Connections 06.07.2020: Self-Examination

2 Corinthians 13:1-13

This week’s lesson text places quite a challenge before us: “Examine yourself to see whether you are living in the faith” (v. 5a). We have many options as to how we will deal with it.

I’ve seen people try a few different approaches. I’ve tried a few myself.

The option we choose demonstrates the assumption we make. As a public service, I’d like to offer the Top Ten Assumptions we might make in dealing with the challenge to examine ourselves to see whether we’re living in the faith. As we’ll see, assumptions have implications.

#10: I assume that I am living in the faith, so I don’t bother to check.

#9: I assume that I’m not living in the faith, so I beat myself up about it.

#8: I assume that I can’t live in the faith, so I don’t even try to do so.

#7: I assume that others live in the faith better than I do, so I compare myself to them and become frustrated.

#6: I assume that those who think they live in the faith better than I do in fact don’t, so I examine them rather than myself.

#5: I assume that living in the faith means doing what I’ve always done, so I don’t make any progress.

#4: I assume that living in the faith means believing the right things, so I confine my discipleship to my brain.

#3: I assume that living in the faith means avoiding sin, so I keep tabs on whether I’m doing any wrong things, but never quite get around to doing right things.

#2: I assume that living in the faith today is mainly a way to go to heaven someday, and since I have my ticket, I don’t need to check on anything else.

#1: I assume that I can live in the faith, so I appraise myself honestly, make needed corrections, lean on God’s grace, and keep on growing and moving forward.

Let’s all try to grow toward adopting and practicing assumption #1.

Discussion

  • What does our lesson text teach us about mutual responsibility and accountability?
  • What is “living in the faith” (v. 5)? What is “the faith”?
  • Paul says that he prays that the Corinthian believers “may become perfect” (v. 9). What does it mean for us to become perfect? Is it even possible? Why or why not?
  • What does it mean for Jesus Christ to be in us?
  • How would church life change if we lived according to Paul’s closing words in verses 11-13?

Michael Ruffin is husband to Debra, father to Joshua (Michelle) and Sara (Benjamin), grandfather to Sullivan and Isabella. A graduate of Mercer University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has previously served as a pastor and as a university professor. He lives on the Ruffin Family Farm in Yatesville, Georgia. He is the Connections Series Curriculum Editor.

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