Adjustments are never easy, but course assessment and corrections are important in every aspect of life. If you are always doing the same things without evaluating the effectiveness of your actions, you’ll end up getting into a rut and never get the results you desire.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) 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!
Self-examination is never easy. It seems that we’d be happier believing a lie than knowing the truth about ourselves or our circumstances. God makes it very clear that we should look at the fruit in our lives to see whether we are really Christians or if we are fakes, just putting on the look of a Christian.
A real Christian will not be content simply to go back to a time when they first believed. That may be an important event, but the Bible tells us there should be some evidence that Christ is in you and you are growing in Him.
Titus 2:11-14 (ESV) 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said about the church at Ephesus? They had lost their first love. They were not remembering what they had in Christ when they first believed, and were not acting accordingly, so He told them to remember and to repent from moving away and restore what is needed.
Revelation 2:2–5 (ESV) — 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Here’s the test of truly experiencing the grace of God. Do you have an inward draw or desire to renounce ungodly ways and worldly passions, or do you suppress any thought of it and do whatever you please? Do you live a disciplined life by seeking to live a godly life? Does the thought of Jesus’ return bring a sense of fear or is it an expectation to which you are gladly looking? Does Jesus’ work on the cross in dying for your sins move you and motivate you to good works or has it become ho hum?
This test is not meant to discourage you, rather for you to take an honest assessment of yourself and ask God for the grace to live like He means for you to live with the strong evidence of His grace in your life.
Just as an athlete tests him or herself on a constant basis to see whether they are on the right track in their training, so it is for all of us to test in order to adjust what we are doing so we may please God in all things.
The biblical word for change is “repentance” and it simply means we turn from doing our own thing to following God’s plan and turn from an independent lifestyle to depending on God in everything.
At the beginning of this New Year, try out this agenda for adjustment that begins with an honest assessment of where you really are and where you might have slipped from consistency over the past year, then ask God for His help in making the needed changes as you follow His Word.