Self-Focus: 1

‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.’ 2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

Self-focus isn’t necessarily bad if it leads to spiritual growth. However, some people mistakenly assume it’s a Biblical mandate and we have to focus on ourselves! After all, didn’t God tell us to ‘examine ourselves’? So with that in mind we start to wonder—‘Do I measure up spiritually? Have I truly repented? Do I pray enough? Is God pleased with me?’ The truth is, focusing on yourself can keep you feeling discouraged and defeated.

Let’s check to see what God actually says. There are only two mentions of self-examination in Scripture, and neither teaches us to self-focus.

First, Paul challenged the Corinthians about tolerating gross sin in their church. A man was having an affair with his stepmother and no one seemed bothered by it. And because they had ‘not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they… indulged’ (2 Corinthians 12:21 NIV), Paul wrote, ‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.’ This isn’t an invitation to self-focus, but a spiritual check-up. ‘See whether you are in the faith.’

Second, Paul corrected the Corinthians’ behaviour during the Lord’s Supper. Because some were getting drunk on communion wine, he said, ‘Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.’ (1 Corinthians 11:28 NIV) Paul’s not suggesting you become fixated on your flaws, but on the liberating truth that Jesus paid the price for all your sin—past, present, and future.

The Bible says to fix ‘our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.’ (Hebrews 12:2 NIV) Growth, joy, and victory lie in abandoning unhealthy self-focus and staying Christ-focused!

SoulFood: Acts 1:4–8, Rom 12:1–8, 1 Cor 12:1–13

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Acts 1:4–8

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Romans 12:1–8

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:1

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

1 Corinthians 12:1–13

12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Sun 23 May, 2021


CALENDAR
Select a specific day

Post Date

Recent Articles

Faith, Fear, and Australia: 3 Lessons I Learned As I Stepped Out

I’ll never forget the day I stepped onto the airplane at the Atlanta airport. This wasn’t just any plane or a normal trip. I was going to Australia. I was terrified, I was excited, and I was questioning my decision all at the same time. I thought I had lost my mind. About a year…

Jots and Tittles: Messiah

It’d be easy to think, when you first read the Gospels and Epistles, that when God became a man about 2000 years ago and walked along the dusty roads of Israel, He was known by the first name ‘Jesus’ and the surname ‘Christ’. But that’s not the case. ‘Christ’ is a title meaning the anointed…

Focus on the Positives

Choosing to find positives in tough situations is a skill we’d all like to have—but sometimes there’s something even harder. Trusting God when life seems to be changing so fast we don’t even know if we want to keep up. Joel Vaughn, Christian pop-rock artist, took some time with the Vision180 team to reflect on…

Your Unpredictable Usefulness

In Australia, we’re used to Christmas done different. Snow covering the landscape? Try, sand at the beach! Crackling fire? Try, a backyard BBQ! Carols at the door? Try, at a huge outdoor music bowl. Vision180’s Mel chatted with Aussie singer Joel Smallbone, half of the award-winning Christian duo, For King and Country, about doing a…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.