Self-analysis is recommended. “Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” 2 Corinthians 12.5a.
Here are three questions to aid all of us in being obedient to the Lord, for that is exactly the objective self-analysis should have.
- If Christ returns today, what will he say to you?
- Based on his words to you (final judgment), what would you have done yesterday?
- What keeps you from doing today, right now, what you would have done yesterday?
The answers to these questions must be based upon the word of Christ which will judge us in the last day: “The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day” John 12.48.
It is quite possible that Christ will return today. He tells us to be ready at all times. When he comes, he will say one of two things to every single person:
- Well done, come on in.
- Depart from me, you sinful creature.
Yesterday, in the questions above, stands for not only yesterday but all days in the past, althought we’ve narrowed it down to help us focus on specific places, times, and events.
The third question focuses upon impediments to our obedience to the Lord.
“Just as ritual circumcision cuts away the foreskin as an external symbol of dedicated covenant commitment, you must genuinely dedicate yourselves to the Lord and get rid of everything that hinders your commitment to me, people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. If you do not, my anger will blaze up like a flaming fire against you that no one will be able to extinguish. That will happen because of the evil you have done” Jeremiah 4.4.
Paul asked the Galatians: “You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5.7. Relationships are often a big problem to committing to Christ and to remaining committed to him, because we act, change our ways, or bend our wills to please others. “Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ!” Galatians 1.10.
Many fail to proclaim the gospel to everyone because they are people-pleasers. And God is not pleased.
“For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts” 1 Thessalonians 2.3-4.
The disciple Ananias asked Saul, “Now, why wait any longer?” Acts 22.16 NCV. His question sought to sweep away any objections to obedience, any barriers to baptism. It still serves a useful purpose today, even to those who have been baptized, since faith and obedience must be ongoing. If you obedience is not yet complete, the question still stands: Why wait any longer?
Because Christ might well return today. And you’ll wonder why you didn’t do something different yesterday.