Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
Self-examination can be a challenging thing to do. I am biased, generally thinking of myself in a positive light. I want to think I am doing well, which makes it a little difficult to get a true self-assessment. The good shines a bit brighter while the not-so-good tends toward getting glossed over. And there is likely nowhere this is more evident than in my spiritual life. Even if I wanted to, how does one do a self-diagnostic on their spiritual health? How can I determine if I am really in the faith?
While there can be many suggestions for how to do a self-examination, I would like to offer up a couple of them. First of all, is your life different than it would be if you had not come to Christ? Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the world, but rather to be transformed. We should be different than the culture around us. Consider what your life would be like if you were not a Christian. What difference has it made, other than going to church and throwing money in the plate? Things that you could do just as easily in a secular club. Has your life been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit?
The second test you might make is to look for evidence of the Holy Spirit’s working in your life. Romans 8:9 tells us that if we belong to Christ, then his Spirit dwells in us. And if the Spirit dwells within us, he will be at work. Galatians 5:22-26 identifies the fruit of the Spirit, the results of his work within us. Are you exhibiting these characteristics in increasing measure? Is the Spirit at work, producing his fruit?