Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)
Scripture Reading & Devotional:
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves….
— 2 Corinthians 13:5
Second Corinthians 13:5 tells us to “examine ourselves” from time to time to see if we are in the faith. This is especially true as we witness the direction society is going in these last of the last days.
That word “examine” is the Greek word peiradzo, which actually refers to an intense examination. This could include a test by fire, a test based on questions, or a test that includes some type of self-examination. A test of self-examination is the most pain-free option, even if you must ask yourself questions that require answers that are uncomfortable to confront.
So today why don’t you do a little self-examining and see how well you fare? Open your heart, be honest, and talk to yourself and to God about these questions. They are designed only to help you consider possible areas where you may need to change.
What do you give to God financially?
Since actions speak louder than words, take a look at your financial giving and see what it reveals about whom you love most. Do you give the tithe, as commanded by Scripture, or do you regularly make excuses for not giving and use the money elsewhere for personal pleasures or other things?
If you are honest today, what would you say that your giving reveals about your love for God?
What do you do with your time?
Do you make spending time with God a top priority in your life? Or do you complain that you do not have time to pray or read the Bible, yet you somehow make lots of time to visit with friends, watch television, go to the movies, and do other things that you want to do?
If God Himself looked at your life and measured what you love most by the things you dedicate your time to, what would He say?
What do you do to serve others?
It’s amazing how many people claim to love God, but never have time to serve Him in a practical way in a local church. Words are easily spoken, but actions prove a person’s sincerity.
By looking at your life, would God say that your actions prove you are more devoted to your own needs and interests, or that your life demonstrates you are in love with God’s Church?
When you pray, what do you pray about? Do you pray about yourself only, or do you pray for the needs and dreams of others?
It is easy to think of your own needs and desires, but how often do you focus your prayers on the concerns of others? When you pray, does God hear you primarily praying for yourself, or does God hear you praying for other people too?
If God were to give a report about the things He hears you pray about, would He report that you are an unselfish person who is concerned about the needs and dreams of others, or would He report that you are concerned only about yourself and your own needs?
What personal sacrifices do you make to serve the Lord?
How long has it been since you gave something up or changed your schedule to help someone else or to walk in obedience to God’s plan? Can you honestly say that you are picking up your cross and dying to your own interests in order to serve others and to make a difference in someone else’s life?
If God opened the books to reveal the sacrifices you have made for Him or others, would the record reveal that you care deeply for God and live in obedience to His commands, or would it show that you are unwilling to inconvenience your life in any way or sacrifice any of your private plans?
What do your spending habits reveal about you?
When you look at the money you spend on your hobbies, personal possessions, and other non-essentials, and then compare it to the amount of money you invest in the Gospel, what does it reveal about your love for God and concern for others who need to hear the saving message of Jesus Christ? We can all mislead ourselves to think we are generous, but if God Himself gave His view of what your spending habits reveal about your priorities, what would He say about you?
Would God say the Gospel is most important to you, or would He say that your spending habits reveal that your driving motivation in life is simply pursuing comfort and pleasure?
What are you sacrificing to be obedient to God?
Is there anything you are laying down in order to walk in obedience to God and His Word, or would you have to honestly say that you don’t sacrifice much for God or others? Are you willing to be inconvenienced to help someone else or to serve in the church, or are you unwilling to jeopardize your own comforts and pleasures?
Would God say your life reveals that you are willing to pick up your cross to do what God asks of you, or that you do everything you can to avoid letting anyone or anything inconvenience you?
What does your lifestyle reveal about your priorities?
Does your daily lifestyle reveal that you love entertainment, pleasure, comfort, and happiness the most? Are you consumed with yourself and your own needs and offer no service to anyone else if it requires you to sacrifice your time, energy, or comfort? Or can you honestly say that you are living your life primarily for Jesus, fulfilling His plan for you in these last days?
If God were to comment on your lifestyle, would He say that it is dedicated to Him and to fulfilling His plan? Would your priorities match those of a selfish or unselfish lifestyle?
A day is coming when the truth about you will be known! The secrets of the heart will be made manifest, and the truth will be laid bare before God. So wouldn’t it be much wiser for you to let God deal with your heart now — to expose those areas of your life and thinking that need to be changed so you can be more conformed to the mind of Christ?
If you let the Holy Spirit deal with you now and bring about the necessary changes in your life, you will be able to confidently and joyfully look into the eyes of Jesus on that day you stand before Him. And you will be known as one who loved Him most of all in these last days when so many were caught up with being “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4)!
Devotional By Rick Renner
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I come before You now as humbly as I know how, and I ask You to shine the light of Your Word into every hidden place of my heart to reveal my true motives to me. Disobedience produces self-deception, and, Father, I realize that actions speak far louder than words. I have often praised You with my lips, yet my heart was far from You as I rationalized and justified my self-seeking priorities with self-deluded excuses for being a lover of self more than a lover of God. Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me judge myself and lay aside every weight and sin that can so easily trip me up. More than anything, I desire to please You, Father, and to honor the Lord Jesus who gave His life for me. Today, like Jesus, I choose Your will above my own. I yield all I am and all I possess to You for Your exclusive use. I am not my own. I belong to You. I have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I yield to Your transforming power more than ever before. On the day I stand before You and the books of my life are opened and read, I will receive a crown to set at Your feet, just as I lay my life before You now.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare that I examine myself in the light of God’s Word and I apply what the Holy Spirit reveals. I refuse to delude myself with reasoning that is contrary to truth. I choose to be a doer and not merely a hearer who listens to the Word but refuses to internalize its meaning or to act on the truth. I respond to wisdom’s voice, and I bring my life into alignment with God’s purposes and plan. I choose to agree with God; therefore, I walk in harmony with His will and His ways. I don’t waste my life. I keep my focus on Jesus and on eternity. On that great day when I stand before Him, my reward will be that in this life, I was fruitful for His glory because I obeyed.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Did the questions in this Sparkling Gem stir you to self-examination and repentance, or did they provoke anger? If anger, why did they make you angry?
- Did the Holy Spirit actually cause you to pause on one or more of these questions to reflect more deeply on what it was asking? If so, which question in this self-examination really stood out to you?
- What area(s) do you feel the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about that you need to address and change? We each have areas that we need to work on, but just between you and God, which areas are you convicted about?
Prayer: Conclude with Silence (2 Minutes)
The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.