What do you need? How will it happen? The purpose of self-examination!
Thoughts to enocurage you to adore Jesus, and to celebrate His role in your life!
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (NLT2)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT2)
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? 3 Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me. Psalm 13:2-6 (NLT2)
The philosopher Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” If a common philosopher could think that, how much more we Christians ought to listen to the Holy Spirit when He says, “Examine yourself.” An unexamined Christian lies like an unattended garden. Let your garden go unattended for a few months, and you will not have roses and tomatoes but weeds. (1)
Master Gabriel,164 pastor in Torgau, asked Dr. Martin Luther about that passage of Paul to Timothy [I Tim. 4:5], “For it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
Dr. Martin Luther replied, “Godly men acknowledge that all things are of God and consecrate them through the Word of God when they pray. To them all things are pure when they are used according to God’s will. (2)
When Tozer quote Socrates, it sounds familiar, and even Biblical.
After all, Paul warns the church that each person should examine themslves prior to receving the Lord’s Supper. The wanring about being jduged for sinning against the Body and Blood of Christ is serious.
I think that Tozer and Socrates have something different in mind than the Apostle Paul. It is not a bad thing, but Paul is talking about something more significant, I would say something more critical. Someting that requires more than anyone is capable of addressing on their own.
That is where Luther comes point out what is necessary, the prayer that God consecrates, man doesn’t.
Our examination simply to recognize the necessity of Christ’s Body to be broken, His blood to be shed. The sacrifice of Christ, and the covenant it creates, is the only answer to what we see when we examine our lives. For what we see are the wounds caused by sin, the brokenness caused by our self-idolatry, the times where we think our desires outweigh the wisdom of God.
The prayer of Psalm 13 anticipates this work of God that occurs as we are consecrated as the consecrated bread and wine, the very Body and Blood of Christ are taken and we commune with God. There we celebrate that God has removed all that offends Him, and where He renews our spirit. All the promises given to us in our baptism – when we were united with Jesus in HIs death and resurrection – all this is renewed as we commune with Him….
And then, renewed, revived, free of the burdens of guilt, shame, resentment, we begin to see this God we worship more clearly…. and praise goes into another level.
So examine yourself… realize how great your need is… and realize it is answered…
God loves you… that much!
(1) A. W. Tozer, Tozer for the Christian Leader (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015).
(2) Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 244.