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2 Corinthians 13:5-10

A NOTE FROM PASTOR CHARLIE For these devotions from September 5 to September 18, I will be sharing devotions I wrote a couple of years ago for a previous blog. These will not be following the readings for the coming Sunday, but will still offer an opportunity for Bible readings and reflection.

We will be back to the assigned readings for worship once again starting September 19.

2 Corinthians 13:5-10

5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed. 7 But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect. 10 So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.

These final words from St. Paul to the Corinthians is a challenge to the church – are you living in the faith? How would you answer that for yourself? Your church? Your family? What are the test questions you need to answer to determine that?

Living in the faith. I would suggest that living in the faith would mean that the one in whom we have faith has some say in how we live our lives. Does the one in whom we have faith have any say in how we spend our time, our money, our abilities? Does the one in whom we have faith factor in to how we treat each other in our family, our circle of friends, our neighbors? Does the one in whom we have faith guide us in what we say and how we respond to people we disagree with, or what we don’t say?

Jesus Christ is in you. What impact does that have on you today?

Three words that I would emphasize here. The object of St. Paul’s words is NOT for us to test each other. We are not the instructor. The test needs to be like the law, which is to be used not as a microscope or telescope to see how others are doing, but rather as a mirror. What have I done? What have I left undone? Where can I improve?

Secondly, remember you have Jesus Christ in you. This is God’s gift, given to you NOT because you passed the test. No. Jesus Christ is the one who made sure your entrance into the program is assured. We call it baptism!

Finally, as St. Paul says, the focus in how we deal with each other is not in tearing down but building up. Who needs to hear a positive word from you today?

The good news is the test does not determine whether we are in or out. The test is to check and see how we are doing along the journey, knowing the final exam has already been taken, and Jesus aced it for you and me!

Let us pray: Almighty God, as we continue on in our journey of faith, help us to be honest in our self-inspection, always mindful that your Son, our Savior is with us, in us, and will never abandon us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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