The Deep Need To Test Our Character
2 Corinthians 13:5 states a command to examine and prove ourselves. The passage says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (ESV). This show us there is a deep need for all people to test their individual character. Furthermore there is a deep need for us to pass the test of the trial of our faith. When we consider our faith as an individual assessment test it should be realized that there is a lessor trial of faith for us than Jesus Christ in the realm of suffering. We are not adjudicated as deserving of crucifixion for our faith; however, Jesus was condemned as a blasphemer for His faith and He was crucified. He was guiltless yet that did not curtail the cross death sentence. Nevertheless we still aught all strive to examine ourselves with the Bible as the standard for our lives and see how we measure up. Here are a few questions to use as self-examination criteria to determine if our character is noble and righteous before God:
1. How do we react when the scripture urges us to follow a different life course that is different from what I am doing? 2. How do I react when I am criticized? 3. What is my reaction when I don’t get my way? 4. How do I react when my efforts fail?
When the Bible commands are contrary to what I think. It is a true test of character to choose the path of conformity to God’s will instead of blending one’s actions with the world. In Acts 11, some Jews confronted Peter. They said, that he was eating with Gentiles; where this practice was once a taboo custom amid the Jewish community. Peter chose to follow the new mandate of God that stated “do not call common” what God hath cleansed (Acts 11).
How do I react when I am criticized? Acts 16:19-25 “But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice. 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them...”
Notice that when Paul and Silas were criticized for healing someone that they were thrown in prison, amid this persecution they choose to sing songs. We can do the same thing, when we are faced with a challenge we can sing and praise God.
How do I react when I don’t get my way? Acts 16:6 says “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.”
This shows that while Paul had wanted to go to Asia the Lord had different plans for Paul. It is a true test of our character to follow God’s way even when that is not our personal preference.
How do I react when my efforts fail Luke 5:4-8, “And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. 5 And Simon answered, Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets. 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
The final example of the testing of one’s character is seen in what we do when our efforts are not successful. Peter let his nets down for a catch but he did not find any fish. But when he yielded His will to do the Lord’s will then he was successful in his work. Similarly if we show obedience to God and do the will of Jesus Christ than we can know our efforts to serve God will be successful. * By: J.R. Rosado