Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; Psalm 26:2 (NIV)

When we aren’t feeling right the proper thing to do may be to go to the doctor. We sit in the exam room and he checks our ‘vitals’ and may do a surface examination, checking our posture, ears, nose, throat, reflexes and the like. We’ll be asked about symptoms and changes in energy and bodily functions.

If no problem is detected the doctor will order tests, like blood work or perhaps an x-ray or CT scan. Until the problem is discovered a good doctor will, in a sense peel away at surface issues until he gets to the root of the problem. Until he can do that, a solution can’t be found and treatment won’t be able to happen.

Once the issue is diagnosed a treatment will be prescribed which will solve whatever our problem is. If you want to feel better, you will follow the doctor’s advice, take your medication and allow your body to heal.

What’s true in the physical realm is also true in the realm of our emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes when people are feeling poorly physically they will try to ‘heal’ themselves by asking friends what they think, or going onto the internet. Sometimes this can lead to deeper more serious problems or simply treat the symptoms without getting to the real cause. The best thing to do when you are feeling physically sick is to go to the doctor because the doctor is trained to know where and how to look for the problem.

When you are struggling emotionally or spiritually the best place to go is to your Heavenly Father. Unlike the doctor who makes an educated guess about your condition, your Heavenly Father made you. He knows everything about you. He watched your hands, your feet, and your personality form while you were still in the womb. He knows every fear you’ve ever had, every mistake you’ve ever made, every thought, word or deed you’ve ever done. He knows the things everyone sees on the outside, but he also sees the most secret, intimate, hidden things in your soul.

The Psalmist asks God to examine him. He uses three words to describe that examination: ‘Test me, try me, examine me’. Those three words describe an intense, thorough examination deep inside your soul. Those kinds of examinations are scary whether they be physical or spiritual/emotional because they may reveal some things we don’t want to know about ourselves. But in order to be healthy we need to look into every part of our lives and deal with the issues we find. Otherwise we are only treating symptoms. When God examines us it may be painful, like purifying gold needs intense heat, so our lives must go through some fire to purify and heal our inner wounds.

The good news is we don’t need to fear what God finds and what he shows us about ourselves. God doesn’t examine us to find fault, he examines us to find areas where we can grow stronger. He doesn’t show us our faults to shame us, he shows them to us so we know what to work on to be better. Don’t be afraid to do some self examination of your heart. Ask the maker to look deep within your soul and reveal areas that he can help change to make you better. It’s the best medicine you’ll ever take.

PRAYER: Father, I’m afraid to look at myself too deeply. But I know I must in order to be healthy. Like the psalmist, I ask that you would go with me as I travel deep inside myself. Show me where I need to change and empower me with your Holy Spirit to make those changes. I’m done treating symptoms; I want to be spiritually and emotionally healthy. Amen.

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