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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“No, a man should thoroughly examine himself, and only then should he eat the bread or drink of the cup. He that eats and drinks carelessly is eating and drinking a judgment on himself, for he is blind to the presence of the Lord’s body.”—1 Corinthians 11:28 (PHILLIPS)
One of the hardest things to do is be honest with yourself. True self-examination is hard. Why? Because it requires us to identify and admit issues within us that may require painful pruning and lifestyle changes. It requires a lot of hard work, not half measures, to correct problem behaviors, faulty philosophies, and sinful patterns.
Here’s the thing, though . . . self-examination is something we as believers must engage in constantly. It’s something we must do in tandem with the Spirit of the Lord. It’s Scriptural instruction from some of the wisest biblical figures. In Psalm 139:23–24 (HCSB) David says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” Job 13:23 (NASB) says, “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.” In 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB), Paul tells us, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” And the list goes on!
In today’s verse, Paul encourages us to examine ourselves before participating in the Lord’s Supper. Theologian John Gill explained, “Whether he has a true sense of sin, sorrow and repentance for it; otherwise he will see no need of a Savior, nor will he look to Christ for salvation, or be thankful to him for redemption by him; all which are necessary in a due observance of this ordinance; also, whether he is in the faith, whether he is a partaker of the true grace of faith.”
Again, though, self-examination is hard because it requires us to admit things we don’t want to admit. But communion is meant to be a time of self-examination of our sinfulness and shortcomings and reflection on the perfect goodness, grace, and love of Christ to pour out His blood and allow His body to be broken for us. It’s a time of dedication to Christ.
Today, I want to encourage you to do some deep self-examination. In the same way that we find it fairly easy to identify the speck in our brother’s eye, let’s take the time, with the Spirit’s guidance, to probe our own lives and then admit our shortcomings before God and pray for Him to lead us.
DIG: Read 1 Corinthians 11, Lamentations 3, and Psalm 139.
DISCOVER: Why is it important to engage in the practice of self-reflection and examination? Why does Paul specifically tie this practice to communion?
DISPLAY: Spend some time examining yourself today.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.