Passing the Test
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 104:1-9 | Isaiah 12:1-14:32 | 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 | Proverbs 23:9-11
Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 13
“Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. you need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it . . .We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you” (2 Corinthians 13:5-9 The Message).
Paul reminds us that we sometimes need to check our progress in the faith. Are we growing up in the faith? Are we becoming more and more like Jesus? Or are we just drifting along without any apparent progress, or worse, losing ground?
Paul’s measuring stick is this: “Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves: that “Jesus Christ is in you?” The life of Jesus in you is the sure sign that you are moving ahead in the faith. As we become more and more like him, we show the sure fruit that we are growing in the faith.
He isn’t suggesting perfection, or that we will never fail (growth is a process). But he does suggest that there should be progress in the right direction. In our character, in our priorities, in our lifestyle and decisions, we are to reflect more and more of Jesus who lives within.
In another passage, Paul gives some of the qualities that are to grow more and more within us as we become Christlike: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV).
It’s good to check our progress. It’s encouraging to see more of Christ’s love, more of his joy and peace, more of his patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It’s also humbling to realize how far we have to go to become like him. But that humility only causes us to place our trust not in our self-effort, but in Christ who lives within us. He is the one who began the good work in us and he will complete it (Phil 1:6).
Let’s press on together, helping each other out in this journey of becoming more and more like Jesus.
Lord, help me to keep growing in you. Let me see a bumper crop of the fruit of your Spirit in my life. May the life and character of Jesus be seen more and more in me, I pray. Amen.