translated âreproved,â is better translated âdiscovered.â Many Bible margins carry this word. Letâs state this plainly so that none can miss it. Most people will not come to the light of Godâs Word because they do not want their conduct to be discoveredâexposed!âfor what it is! They would rather remain in darkness, unable to see where they are going, than to admit they need to make changes in their lives. Read it again.
Could this be you? Take very methodical inventory, and continue to do this as you read. Honestly recognize this powerful pull at work within youâhonestly admit that you are naturally no different from anyone else.
There is much more to understand. Letâs watch the completeâand truly fascinatingâpicture slowly emerge!
Washing to Become Clean
In the Psalms, David recorded another critical element of what the purification process is intended to yield. After his sin with Bathsheba and subsequent conspiracy to murder Uriah, he opened Psalm 51 by humbly asking for Godâs mercy.
In verse 2, David cried out to God, âWash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.â Verse 7 introduces one more element: âpurge me with hyssop [an ancient herbal remedy used to purify], and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.â
Finally, he asks, âCreate in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within meâŠand take not Your Holy Spirit from meâ (vs. 10-11).
Because he was in such a terrible spiritual condition, as a result of massive sin, the Spirit of God was waning in David, and he knew he was in danger of losing it. He knew that God might proceed to withdraw what little was left, if he did not repent. Every converted person should take note. If this could happen to Davidâand we will later see that Paul also held the same concern about himselfâit could happen to you!
These verses link cleansing and washing to purgingâpurifying oneself with Godâs help. But how does God say to do this?
In Ephesians 5, Paul describes how husbands are to love their wives âas Christ also loved the Churchâ (vs. 25). Verse 26 continues, explaining the overall goal, âThat He might sanctify [Godâs Word of truth sanctifies usâJohn 17:17] and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word [of truth].â
The Williams translation renders this best: ââŠcleaning her through His Word, as pictured in the water bath.â
This passage introduces the element of corrective Bible study directly into the purifying, washing, cleansing and sanctifying processâcore to everything a Christian is to practice!
Is it any wonder then that just before His betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, âNow you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto youâ (John 15:3)? This verse should now come to life for its real meaning.
But there is still much more to understand!
Correction and Truth
In II Timothy 3:16, sandwiched in the middle of a long passage about continuing in sound doctrine, Paul explained that one of the four purposes of Bible study is âcorrection.â This is translated from the Greek word epanorthosis, meaning âa straightening up again, rectification, correction.â
The root of this word is used in medicine. Orthopedicsâdoctors who work with bones, connective tissue (ligaments, tendons, cartilage, etc.) and general body structureâderive their name from this Greek word because they understand its connection to proper alignment and skeletal function. These physicians are skilled in recognizing and addressing posture problemsâwhere a person is no longer physically straight. They understand that it often takes surgery to âcorrectâ the problem, sometimes major surgery.
âShow Yourself Approvedâ
We are now ready to examine a crucial scripture, launching any who want Godâs correction much further toward the light and full vision at the end of the tunnel. Probably once part of the scriptural vocabulary of nearly every member of Godâs Church, it is one of the most important verses in the Bible!
Paul wrote Timothy, âStudy to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truthâ (II Tim. 2:15).
Three huge and interconnected points spring from this single scripture. Each is profound:
(1) Bible study, done properly, leads to being âapproved of God.â
(2) Those who do this âneed not to be ashamed.â
(3) They must ârightly divide the word of truth.â
This passage almost explodes with meaning. First, the Greek word for âapprovedâ is dokimos. Its meaning is fascinating, and vastly more important than most (of those few who even know of it) have realized. It is the central window into what Christ means by âanoint your eyes.â Dokimos means, literally, âto put to the test by trial in order to produce truth and genuineness; without alloy.â This word has powerful meaning, and once again connects truth and purity, this time to a kind of intensive Bible studyâthe kind that ârightly divides the Word of truth.â
This process is the key to being approved of God. Of course, those who study, but who cannot rightly divide the Bible, or those who do not study at all, will not be approved of Godâand they will be ashamed!
Do you see the connection to Revelation 3:18ââbuying gold tried in the fireâ? By now, it should be impossible to miss. Christ said Laodiceans should be ashamed, because they are naked (Rev. 3:17). How are they naked? Remember, they do not have their private partsâtheir âloinsâââgirded with truthâ (Eph. 6:14). It is the Spirit of truth that guides ârightly dividingâ Godâs Word of truth.
We will come to understand that II Timothy 2:15 is saying that when you study the Bible, it should be a trialâand this means a fiery trial if done properly. This is its message. You should be putting yourself to the test, to the end that truth and genuineness (purity, sincerity) resultâgold without alloy.
But there is still more!
The Key Within Dokimos
Letâs briefly return to the Days of Unleavened Bread, this time focusing on what should always be done before Passover. I Corinthians 11 contains two statements that shed more light on precisely how to apply dokimos in our lives.
Before Christians may take the Passover, Paul instructed, âBut let a man examine himselfâŠâ (vs. 28) so that he did not eat âunworthily.â The Greek for âexamineâ here is dokimazo, from the same root as dokimos. This shows that God intends the pre-Passover examination to be far more intensive than most have probably ever recognized. It also means that without this kind of examination, one is not even approved by God to take the Passover.
This examination is that vital! Did you know this?
Something else is important from earlier in this chapter where Paul had previously used the word dokimos. It is tied directly to discerning truth from heresyâtrue doctrines from false ones. Notice: âI hear that there be divisions among youâŠFor there must be also heresiesââWHY?ââthat they which are approved [dokimos] may be made manifest [obvious] among youâ (vs. 18-19).
Now think hard about this. Only when people are swept away by false doctrine, obviously because they were not âstudyingâ and ârightly dividing the word of truthâ as they should (and also because the amount of Godâs Spirit in them was diminishing), do those who are practicing, believing and living the truth become immediately obvious (âmanifestâ) for what they areââapproved of God.â
Why? Because they are not swept away by heresies. They can RESIST because they are pure in truth, and this necessarily includes having an abundance of the power of the Spirit of truth. They are able to avoid the âshameâ of being âcaught with their pants downâ (naked) like those who got pulled into error and lost their clothes.
Intensive, corrective Bible study, crying out to God to wash and clean you, is much more vital than the blind of today want to believe! Letâs face it. Most brethren never have, and still do not, study very muchâlet alone intensively. They allow the âcare of this worldâ (Matt. 13:22) to daily steal their time. Diligent, in-depth dokimos Bible study is necessary to return to true doctrine.
Will you make time for this?
Two Levels of Examination Required
In II Corinthians 13:5, Paul stated, âexamine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?â We will examine each key word here.
We first focus on the meaning of âreprobate.â Understanding this is central because it is the ultimate by-product of ignoring or misapplying this verse. Letâs strip away the mystery. The Greek word for reprobate is adokimosâand it simply means âunapproved.â Of course, unapproved is the opposite of approved.
Now for more insight. This verse actually describes two different levels of self-examination. One is summarized by âexamineââthe other by âprove.â This is most interesting to understand.
Surprisingly, though dokimazo is found in this verse, it is not the word translated âexamine,â which comes from the Greek word peirazo, meaning instead âto test, endeavor or scrutinize.â This is the less intense personal examination that some are willing to do. Of course, many will not even do this much. But those who do must recognize that this passage shows peirazo to be merely the beginning point for proper, thorough examinationâthe starting point of determining whether one is âin the faith.â
Interestingly, the word dokimazo here is translated âprove.â It is not enough that a Christian just examines (scrutinizes) himself. He must also go on to the more fiery level of intense examination, yielding âproofâ of his conversion, character, purity and truth!
Understand! This verse commands Godâs people to perform both kinds of examination, and here is the point: Those who will not do these cannot even discern whether they are Christiansâwhether âChrist [the Spirit of truth] is in youâ or whether they are âreprobatesââunapproved!
A fascinating passage comes to light here concerning Paulâand ultimately us. In his first epistle to Corinth, Paul had expressed concern that even he could become a âcastawayâ and lose salvation. He wrote, âI therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: 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 castawayâ (I Cor. 9:26-27).
The Greek word translated âcastawayâ is adokimos. Like David in Psalm 51, Paul was himself concerned about, and remained vigilant toward, his own spiritual condition, and whether even he, as an apostle, could be unapproved in Godâs sight.
The point should be obviousâand hit you with the force of a loaded Mack truck. If even apostles, and converted kings, need to be concerned about approval from God, then what about you? Will you be cavalierâlargely uninterestedâabout what Paul beat his body to avoid?âwhat David cried out to God about?
Drawing Near to God
James wrote, âBe you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selvesâ (1:22). He went on to compare the âhearers onlyâ to those who use a mirror to successfully identify their spiritual problems, only to then immediately ignore their findings. These are called âforgetful hearers.â Verse 25 describes those who âlook into the perfect law of libertyâ and follow it with action.
This takes us to Hebrews 10, which expands on how to take action: âLet us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure waterâ (vs. 22).
Only God can forgive our sins and help us to properly use His scriptural âpure waterâ to get âour bodies washed.â Notice that the verse begins, âLet us draw nearâŠâ This means we draw near to God through studying His Word and through fervent prayer. It is no accident then that the very next verse instructs, âLet us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised).â And this is in turn followed three verses later with, âFor if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversariesâ (vs. 23, 26-27).
Do not misunderstand! All of this is most serious to God! He is indignant when people trample His revealed doctrinal truth, and considers those who take it lightly to be His adversaries. All brethren and ministersâand Paulâs warning is to everyone with the Holy Spirit at the end of the age (vs. 25)âought to fear and tremble at such a terrifying thought!
May God help all who read this to hold fast to every part of the truth and escape His fiery anger!
Now letâs return to Jamesâ epistle, where an extraordinary biblical promise is found. It is introduced with, âGod resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to GodâŠâ (4:6-7). Notice that the vital first key paving the return to closeness with God is once again seen to be humility. This is because pride bringsâin fact, triggersâGodâs resistance.
Now for the promise: âDraw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-mindedâ (vs. 8).
Do not miss this. When we âdraw near to God,â He promises to reciprocateâalways. He has bound Himself to do thisâIF we also âcleanseâ ourselves from sin (and we have seen that He even helps with this), now understood to happen through extremely intense Bible study, rightly dividing the word of truthâbut also guided by the renewed and increased Holy Spirit at work in the mind. Verse 9 continues by adding, âBe afflicted [this means to fast!], and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness,â when circumstances demand this. In fact, most Christians at the end of the age are faced with exactly these circumstances!
Ask yourself: How many times have you been concerned enough about your condition to fast solely for the purpose of discovering whether you have unknowingly become Laodicean?
In a moment, we will see a fascinating connection between dokimos and the much closer contact with God that results.
It has been said, âThe journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.â Where does this journey begin? The answer is to honestly admit where you are today.
Proverbs 16:2 states, âAll the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weighs the spirits [attitudes].â Accept this scripture for what it reveals. All human beings were born naturally believing that everything they do is âclean.â Proverbs 21:2 repeats the same thing, except that it uses the word ârightâ in place of âclean.â The meaning is the same in both scriptures. (Proverbs 12:15 specifically ties this thinking to foolishness.)
The natural human approachâyours, tooâis a far cry from Davidâs request that God âwash,â âcleanâ and âpurgeâ him (Psa. 51).
These are the choices: Declare yourself âclean and right in your own eyes,â or ask God, who weighs attitudes, to cleanse you, truly making you right.
Since being âapproved of Godâânot âapproved of ourselvesââis the goal, we must go to God, seeking correction from His inspired Word, so that we can be brought back to truth and purity. The process beginsâis initiatedâwhen we admit that we are not âcleanâ before God.
I ask yet again: Are you able to see the most crucial element of humility as the very first garment that you must âput onâ to reach your goal?
Another important scripture, the last one using dokimos, bears directly on how some approve themselvesâwhen they should seek Godâs approval.
Notice: âFor not he that commends himself is approved [dokimos], but whom the Lord commendsâ (II Cor. 10:18). The word âcommendsâ means literally âstands near, set together.â That is right. God truly does âstand nearââis âset togetherâ withâthose HE approves! Remember that this is what Christ promises to doâto â[sit] togetherââwith all those who allow Him to enter their home for counseling over a meal (Rev. 3:20).
How marvelous to watch Godâs âlivingâ Word (Heb. 4:12) fit together like a giant puzzle, revealing a magnificent picture that is only clear when all the pieces are in place!
Do not misunderstand what you have read. Godâs approval, and His alone, is what matters. You cannot play games of self-deception, declaring yourself approved by simple assertion. You must be willing to come through fire to the purity and truth that God requires!
A Living Book
We must understand. Unlike any other book ever written, the Bible is, in a sense, aliveâremember, Paul calls it âquickâ in Hebrews 4:12. In other words, the Bible is a living book. Those who study it must understand this, and that studying it is different from studying any work of men. When the Holy Spirit is at work inside a person, it is writing Godâs wordsâHis LawâHis truthâinside that personâs mind. This means that without this Spirit at work during Bible study, there is no hope of achieving proper understanding. Further, for those who do have the Holy Spirit, but only a small amount at work in their minds, âanother spiritâ (II Cor. 11:4)âthe âspirit of errorâ (I John 4:6)âcan easilyâand quickly!âcorrupt the study and result in wrong conclusions! In fact, this is what always happens.
Even those who are at the stage of just being âdrawnâ to Christ, not yet converted, have the Holy Spirit at work âwithâ them (not yet âinâ them), making initial understanding possible. (Take a moment to recall and read John 6:44 and 65, followed by John 14:17.) In fact, you literally cannot understand any of the points that I am explaining here if God, through His Spirit, is not either working with youâdrawing youâor, if you are converted, in you (I Cor. 2:13-14).
Letâs return to Hebrews 4:12 because it also directly introduces a related point. Godâs inspired, living Word is revealed to be a kind of âsword.â Notice: âFor the word of God is quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spiritâŠand is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.â
But what exactly is Paul speaking of?âhow is this sword more fully defined? This is answered in Ephesians 6, which discusses the armor of Godââhelmet of salvation,â âbreastplate of righteousness,â âloins girded with truth,â etc. Notice this piece of the armor: âWherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil dayâŠand takeâŠthe sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Godâ (vs. 13, 17).
This is truly crucial understanding to every Bible student seeking to faithfully use Godâs Word. You simply must not miss this if you hope to understand Scriptureâor to recapture truths lost. The Bible is a living, Spirit sword, and this sword will cut every false doctrine to pieces, slicing with both sidesââtwo edgesââbut this is only true IF the one wielding it has a large measure of the Holy Spirit!
For centuries, millions, even billions, in the world have studied the Bibleâoften diligentlyâyet without comprehension. Now you more fully understand why! Their minds lack the Spirit Word of truth. The Bibleâs readers have no chance for spiritual understanding. But one who is low on Godâs Spirit is only a little better off.
Scrutinize All Areas
In the spirit of peirazo, explained earlier, one must take his or her temperature in a thorough, methodical way. If you are truly interested in âanointing your eyesâŠthat you may see,â you must be willing to carefully examine all aspects of your conversion and Christian life. A cursory review will not do, or even come close. I will offer the following list of questions that, as the barest minimum number, you should ask yourself, here focusing primarily on conduct.
Tools of Growth
Regarding the five tools of Christian growth: Are you regularly praying, studying, fasting, meditatingâand actively concentrating on exercising Godâs Spirit? In which of these are you weak? Where could you do betterâor more? How long and how often do you do these things? Then, how long have you been insufficient in the use of these vital Christian tools, known to the Church for decades as the only way a Christian can grow spiritually?
Sabbath and Holy Days
How do you view Godâs Sabbath? Do you properly prepare for itâand welcome it when it arrives? Do you occasionally âforsake the assembling of yourselves togetherâ? If so, how oftenâand what has made you think that you can do this (Heb. 10:24-26)? Have you relaxed your dress code on the Sabbath from what the entire Church once practiced when it was on track? Is your conversation filled with idle wordsâare you actively striving to remove them from your Sabbath discussions with other brethren? Do you still listen attentively at services, taking careful notes with an open Bible, because you plan to revisit those notes one or more times in the coming week? Is the television on during the Sabbath, and if so, how long and for what purpose? Has this element of your standard of conduct degenerated as per Sabbath-keeping? Do you still see the Sabbath as Godâs test command?
What about the Feast of Tabernacles? Do you always attend every day of the Feastâand, once again, how do you dress? Do you still keep a full second tithe in preparation for the Feast, always turning in the excess before and after the Feast so that others, less privileged, may also attend?
Bible Study and Reading
How often do you study your Bible to intensively review basic doctrines (in a dokimos fashion)âor for personal correction in this way? When did you last pick up even one book or booklet of the Churchâs literatureâand carefully read it with an open Bible? (In this regard, I Timothy 4:13, âgive attendance to reading,â has vital application.) How often do you think about, talk about, or study with the concept ofâthe very word ofâtruth in your mind? How often do you find yourself consciously and specifically thinking about the need to hold fast, with Revelation 3:11 in your mind? Ever?
Watching Prophecy Fulfilled
In this regard, how urgently do you study prophecyâmeaning the truth of prophecy? Is even the subject of prophecy one that still gives you goose bumps, firing you up to the tremendous urgency of our timeâand leaving you a more fervent Christian each time you study events that will soon come to passâevents that will crash upon the whole world when they arrive?
How thoroughly are you still applying Luke 21:36ââwatch and pray alwaysâârecognizing the extreme danger for you if you ignore verses 34-35 that precede itâand particularly verse 35?
What about other areas of Christian conduct? Do you drink too much alcohol? Does your conversation throughout the week reflect what Christ would sayâand are you actively concerned with this? How is your marriage doing, and to what degree are you focused on improving this God-plane relationship you learned is âa divine institution, ordained of Godâ? Is it still specialâand growing more so every day?
Are you routinely practicing the biblically prescribed principles of childrearing? Are you consistent and unified in what you do, knowing that you are training little potential members of the God Family, and knowing that you have them as only a temporary stewardship, administered on Godâs behalf until they reach adulthood?
Do you still faithfully tithe on every dime you earn? What about offerings, also commanded by God (Mal. 3:8-10)?
Fervent for the Work?
When Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was alive, he spoke continually about the importance of Godâs Work. Aside from the correct framework of how Godâs true Work is to be done and His full truth preached, do you, at least within your group, still thrill at progress in the Work being done around the world?
How often do you pray about Godâs Work? How long and how specific are your prayers for more âlaborersâ (Matt. 9:36-38)? Do you think in terms of regularly sacrificing with extra offerings, as Mr. Armstrong reminded us monthly in almost every Member/Co-Worker Letter? How much do you think about the marvelous announcement of the kingdom of God going to all nations and the sobering Ezekiel warning going to the modern nations of Israel?
Examining and Overcoming
How often do you stop your activity and take time to examine yourself? Recognizing the power of Jeremiah 17:9, how often do you fervently pray for correction (10:23-24), beseechingâbegging!âGod to show you yourself as He sees you? How often do you deeply repent of what Godâs mirror (Jms. 1:22-25) reveals to you?
How concerned with copying the life of Christ are you? How often do you think about this continuous responsibility? How broken up about your conduct are youâand how determined are you to defeat your problems? What areas of weakness can you say that you have honestly addressedâand overcome? How often and to what degree do you feel a âhungering and thirsting after righteousnessâ? How often do you think about and try to display the nine âfruits of the spiritââlove, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23)ârecognizing Jesusâ sobering instruction, given four times in John 15, to âbring forth more fruitâ (vs. 2, 5, 8, 16) as proof you are His disciple?
Why You Were Born!
How often do you activelyâconsciouslyâthink about ruling with Christâactually sitting on thrones reigning over nations? How much do you think about the process of qualifying for rulership? Are you connecting this to properly ruling all areas of your life now? Do you oftenâor everâmeditate on whether God is truly ruling you? Do you periodically remind yourself that you are in training to be a teacher?
This list could go on and on, but what I have listed here is not intended to be more than a starting pointâa place to begin. It is far from completeâand the sincerity of your interest in regaining your sight will be partly defined by the length of your own list beyond the one I have provided. It will also be measured by how honestly you grade yourself.
Keep in mind why you were bornâand allow Christâs words from Revelation 3:21 to inspire zealous pre-Passover self-examination: âTo him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.â