One of the recreational activities Vicki and I enjoy is motorcycling; there’s just something about the freedom of riding on the open road. And yes, along with the freedom, comes risk. There’s the risk of my motorcycle breaking down, cars pulling out in front me, the risk of hitting a deer or other little critters, and there’s the risk of hitting flying objects. One time we were following someone towing a boat and one of the cushions flew out of the boat and almost hit us.
Much of the risk of motorcycling is out of my control; however I do like to make sure my bike is as safe as it can be, so last week I took it over to the Harley dealer for their twenty-seven point inspection. Now, if you know anything about Harley Davidson, nothing is cheap and especially their maintenance inspections, but I just have more peace knowing my bike has been thoroughly examined. I figure the high cost is worth it.
As I was driving home, I began thinking about Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians about the importance of regularly examining their spiritual condition. He writes, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it” (II Corinthians 12:5-7 The Message).
Now, of course there are many areas of our faith that can be tested; here are some starters: How’s your love for others? Husbands, are you loving your wives? Wives are you respecting your husbands? Parents are you helping your children discover the glory of God? Are you extending the same kind of grace God extends to you? Do you judge others in the same manner you judge yourselves? What dominates your thinking? What demands your attention? Is the Holy Spirit gaining control over your tongue? Are you regularly setting aside time to be with the Father? Are you living a life that is pleasing to the Lord? Are you gaining victory over your besting sin? Are you stewarding your resources well? Are you bearing fruit in keeping with repentance? What are you doing by faith? Has following Jesus become your life, or is He just one more good thing you’re adding to your life?
After inspecting my motorcycle, they discovered my front tire needs replacing along with my brake fluid which had taken on condensation. They advised me that my rear back tire should be replaced in another 1000 miles or so. The examination proved to be costly.
According to Paul, the point of the spiritual examination if Christ is in you, is to see if you’re becoming more like him. It too may prove to be costly. However, if the Holy Spirit reveals there are areas that need adjustment or repentance, why risk waiting, “do something about it.”
May it be said of us that we never wait too long between spiritual checkups and by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in each one of us, may we find we have passed the test of faith.
Enjoying the freedom of the abundant life,