“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Ps. 139:23-24).
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realise this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Cor. 13:5).
As the apostle Paul challenges, if Christ Jesus is indeed in you, then there should be evidence of dying to sin and growing in holiness. Therefore, test yourselves! As King David prays, so ought we to ask him to search us in case there is any sin there which is displeasing to him. This is why we sometimes ask one another what the Lord is teaching you in your current season, or what you have learned over the last year. You ought to be able to discern a pattern of growth in Christlikeness in your own life over time. Confession plays a key role in this process. It stops us falling into spiritual complacency, kills sin by bringing it into the light, and promotes spiritual renewal.
That’s why the apostle Peter says, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:5-8).
Therefore, desiring that we should be effective and fruitful, Alan Redpath, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1953 to 1962, has a series of helpful devotional questions to help us diagnose the state of our spiritual lives. We pray that these will be convicting and helpful. We would also encourage you that whatever the Lord may reveal to you, the answer is always repentance; confess, repent, and turn to the Lord Jesus. For he has promised, that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
What about my relationship with men?
Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am a better man than I really am? Is there the least suspicion of hypocrisy in my life? Am I honest in all my words and acts? Do I exaggerate?
Am I reliable? Can I be trusted? Do I confidentially pass on what was told to me in confidence? Do I grumble and complain in the church?
Am I jealous, impure, irritable, touchy, distrustful? Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying? Am I proud? Do I thank God I am not as other people? Is there anyone I fear, or dislike, or criticize, or resent?
If so, what am I doing about it?
What about my devotion to God?
Does the Bible live to me? Do I give it time to speak to me? Do I go to bed in time, and do I get up in time?
Am I enjoying my prayer life today? Did I enjoy it this morning? When I am involved in a problem in life, do I use my tongue or my knees about it?
Am I disobeying God in anything, or insisting upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
When did I last speak to someone else with the object of trying to win him for Christ?
Am I a slave to books, dress, friends, work, or convention? How do I spend my spare time?
Originally found in: Alan Redpath, Victorious Christian Service (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1980), p. 161