For those who do not know, before entering ministry full time here at Saturn Road, I was a kindergarten teacher for five years. Even during kindergarten, examination is a huge part of what I did. I would keep running records of each student. Now, for a kindergartner, these exams or tests (or assessments) it was about letter recognition, sounds, handwriting, how they treated others, etc. For me as the teacher, it was about preparation, classroom management, lesson planning, professionalism, etc. All that to say, I was constantly looking both inwardly and externally with an eye of assessment: where did we start, where are we now, where are we going, and how will we get there? I was constantly putting my students and myself to the test.
For many of us, exams are a thing of the past. But still, testing is a huge piece of life for us all: employee evaluations, examining if (insert any relationship here) is where it needs to be, does this shirt make me look fat? We are constantly looking externally or having someone looking at us externally. I want to call you to Scripture where we are called to examine internally. Paul calls us in this selected text to look at ourselves and put ourselves to the test. The test? Are we living out the faith we profess? The measuring stick? Simple: when you look inside, do you see Jesus?
During this time of Coronavirus, the Presidential Election, our ever-fluctuating economy, the impending holiday season, etc., what matters is not the external and how it influences us. It matters how the internal influences and impacts the external. Earlier in 2 Corinthians, he really drives home this idea of Christ living in us. Take a moment. Pick up your Bible. No, not your phone. No, not on your computer. And no, don’t just skip ahead. Open your Bible and read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. God is constantly flipping things on us. We as humans focus on the external. God places focus on the internal. We focus on the temporary. God focuses on the eternal. We focus on the flesh. God focuses on the spirit. We focus on present troubles. God focuses on later reward. We want the world to see us. God wants the world to see Jesus.
So that is the test. Take a good look at yourself. Don’t look in the mirror. Look at your heart. Do you see Jesus?