“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Examine yourselves” is a mainstay cry in the New Testament. We should never be so confident in our self or our faith as to assume immutability. In fact, one of the tricks of the devil is to instill religious self-confidence in an individual. This leads to religious-overconfidence and pride then eventually ruination.
But “examine yourselves” means more than self-investigation. In a more literal sense it means to try, tempt and prove yourself. Proving yourself is the acid test of action. It is being under pressure of sin and winning. To learn principle and precept is one thing. Applying it and being it are quite another.
“Whether ye be in the faith”. We are tempting and proving our faith. Deeds and actions will be a result of our faith (But not the cause of it). Are we going to church? Are we reading our Bibles? Are we praying? Or do other things take priority? Does a fishing trip constantly replace worship? Are you too tired to pray? Do you sit and watch TV and not crack open your Bible?
Some people believe that when you are spirit filled and saved that certain things will just flow such as church, Bible reading and prayer. They believe that all things will occur “naturally” without effort. The answer to that is, “No, probably not.”
Even the Apostle Paul had internal struggles with doing what he should.
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Romans 7:14-17).
Exerting the effort to do what you know is right is a demonstration of value. All things do not just “flow naturally” when you are born again. Some things require mental attentiveness and some things require plain ol’ effort. But it is this conscious and physical output which is the demonstration of love to Christ that works right down to the spirit.
“Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you”. There’s a fair question. Do you know for certain that Christ is in you? After-all, isn’t this what the trying and proving is all about? Examine yourself to discover whether or not Jesus Christ resides within you. Either he does or “ye be reprobates”, or someone who couldn’t pass self-examination.
It all boils down to one simple aspect-Awareness. Are you truly aware of you and your relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it a personal knowledge of intimacy? Or is it an academic, superficial, non-personal knowledge of him? We learn in James 2:19 that the devils also know and believe in Christ and tremble. Is that the type of knowledge and relationship we have with Christ? Or is it a personal one? This is the point and purpose of our examination, proving and testing.