examine yourselves

Read 2 Corinthians 13:5-10.

The essence of everything Paul wants to say to the Corinthians church in this letter that we have come to know as “2 Corinthians” is summed up in these two words of his – “test yourselves” (vs.5). Everything Paul has said in this letter has really just been a lead up to saying that – examine yourself. The Corinthians Christians, led astray in their thinking by religious con-artists, have been “examining” Paul with suspicious minds, and now the time has come for him to turn the tables on them and to say, with love: “You’ve been testing the wrong person here. I’m in the clear here. You should be examining yourselves, not me, for you are the ones who have been deceived, not me.”

I grew up in a day (the ’60’s and ’70’s) when automobiles weren’t nearly so maintenance free as they are today. Self-service stations simply didn’t exist; service stations were the order of the day. All sorts of things we don’t even think of today needed constant attention back then (for example, maintaining the proper water level in your car battery and keeping a close eye on the condition of the myriad of various drive belts). And so, whenever someone pulled into my father’s service station, the first thing we’d ask after we took people’s order for gasoline was to ask, “Would you like to check under the hood, today?” Back then, only the hurried, ignorant or foolish ever turned down such an offer. A quick inspection and a bit of care could very well keep them from getting stranded down the road in the middle of nowhere.

It’s still a great question to ask of yourself today. And I’m not talking about cars.

Heavenly Father, when I think I have all the answers to something or about someone, help me make sure I check under my own hood. When I start to criticize others, give me pause to check all my drive belts with a good look lest I overlook some cracks in my motives. When I think the juice in my battery is “good enough,” pull me over and call me to recharge with my heart set on you. I want to go the distance with you, Lord. For I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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