Scriptural Gem for September 2012

In 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) we read:

"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?"

The word translated 'examine' in the above passage is the Greek word 'peirazoo'. The root of this word is 'peiro' which means 'to pierce'. Interestingly enough, it is exactly the same word used in Matthew 4:1:

 "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil."

Here the same 'peirazoo' is translated as 'tempted'. The idea of 'piercing' gives us a much better understanding of what Paul is writing to the Corinthians. When he says 'examine yourselves', he is not simply meaning an external examination or a superficial glance. 'Piercing' implies cutting something open to reveal what is inside. As we see in Matthew 4, this is exactly what the devil does when he 'tempts' - he is 'piercing' to see what is inside.

Now, many people view 'testing' or 'tempting' as something that has to be endured and once it is over, they can say "Wow, I made it through that!" But the very point of testing or piercing as Paul put it, is to see what is inside. So, we need to be far more concerned with what the test has shown up than with the fact that we 'made it through the test'. How many times have we been put to the test, have wailed in pain, and then when it is over, have said, "I'm so glad that is over" and gone on our way again? The test has not fulfilled its purpose of showing us what is inside...

And here, dear friends, is the crux of the matter: what does Paul say we will find inside if we pass the test? Jesus Christ. Are we full of His love, patience, kindness, gentleness when we are pierced? Or does a flood of anger, hurt, and foulness burst forth? In view of this it is also much clearer what the devil's intention is when he tempts/pierces us - he wants to see whether Christ is inside or not, whether he has a chance to overcome us or not...

Dear friends, from now on - I urge you - take far greater notice of the test result rather than concentrating on just 'getting through' the test. Bring the test result into the light, let your deeds be exposed to yourself, and allow God to work His Son into you. O Lord Jesus, come and make your home in us that we may pass the test. Amen.