CHECK UP FROM THE NECK UP
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 2 Corinthians 13:5-9
When I wrote the title for today's blog, I hear the resounding voice of my father and some of my past coaches echoing through my ears. I have been able to truly challenge myself every time I have heard this phrase. But for any of you that has never heard this phrase, I will give you just a brief summary of what it means in my words. A check up from the neck up means that there are things in our lives that we really need to think about in regards to how we respond and how we act. It means that before we take action and before we speak out, we take the time to study and investigate the foundational stance that we may take in our personal and spiritual lives. It is allowing us the ability to examine our lives before we start looking into the actions of others. I know that in this time of still uncertainty, we have a lot of choices that we have to make as it comes to our families, schools, jobs, and other relationships. We have a call as Christians to examine ourselves daily to see if we are living a life that helps others to be drawn into a relationship with Christ, or do we still only look to our own personal gains. John Wesley would say that he needed to examine himself every day in preparation to help guide others to see Christ and not to cause others to follow his personal flawed life.
So what is it for you? What do you do to examine your life daily and take the time to do a check up from the neck up? Are you willing to take this time in fasting and prayer each day as we pray for our country, our community and our connection as Christians as we now prepare to reopen the doors of our church? Are you willing to dive into God's Word and test your heart, mind and soul in hopes of seeing the things that may need to be removed out of
your life that may be a stumbling block to where God is leading you. Psalm 139:23-24 calls for us to allow God to step into our lives and help us to examine our motives. See the words the Psalmist wrote: "23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Maybe this should be our first call out to God every day. As we are continuing to navigate the unknown together, maybe we need to begin with a check up from the neck up each day in hopes that our new attitude for God will makes its' way throughout every cell of our bodies. This is not going to be an easy task or concept to take hold of right away. Each of us MUST make a conscious decision to let go of our normal actions and say to God that we are willing to allow HIM to explore EVERY area of our lives in hopes of changing the way that we live.
In our scripture for today, Paul has already responded to the people of Corinth two previous times and we see that he once again begins to encourage them to examine how they are living their lives daily. Paul is challenging each of them to test the foundational beliefs of their faith. Faith in God is a strong statement and one that carries with it a lot of power. When we claim to be Christians, it means that we have accepted the Lord as the Savior of our lives and that we accept the calling to live our lives EVERY day for Him. We must be willing to challenge our old lives and thoughts and push out ANYTHING that may not be of God. I know that sounds difficult because we all carry so much baggage and scars from this world, but also realize that through this daily examination, we are becoming a new creation. We are no longer to be the same. How is those who are trapped by the failings of this world going to be able to find a hope in Christ if those who are supposed to lead them are still stuck in the same rut. A calling to be a Christian is a daily testing of our faith and will continue to cause us to struggle. Especially with those things, like sin and destructive habits, that still have a grip on our lives and we are afraid to let go of them. We are afraid of what may actually happen if we truly become a Jesus follower 24/7. We have these fear statements that God is going to ask me to leave my job, lead a small group, go on the mission field, give all I have away and I just don't know if I can handle that right now. What a crazy way to think. Do you honestly believe that the God that created you and the God that gave you everything that you have would not take care of His creation? I left that last question to resonate in your minds for a second, but I want you to look at the fear statements again in a different light. What if.... what if God has equipped you and placed you where you are in your current situation to be a missionary, a leader, a mentor, a voice for God right where you are. Maybe God has been surrounding you with people who are in need of help and you are the only one that can guide them to find the Light. Maybe you are the one in your family that God has equipped to bring revival to your home, your community, your relationships. Maybe God is not asking you to leave, but that God has placed you right where you are to make an impact on the lives that you have already been investing in in other ways.
See that is a check up from the neck up. That is the way that God wants you to start seeing your battlefield in this time of spiritual warfare. God has been preparing His army to go and infiltrate the darkness, and that darkness may be right where you are and the only LIGHT that can lead them will be Christ which is found in YOU! I know that is a crazy concept but that is changing your perspective on how we win this war with evil. All Paul is saying is that we do what is right even in our failures. We have to show others an example of how God walks with us in good times and bad. We praise Him when we are strong and we praise Him when we are weak. We change the mentality of what this world thinks, that we don't serve a god of prosperity, but that we serve the GOD who is set to build us up and not tear us down. Our hope is not found in this world, but in the eternity that is to come. So I just want to encourage you today to stop.... think outside your normal way of thinking.... and
examine where you are with God. Are you still on the fringe and are still trying to figure this whole thing out... it's ok. Are you moving towards maturity but you still have a tug of war each day with the world for your heart, mind and soul... it's ok. Are you fully entrenched in the Word of God and seeking ways to apply His Word in your life... it's ok. It's ok in all of these situations because I want to leave you with one final scripture to encourage whatever part of the journey you are on. Romans 5:1-5 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." May these words resonate in your check up today and help us all to realize that God is always with us and calling us examine our lives for Him.