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Monday, 15 April 2013

A spiritual MOT test!

Every year, I am obliged to present my car to a suitably registered garage for its MOT test.  If all is well, I receive the appropriate certificate - if not, I have to attend to the fault(s) which the qualified mechanic has discovered.

Although not legally necessary, I also take our touring caravan to our local dealer, on an annual basis, for a service.  Various matters are checked - electrics, brakes, evidence of damp, etc. - and whatever requires attention is attended to.

I am now at the stage in life that it is wise to visit my doctor from time to time, to have a physical check-up.  He is able to check my blood pressure, my joints, my lungs, etc. and decide if I need further treatment of any sort.

Dr W.E.Sangster, in one of his books, suggested that every disciple of Jesus needs, from time to time, to check up on his/her spiritual life.  He suggested the following check-list (slightly amended) as being helpful in this kind of self-examination:

  • am I clean in word, thought, and deed?
  • is Christ, as far as I can make Him, the Head of my home?
  • do they know that I am a disciple of Jesus where I work?
  • are other people likely to be drawn to better things for knowing me?
  • do I guard time, each day, for reading my Bible, and for prayer?
  • do I regularly attend worship services, and attend at the Lord's Table?
  • do other people find it easy to work with me in Christian service?
  • am I generous, as far as I am honestly able, to Christian work?
  • am I growing in Christ?
In the familiar words from Paul's first letter to the early believers in Corinth, he gives the words that are frequently read as disciples of Jesus approach the Lord's Table (I Cor.11:23ff), we often stop at "... you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." (v.26).  However, the apostle continues : "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself [or herself], and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the Body eats and drinks judgement upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died." (vs.27-30; emphasis added).

Perhaps more of us need to attend to that matter of self-examination - that spiritual check-up!  Of course, when we do so, we quickly realise that we are unworthy.  That's when grace comes in.  In one of the many paradoxes of the Christian Faith, it is only when I become aware of, and confess, my unworthiness, that I am made worthy!

A spiritual MOT test!  Don't make it just an annual affair!  Let those of us who bear the name of the Saviour be regular in our self-examination, and quick to deal with those matters that such an examination will reveal - knowing that we have the willing help of God the Holy Spirit in what is, in fact, the process of sanctification (but don't forget the previous post!).


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