“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!” – 2. Corinthians 13:5
To be in the faith. What does that exactly mean? And how can we test it as Paul suggests here?
All of us at some point in our lives have made a statement about faith; that we believe in something or somebody. Maybe your mom told you right before you had a hard exam: “I believe in you” or maybe before starting a project you said to your classmates: “I believe this will work!”.
When we enter into the spiritual level, many of us have professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Redeemer and their Creator God. We have surrendered our life to Him, we were baptized and have accepted to enter into a love-relationship with God.
Some of us have decided to give a year in volunteer work for Him or to be part of local church activities, mission and outreach-projects or maybe even to go into fulltime ministry. Most of us would probably dare to say: “Yes, I am in the faith”.
But then again, what does it really mean to be in the faith?
Well, the text in 2 Corinthians 13:5 is very plain. To be in the faith means that Jesus Christ dwells in you. It means that He is the core, the center of my life. My existence revolves around the One, who lives in me.
How can we see that on a daily basis? How can we actually test it as Paul suggests?
Matthew 7:16 provides the answer – “You will recognize them by their fruits”.
We can see it by the “fruits” we produce. – Now, what does that mean?
It signifies, that it is possible to follow Christ by the words we say, but not by the acts we do. Okay, so yes, we all know that if we say one thing, and do another thing we are hypocrites. But I believe this one goes even deeper.
It is possible to profess faith, to attend church, to sign up for the church choir, to be a Sabbath-school teacher, to be active in religion, to produce fruits but still not to have Jesus as the Commander-in-chief, as one’s Master of the heart.
Just think of the Pharisees!
As we proceed to exist in this sin-stricken world, as we go on with the decisions we made, as we live with the statements about the faith we claim to have, let us test ourselves by looking at our fruits – if they are good or bad.
What is the motive behind our actions? How do we use the time that has been given to us, on what do we spend the means we have available, our talents – on behalf of ourselves, or for the cause of Jesus?
Sometimes it can be painful to see and accept the reality about ourselves; that we tend to fall into hypocrisy, because what we say does not reflect the truth about ourselves.
It all comes down to this: Let Jesus dwell in you at all times. Let the love to Him be your motivation. Only the connection to Him will produce good fruits and by that prove that you truly are in the faith.
Therefore, let us return in humbleness to the mercy seat every day. To a God who is all loving and all forgiving and who promises us strength in times of struggle. A God who will turn that hypcrite into a warrior for Christ. To someone who truly stays in the faith.
All we need is Jesus in us.
This is my prayer for you.