Think On This
12 Bible-based Questions for Christian Self-Examination 12 Bible-based Questions for Christian Self-Examination 12 Bible-based Questions for Christian Self-Examination 12 Bible-based Questions for Christian Self-Examination

Scripture teaches that when one becomes Christ's and He dwells within them and they abide within Him, His nature, as evidenced while on earth that hungered and thirsted after His Father and His righteousness, will be duplicated within that Christian. Being a new creature in Christ, there will be compelling forces and desires as a consequence of that new spirit that were previously non-existent, desires not of the flesh as once and will remain so until death, but now desires of a spiritual nature at odds with the flesh that have no origin, motive or reason for existence apart from God and His nature. (Rom.7)

Both Old and New Testaments teach when a human has tasted this heavenly nature—dined on His Word—it will become an unquenchable desire for that unique heavenly filling that nothing of flesh or earth will substitute or satisfy. The Psalmist declared his cup "...runneth over..." when dining at God's table and thirsted beyond belief in times when away (Ps.23:5; 63:1-2). It is said of King David of old that he loved and desired God and His Word more than life itself. Prophets, who were instructed by God to write from direct dictation to them and then eat what they had written, found what they had written to taste sweeter than the sweetest of anything in their day. Jesus, in giving the Church the sacrament of His Supper, instructed that when doing so, it would be the consumption of Him in remembrance of Him. The author of Hebrews writes that when one truly and eternally tastes "...the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come..." it is impossible to return to earth's table for substitution or satisfaction. And best of all, when Jesus was hungered and tempted of Satan, His response is our example: "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" - Matthew 4:4. Notice, it is not a buffet that we may pick and choose that which suits our taste, soothes our conscience, or proves some point, but "...every word of God."

Paul declares: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" - 2 Ti 3:16,17.

In addition, many world-renowned theologians and pulpiteers of past days have written extensively on this subject. Here are two better known.

Jonathan Edwards writes: "...holy desire, exercised in longings, hungerings, and thirstings after God and holiness, is often mentioned in Scripture as an important part of true religion." He has described this unquenchable thirst as follows1:

Spiritual good is of a satisfying nature; and for that very reason, the soul that tastes, and knows its nature, will thirst after it, and a fullness of it, that it may be satisfied. And the more he experiences, and the more he knows this excellent, unparalleled, exquisite, and satisfying sweetness, the more earnestly he will hunger and thirst for more.

Here is but a small sampling of Charles Spurgeon's writings on this new nature and its desire2:

When a man pants after God, it is a secret life within which makes him do it: he would not long after God by nature. No man thirsts for God while he is left in his carnal state. The unrenewed man pants after anything sooner than God... It proves a renewed nature when you long after God; it is a work of grace in your soul, and you may be thankful for it.
Often in my life, I am asked two very serious questions relating to one's spiritual welfare: (1) How can I tell if I really am a Christian, or, (2) How can I know of my spiritual condition and level of growth as a Christian? As indicated, this is usually asked of themselves but frequently they are asking with regards to another. Not only is it good that a Christian take time periodically to examine their place in their journey with Christ since first responding to His call but the Bible clearly teaches the imperativeness and significance of this. (Ps.26:2; Ps.39:1; II Co.13:5; I Co.11:26-32; I Jn.4:1)

As humans, we often like to find a routine and comfortable place in the performance of life's everyday duties and responsibilities. This leads to systematic and repeated actions as we face each familiar chore we are called upon to perform for ours and others' satisfaction. Quite often this slips into what we colloquially refer to as a "rut." When this happens, little room is left for new experiences, variation, change, or growth in our abilities for this performance beyond our previously achieved abilities for our daily routines. As a result, often, the wonder, awe, excitement, joy, and newness we once felt at the outset has given way to daily boredom and monotony. Our zeal is sapped. Our anticipation in performance is dulled, and, if we really look seriously at ourselves, we may find, after a time, we no longer are as diligent and efficient in our performance as at the beginning. Complacency is often the consequence of such a life "just going through the motions."

As with our human life, this is no less true and significant for our spiritual one. Just as it is incumbent upon us to remain diligent and renewed in our daily life for a life of growth, fulfillment and joy, it is all the more so in our spiritual life. The saddest thing I see when counseling others is one who has lost the Joy of their salvation. When tracing the steps of their lives that brought them to this point, usually, there is a pattern that develops that can be seen almost entirely in each individual. However, we will leave that as a subject for another discussion. Here, we want to look at some questions one can ask to aid them in their examination of their position and condition in Christ.

As one may guess, the first is paramount. Unless it is first answered and settled with heavenly assurance, the remaining are irrelevant. In it lies the root of determining one's future confidence in their spiritual welfare. Without determining, deciding, and settling it once and for all, doubt will always surface at times when it will seem most crucial. Satan will use this to prevent that Christian from ever reaching their fullest potential in Him, including experiencing the greatest Joy Jesus intends to reside within them. This life of doubt and lack of Joy is typically accompanied with a life lived in all kinds of fear. Peace of soul may be absent or appear only in moments of emotional highs, only to vanish when ones emotions recede. So, consider and decide it with great determination. Proceeding from the first and as with the first, continue in each with sincere and complete honesty with yourself and Him. These questions are not intended to be exhaustive, only in hope they will aid you in the process of discovery.

I would strongly recommend you take your time in this process, considering each question and thoughts for each for revisiting from time to time in future re-evaluations. Another method of keeping record of your progress is to create a chart, itemizing each question and ranking your answers on a scale of 1 to 10 where ranking applies, marking a solid 10 line for those permanently settled, as with your answer to the first question. Maintain this chart in future evalutations for discovery of growth and/or areas that may be lacking. This will aid in knowing where you may need to concentrate your efforts in your daily spiritual walk.

As you begin this journey into self-discovery, know that although I do not know of you personally and your life until now, know that for each who finds this exercise and begins this journey, you are included in my prayer on behalf of all He leads in this discovery. Always remember the prayer Jesus prayed for you personally before going to the cross for His victory (John 17:20-26). If you would like to share with me your story of success for His praise and glory, feel free to use the link at bottom. It will find its way to me and I will personally respond to you and share in your triumphs.

If I may, allow me to direct my final thought to the church shepherds. As church leaders, we must know and make a distinction in satisfying a congregation's quest for pleasure in worship to that of satisfying their hunger for God. Both lie deep within the nature of every human: the mind and body's search for excitement and pleasure and the soul's deep longing for identification and fulfillment in its Creator. Pleasure from a method of or performance in worship derived from popular or earthly origin appealing to the human senses, emotions and psychology will be short lived; then when it wanes, and it will, many ask or seek for something greater and newer to satisfy those senses. If necessary, they will go elsewhere to find it. In contrast, quenching in worship of the hunger for God, whatever its depth and duration, will never be outdated or outmoded through worship that appeals to the nature of God that is not confused or compared to familiar practices likely known to each worshiper coming from the world. Having achieved that quenching which goes deeper and beyond mere satisfaction of their emotions and mind, they will be drawn again and again to its sole source—the eternal, the authentic, the ever-renewing well-spring that flows only from His throne. A simple survey consisting of one basic question will speak volumes to the spiritual nature of a church: What is your main reason you come to our church? Or: What do you like most about coming to our church? See also these tried and proven basic laws of church growth discovered when identifying common characteristics in churches experiencing genuine Biblical spiritual growth. A church, as well the individual, needs to consider with gravity Romans 12:1-2 in determining how they are to approach "ways" of living unto Him by asking: Are we conforming or seeking to transform the world in the practices we adopt and adapt to seeking change and growth. If we are merely mimicking methods and practices originating from the world rather than originality from God Himself, then we should not be surprised when Satan slips in unnoticed among us when we take that approach. And although our practice may bring crowds for a season, God is no longer present in nor pleased with our worship. We must ask ourselves in all sincerity: To what nature of the attendee do we appeal? To whose favor do we seek to gain? To what end do we achieve? Who is being "lifted up" in our worship? By whom or what method is being employed to draw for gatherings? If it is anything or anyone but Jesus Himself, we fail Him who has not nor will ever fail us.

  1. Was there a specific point in your life, an event, you yourself can remember, not just the recollection of others, one when you were consciously aware of your lack of Christ and your need of Him for rescuing you from your personal sinful condition in order to be forgiven and accepted by God for eternal life? Do you remember believing that Jesus Christ is God's Son who gave His life in your stead? Do you remember asking God for that forgiveness and accepting Jesus Christ as your Eternal Saviour? Do you remember telling someone, anyone, about your decision or making it known in a public way? (John 10:27; 14:6; Romans 10:8-13; Acts 4:12; I John 4:15)
  2. Do you possess, to any degree, a sense or desire for a life now beyond this life? In other words, do you have an identification with Heaven and a desire to be there? If so, what is the compelling force for that desire? Is it to be with others you have loved you now believe have passed beyond death to Heaven, or, are your first thoughts a desire to be with Jesus who gave you your promise of heaven? Which is your greatest driving motivation, your loss at being apart from them or Him? How often do you think of heaven? (Col.3:1-4; Ph.3:7-15; II Co.5:1-9; Ph.1:21-24)
  3. Do you see only with your natural eyes the world about you? Or, is there a sense now of understanding, to some degree, of a deeper fulfillment and purpose in life that transcends human understanding, logic and reasoning that you did not previously possess? Or, put in another way, when you read or hear others speak about God and spiritual things, is there now a sense of understanding you did not possess before? (II Co.10:7; Ep.4:17-24; Jn.12:35-38; Jn.9:25)
  4. Do you desire to pray? In other words, as with your earthly parents from early childhood, is there such a sense now of identity, bond and love for your now heavenly Father who gave you this new eternal life that you have a desire, to any degree, to talk with Him, to be near to Him? Put another way, is there any sense of guilt when you don't pray? When you pray, are your prayers more about yourself, will and needs, others, their will and needs, or God, His will and needs? When you pray, are your prayers born and bathed from His joy that resides within you knowing that whatever you ask in His name He will give, or, are they filled with anxiety and doubt, not knowing if He hears or will answer? (Ps.18:1; 34:1; 37:4; Isa.58:2; Jer.6:10; Jn.15:7,11; Ro.7:22)
  5. Do you desire to read His written Word? Again, as with the previous, is there a desire, or interest, to any degree, because of this new bond and desire for God, to read what He has spoken for all His new children to read and learn of Him that you may know and understand Him better and know more about your new life in Him? When reading, are there times you find yourself offended by what it says and question the validity of it, and/or, God's actions or teachings? Is there any sense of guilt when you don't read your Bible for any period of time? (Ps.1:1-2; 119:16; Jer.6:10)
  6. Since His is one Family, all born of Him who have believed and trusted in Christ as yourself, is there any sense of identification with and love for those who are already His children, your new brothers and sisters? In other words, do you have a sense of love for, connection to, and desire for interaction with other Christians? Do you miss them when not around them? Or, do you have a sense of loss and unfulfillment, or guilt, when you are apart from them? (Ps.122:1; John 13:34-35; Heb.10:24-25; I John 3:14-18; 4:7,20-21; 5:1-4,13)
  7. When in the company of other Christians and listening to their conversations about Christian matters, to what degree do you desire to remain and participate, or, are you disinterested and simply tolerate them out of social etiquette long enough until you can gracefully and guiltlessly dismiss yourself from them? (Ps.122:1; Mt.18:20; Lk.24:15,32; Acts 4:13; I Co.12:12-27; Rom.12:15-16; Eph.5:17-21; Heb.10:24-25)
  8. God's nature is holy. He demands from us holiness. Can you say, with all honesty, you possess, and, with the greatest intentions, a desire to be and live holy as God is holy? In other words, are you conscious of your thoughts and activities that are not in keeping with His nature of and Biblical teachings on being holy? Do you possess, to any degree, a sense of guilt for that which He teaches is sin you may on occasion perform through your thoughts and actions? Do you possess, to any degree, a detest, revulsion, or abhorance of that which is unholy in any fashion? (Psalms 1; 15; Romans 12:1-2; I Thes.4:7; I John 1:8,10; 2:1)
  9. When you see others around you guilty of that which you know to be wrong, are you quicker to judge or forgive? In other words, as God is patient with you in your faults, are you now more patient and forgiving with others in their faults, or, are your overriding thoughts toward them and their faults that of judgment and condemnation? Do you see their flawed thoughts, speech, or actions more as grievances against you or others, or, God and the position they have put themselves in with Him? Is there any compassion in your heart for their ultimate judgment and peril from Him, or, is there simply human angst for their actions you deem wrong in proportion to the degree of their offense to you or others? (Mt.6:14; Mk.11:25-26; Lk.6:27-38; Lk.17:3-4; Jn.8:1-11; Co.3:9-17)
  10. Since you have become a Christian, can you point to a single thing in your new life that the Bible teaches is exclusively a fruit of the Spirit? Can you say you are truly living a life that is governed by the teachings of His Word, and, those things it teaches will manifest themselves in a genuine Christian are now identifiable to some degree within you? Simply put, do others see Jesus (His nature and characteristics that are distinct from your own human personality) in you, at any time? (John 15:1-8,16; Rom.7:4; Phi.1:11; Col.1:10; Gal.5:19-23; Ep.5:9) In addition, and as a fruit itself, is there one person you can point to you can say you were instrumental, in testimony or influence, in their believing and trusting in Christ also? (Mt.4:19; Mk.1:17; Jn.1:40-42; Acts 8:26-39)
  11. Are you personally persecuted, to any degree, for Christ's sake or for simply being known to others as a Christian? Think hard on this. (John 15:18-21; II Co.4:8-11; Philippians 1:29)
  12. Do you have, at a minimum, a compassion for or love to some degree for someone you know personally whom you consider to be an enemy? Put another way, are you at enmity with any one? As you know, you did not deserve Christ's love for you before accepting Him, do you love that person, in any degree, in the way Christ loved you? Or, do you harbor in your heart toward that person any degree of contempt, malice, hatred, animosity, or other ill feelings? Or, is there no feeling for that individual at all, ill or good? (Mat.5:43-48; Lk.6:27-38; Rom.12:14,17-21; Eph.4:31-32)

1 Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, Perry Miller, gen. ed., Religious Affections, ed. John E. Smith (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1959), page 379.
2 Charles H. Spurgeon, "The Panting Hart," Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 14, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1869; reprint ed., Pasadena, Tex.: Pilgrim Publications, 1982), page 417.
In addition, read:
1.  Charles Spurgeon's Devotion for June 25 for further insight in discerning one's spiritual well being.
2.  Charles Finney's proofs one is spiritually growing in God and His grace.
3.  Charles Finney's marks of a backslidden heart.
4.  Charles Finney's consequences of a backslidden heart.
- Ken Livingston

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