June 5, 2005
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
by Jack Northart
In the world today, people are continuously trying to examine to see if God really exists, or if He will really do what He says He will do, or if the Bible lines up with their beliefs. This is backwards to what God tells believers to do in His Word when it comes to any type of examination.
II Corinithians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
It is interesting to note that God tells us here in this verse that we are to examine not Him, but ourselves. We are to do a self-evaluation of ourselves.
The word for "examine" in this verse literally means: "to examine or trial by piercing." We test to see if a roast in the oven is done by piercing it with a fork or toothpick. If the juice is clear when it runs out, it is usually finished cooking. We are to examine ourselves and prove our ownselves, and in the process we see that whatever is coming out tells us what is on the inside. This is done by observance and awareness of what is in our heart. This is demonstrated by what we say, how we feel, how we act, and what we believe.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Jesus is teaching them about the fruit produced by men's lives. Good trees produce good fruit, corrupt trees produce corrupt fruit. Fruit is the result or production of whatever type of tree is growing the fruit. If it is an apple tree, the fruit will be apples. Likewise, a thistle will produce more thistles.
In this examination, or trial by piercing, we can see what fruit is being produced in our lives. Is there something in our lives that keeps making us angry, or sad, or bitter everytime a certain subject comes up? These emotions are simply manifestations or fruit of a cause that is in the heart and needs to be dealt with. How do we deal with them?
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
The Amplified Bible translates this verse as: "But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!"
There is more to this process of "putting off" of these things than just pushing them down deeper inside and ignoring the cause. As we discussed in our last issue of The Grapevine, to put off something is a deliberate act. It is not masking it with something else first. It is dealing with it directly and getting rid of the cause. By examining ourselves, we observe the emotional reaction to something, then find the cause and get rid of it. The problem that most people have had with dealing with these things is that they don't literally put them off, but rather cover them over with a verse of scripture and put a happy face on it. That is like putting a bandage over the top of a splinter in your hand, then saying to yourself, "I can't see the splinter, so it must not be there." That is not sound thinking! We must remove the splinter, remove the cause, then the healing will begin.
The things that are mentioned in Colossians 3: anger, wrath, malice etc. are simply the fruit or product of something on the inside. If we want to be successful in getting rid of these things, we must observe them happening in the first place by examining them, then deal with the cause. How do we deal with the cause? One aspect is in Ephesians.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Since the Bible is an Eastern Book, written with Oriental understanding, it is important to realize that there are "orientalisms" in the Bible that the Western or Occidental way of thinking must understand. One such orientalism is in Matthew and deals with this subject.
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
The word "bottles" is refering to animal skins which were used for carrying liquids. When the skins are new and new wine is placed inside them, the fermentation of the wine causes them to stretch and retain its integrity. However, if the skins are old and dry and new wine is placed in them, then the fermentation would cause the skins to burst. The analogy that Jesus gave them spoke very loudly to them about this very thing of dealing with the new thoughts of God and keeping the old manner of life as it was before. It will not work.
Many years ago, I was hurt deeply by someone that I trusted with my life. After the incident that caused this wound, I was angry and bitter for a long time. I had tried to put off the anger and bitterness, but without success. It kept hurting. Several years had passed and I had pushed the bitterness and anger down enough to where I could at least talk about the incident with others. One day, someone said to me, "It sounds to me like you need to forgive here this person in this situation." To which I replied: "It is not a matter of forgiveness," to which this person replied, "Oh, yes it is!" With that, I faced this issue in my heart and mind, straight on! I examined myself and I decided that I could permit myself to forgive, and from that moment on, I have not had bitterness or anger about that incident.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
What a wonderful verse in describing a physical effect from an emotional state! When a person is truly happy and joyous, there is so much good that effects our physical bodies. On the otherhand, when a person is harboring bitterness, hurt, discontent or malice, it tends to make them sick physically.
In spite of what bad experiences that we have had in our past, God has made a way for us to recover and be restored back to life. He shows us what good and acceptable and perfect things will result for us.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The benefits of God are so magnificent and wonderful. As we take stock in our lives, and examine ourselves, and simply carry out what God has stated so beautifully in His Word, our lives will be filled with strength, abundance, health and so many other wonderful things.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
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