Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?2 Corinthians 13:5-6
When we are out of line with Christian standards we have to ask ourselves,
Am I a true Christian, or am I a counterfeit? Have I been born again, or am I only putting up a front? Those of us who are Christians ought to ask ourselves that occasionally. It is a good idea to examine yourself, especially if there is any kind of wrong behavior involved.
The very fact that the apostle could ask a question like that indicates that a possible answer is what marks true Christianity. A Christian, of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. Nor does adhering to a certain moral standard in your life or the fact that you consistently read the Bible make you a Christian. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ dwells. And the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable evidence of that fact given to him or her. Paul is suggesting that we ask ourselves if we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us.
You may be asking,
How can I know that? The answer is found in several places in Scripture. For instance, Scripture speaks of an
inner witness. In Romans Paul says,
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children (Romans 8:16). That is one way you can know. There is an inner testimony, a feeling, a sense within produced by the Spirit of God who dwells within that you are part of the great family of God.
Scripture speaks also of desires that are born in the heart of a new Christian. First Peter 2:2 says,
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. One of the marks of born-again believers is that they have a deep and sudden thirst for the Word of God, a hunger to be fed, to know the truth of God.
This inner change will also produce an outward change, which is not all subjective. We can answer the question,
Is Jesus Christ in you? by observing our conduct, because the inner change will produce a different attitude toward our behavior. One of the striking things about new Christians is that they invariably begin to manifest a totally different attitude toward things they once thought were appropriate. In some of the more blatant forms of evil, such as attitudes about lying or drunkenness or stealing, they find immediately that their attitude is changed. That is because Christ lives in them, and light can have no part with darkness. Christ cannot share with Belial. Even our attitude toward our selfishness changes. We see how selfish we have been. It looks ugly and distasteful in our eyes, and we want to be free from it.
Lord, help me to honestly examine myself Thank You that as I do so, I can trust Your Spirit to show me what is displeasing to You.
How can we know whether we have true faith? What is the Evidence that we can really know and that others can see? What about when doubt strikes?