2 Corinthians 13:5-13
5 Take a good look at yourselves to see if you are really believers. Test yourselves. Don’t you realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Unless, of course, you fail the test! 6 I hope you will discover that I haven’t failed the test. 7 I pray to God that you won’t do anything wrong. I don’t pray so that people will see that I have passed the test. Instead, I pray this so that you will do what is right, even if it seems I have failed. 8 I can’t do anything to stop the truth. I can only work for the truth. 9 I’m glad when I am weak but you are strong. I pray that there will be no more problems among you. 10 That’s why I write these things before I come to you. Then when I do come, I won’t have to be hard on you when I use my authority. The Lord gave me the authority to build you up. He didn’t give it to me to tear you down. 11 Finally, brothers and sisters, be joyful! Work to make things right with one another. Help one another and agree with one another. Live in peace. And the God who gives love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
Nobody likes to be corrected and nobody likes having to correct other people but this is what Paul had to do with the Corinthian church.
This passage is the final words of several letters Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding the unacceptable behaviour of some of its members. Paul loved the Corinthians and found it hard to bring harsh correction in person so he wrote to them beforehand hoping they would change their behaviour before seeing them.
In verse 5 Paul shares an important principle. ‘Examine yourself to see whether you are in the faith’. Possibly a simpler way of putting this would be ‘Examine your own behaviour to see if it is in line with what we believe’. The problem is, unless you practice it regularly self‑examination is not easy and sometimes quite painful.
So why is this important?
Because honest self‑examination is the first step to self-correction (repentance), but here is the interesting part. The love of God treats us in the same way as Paul did with the Corinthians, wanting us to sort out our own wrong doings in private long before any form of public correction is needed.
Dear God, today in my own private prayer space I ask you to bring to my awareness one thing I need to change and by your grace give me the power to change it. Amen.
Written by David Newton