Self-Examination: Do I Have Love?

by Danny Douglas

 

“And If I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:3).  “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is you, except ye be reprobates? (II Corinthians 13:5).

1. In approaching worship, do I come to worship and glorify God, to please and praise Him? Or, to be entertained?  God is always to be the object of worship. (John 4:24; Psalms 100; I Corinthians 14:25; Philippians 3:3; Revelation 19:10; 22:9; Matthew 4:10) “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

2. Do I seek to “get even”? Or, do I do good to those who wrong me? (Matthew 5:43- 48; 7:12; Romans 12:14, 19-21; Galatians 6:7-8; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:12-14). “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).

3. Do we think the best and hope for the best? Or, are we suspicious and anxious to find fault?  “Love suffereth long (and) is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not Itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave it self unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  Love never faileth”. (I Corinthians 13:4-8a; cf. John 7:24; Matthew 7:1-5)

4. Do I feel pain or do I feel threatened when others do well?  Do I have a spirit of rivalry and a desire to be number 1?  Paul states that “envyings” Is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), and that “love envieth not” (I Corinthians 13:4).  “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15).

5. Do I that I do not receive what I deserve?  Do I keep account of the good I have done? (I Corinthians 13:4; Romans 12:15; Proverbs 16:18; James 4:10; Matthew 6:1-6; Luke 18:9-14)  Have we forgotten all that God has done for us? (Romans 5:8-9; James 1:17) and that Jesus Christ received mistreatment which He did not deserve: “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God bath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3.14-15).

6. Do kindness and courtesy come naturally?  Are they a way of life? (I Corinthians 13:4-5; Ephesians 4:32).  Jesus did good to others (Acts 1:1; 10: 38). Let us follow His example (I Peter 2:21; Luke 9:23).  He said: “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

7. Is my attitude-- I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget?” (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32).  If one repents, we must forgive (Luke 17:3-4).  Let us practice the kind of forgiveness that God does: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).  Are we willing to repent and confess our sins, that we may be forgiven of God and the brethren? (Acts 8:22; James 5:16)  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

8. Am I humble and unselfish, or proud and selfish?  Do I seek what I want, or that which will be of the greatest benefit to others?  Romans 15:1-3; Luke 9:23; II Corinthians 8:9; I Corinthians 13:5; Matthew 23:11-12; Philippians 2:1-5). “Cross yourself out!’ (brother J. A. McNutt). “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me (Romans 15:2-3).  Jesus was humble: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

9. Do I resist sin because it is against God, or only because of earthly consequences?  Do I desire to please Him above everything else? (I Corinthians 13:6; Psalms 51:4; I John 3:4; John 8:29).  Joseph answered Potiphar’s wife: “There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

10. Do I keep score in my relationships? (Acts 20:35; I Corinthians 13:4; II Corinthians 8:5; 9:7).  We help others and our relationship to them improves when we improve our own attitudes and behaviors, but not by having the attitude, “You owe me.”  We all owe a debt to God that we could never repay. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed onus abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being Justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

11. Do I follow the royal law of love with my tongue? (James 2:8; 3:8; Proverbs 18:21; 11:30; Romans 1:29-30; 3:13-14). The tongue has great power for good or evil (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 4:15, 29; I John 2:3; 4:8; Daniel 12:3). “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” Ephesians 4:29.

12. Am I obedient to God? (John 14:15; 15:13-14)  Is my duty to God my true desire? (Psalms 122:1; John 12:3-8; 14:15; Galatians 5:6; I John 5:3).  Love is expressed in action (I John 3:16-18; Matthew 15:7-9; John 14:21-24).  Is my obedience true, because I love Him and desire to please and glorify Him?  “Our God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17).

13. Do we seek the highest good of others?  This means that we have to tell people in sin their need of repentance, because we want them to be saved. We must be willing to speak the both even if people do not want to hear it.  Love means that we must be willing to risk friendship and make enemies for the truths sake (II Timothy 3:15; 4:2; Titus 1:13; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20).  “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). “Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:5-6).  We must be willing to withdraw from the disorderly because we love their souls, the Church and Christ (I Corinthians 5:1-13; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15). “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw your selves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (II Thessalonians 3:6).

14. Do I love fervently and sacrificially like Christ? (Philippians 2:5-8; I Peter 1:22; I John 4:7-21; II Corinthians 8:1-9)  “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2).  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to an other” (John13:34-35).