I find 2 Cor. 13:5-10 such an intriguing passage. In our current day culture, we typically view the concept of “testing” in a negative light. As a trial. A difficult season. Something we don’t like. However, in Scripture, Paul uses the application of “testing” to see how far you have come in the deepening of your faith. It is the idea of reflecting in the rear-view mirror in order to catch a glimpse of your spiritual growth.
Of course, we all have ups and downs in our journey, but what we should discover is an overall upward trend.
Paul wanted the Corinthians to take an introspective look at their lives to determine if Jesus was at work. The goal was to build up, not tear down. It is easy to misinterpret the tone of this passage. Paul was all about encouraging them to examine themselves in order to gain assurance of their salvation. He desired their complete restoration. He wanted to see them take a step of faith, leaving their sinful lifestyles behind.
In our seasons of stuckness…it is good to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness time and time again. It is incredibly encouraging to look back, reflect, and build up our faith.
Am I really a true Christian? Or am I a counterfeit?
There’s more to being a Christian than attending church, singing worship songs, and memorizing a few scripture verses now and then. A true Christian has the Holy Spirit residing within. And the Holy Spirit confirms to our inner being that we belong to Christ. (Additional Resource: What is the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?“)
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13-14
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Rom. 8:16
A true Christian desires after God.
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—” 1 Peter 2:2
A true Christian bears fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23
A true Christian experiences heart change.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Cor. 5:17
As a believer, little by little, you should see yourself becoming more like Christ. Your attitudes and actions begin to be transformed. Selfishness erodes away. Sin becomes displeasing. And although you may not see yourself changing on a day-to-day basis…pause…reflect…some things take time to appreciate and recognize.
How do you see yourself being changed over time?