[Article from Restoration Pathway Vol. 1, Issue 1, a Light Searchers newsletter]
You thought the title is off too? Good! That means you are paying attention. And yes, it’s very true: fellow-examination is the one where we are all experts in because we are born with it. Self-examination, on the other hand, is the one in which every single one of us struggles with on a daily basis.But how are we to go about examining ourselves? Well, in order to do that we need to understand what self-examination implies. Simply put, self-examination is basically assessing ourselves in a humble and clear-minded way against the word of God. I repeat, against the word of God.
We all know that it is all too easy and natural to compare ourselves with others. It is even sanctifying to us, in a certain way, to be able to compare ourselves with those who are under our level. People such as alcoholics, drug addicts and all those who do not believe in the truths that we do. We look at them and pretty much say the same as did the Pharisee in the temple: “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Luke 18:11) On the other hand, God views this situation in a whole different manner altogether. In Matthew 7:5, the Lord tells us the following: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Me? A hypocrite? I tell you, those are some pretty strong words, but very true. Because that is what we do, and don’t come telling me that you have never done that. We are quick to judge and criticize others’ lives and characters, but when it comes to criticizing our own lives, that is the part where we don’t like it one bit.
But there is more, in order for us to enter into the kingdom of God—which I sincerely hope that is what we are all striving for—we need to be pure of heart. And in order to be pure in heart, we need to be comparing ourselves with one person in particular: Jesus Christ. And yes, the word of God is a revelation of His character.
Let us both strive to examine our character and our lives. And one word of advice, do not remain long looking at your shortcomings or else you will be discouraged. Look up to Christ for in Him only will we find hope eternal.
“Looking unto Jesus we obtain brighter and more distinct views of God, and by beholding we become changed. Goodness, love for our fellow men, becomes our natural instinct. We develop a character which is the counterpart of the divine character. Growing into His likeness, we enlarge our capacity for knowing God. More and more we enter into fellowship with the heavenly world, and we have continually increasing power to receive the riches of the knowledge and wisdom of eternity” (COL 355.1).