Jonathan Edwards on Self-Examination
Monday, March 19, 2012
The following is a list of questions for self-examination drawn from the text of the book, The Necessity of Self-Examination, recently republished for e-readers by our own Digital Puritan Press. It is suitable for a quick review of the topics discussed in the text, and is also convenient for use in the accountability group setting. Download a PDF file of these questions here.
1. Do I manifest an attitude of openness toward God that would invite him to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts”? (Psalm 139:23-24)
2. Is my heart eager to learn of “any wicked way” in me?
3. Are my motives for self-examination correct—that I might be led “in the way everlasting”?
4. Is it important for me to know whether or not I live in a state of sin?
5. Do I live in the gratification of some lust, either in thought or in deed?
6. Do I live in the omission of some known duty?
7. Am I sinning against the light of my conscience in some way, by going on in known sins?
8. Have I been careful, watchful, and diligent in observing myself for evidence of sin in commission or omission?
9. Have I lived in some way which is inconsistent with my Christian profession, and is not suitable for disciples and followers of Jesus?
10. Have I allowed myself to become blinded by the deceitful nature of habitually gratified sin?
11. Have I invented ways of justifying my sinful practices, calling them by more virtuous titles, or rationalizing them in any way?
12. Do I regularly ask friends and loved ones to show me the faults that I cannot see in myself?
13. Do I overlook some sin in my life because it has become customary to me?
14. Do I allow myself to commit some sin because it is not widely condemned among my fellow-man, or because I see it done by my peers?
15. Am I selective in my obedience? Do I pick and choose which parts of my duty I will perform, neglecting those which are more distasteful to me?
16. Do I set aside time regularly to read and meditate on the Word of God?
17. Have I taken the utmost care to know myself, so that I may compare my thoughts, words, and deeds with the rule of holy Scripture? In what ways does my life agree (or disagree) with what Scripture teaches?
18. Am I doing anything which might be considered a ‘grey area’; things that godly brethren would view as a way of sin? When I look upon this with the utmost strictness, can I see any sin in it?
19. Do I live in any way that I might regret when I lie upon my death-bed? Is there anything I am doing that I would not want to be caught doing if Christ were to return that moment, or I should be taken out of this world and into eternity?
20. Do I consider carefully what others (both friends and foes) say of me and to me, to discover whether I might be living in any way of sin?
21. When I see faults in others, do I make use of the opportunity to examine myself, to see if there is the same fault in me?
22. When I see another who is blind to his own sin, do I look to see if I am also blind to this same sin?
23. Do I live in some way which profanes the Sabbath-day?
24. Do I profane the Sabbath-day by conducting avoidable worldly business?
25. Do I engage in speech which is not fitting for the Lord’s Day?
26. Do I squander the opportunity afforded me to seek God and salvation in greater measure, because of vain, earthly pursuits I am accustomed to on this day?
27. Do I slight the Sabbath by often coming late to church?
28. Do I avoid participation in the ordinances of my church for some reason?
29. Do I participate in worship by singing with heart and voice? (John 4:23-24; cf. Matthew 15:8)
30. Am I frequently distracted during church, allowing my mind to wander freely?
31. Do I spurn the message of God’s herald by allowing myself to sleep in church?
32. Am I guilty of allowing scandals to exist within the body of Christ?
33. Do I harbour and maintain a sin which is dear to me, hiding it from the eyes of the world and ignoring conscience? (Numbers 32:23; Hebrews 4:13)
34. Do I neglect the duty of regular, private, prayerful reading of the Word of God?
35. Do I gratify some sensual lust, either openly, or by relishing the thought of it in my mind? Do I somehow cultivate an appetite for carnal things?
36. Do I allow myself to indulge in sinful anger?
37. Do I live in hatred or ill will towards my neighbour? Do I rejoice at his misfortune?
38. Do I live in envy of my neighbour’s prosperity, wealth, or honour among men?
39. Do I cheat and defraud those with whom I deal?
40. Am I trustworthy, dependable, and truthful?
41. Do I pay the debts I owe in a timely fashion?
42. Do I oppress anyone?
43. Do I take advantage another’s necessity as an opportunity for selfish gain?
44. Am I always honest when buying and selling goods and services?
45. Have I left any wrong unrepaired, or failed to reconcile a relationship which has been damaged? (Matthew 5:23-24)
46. Do I show the love of Christ by helping my neighbour in his time of need?
47. Do I take necessary steps to reprove my brother who is in sin, first privately, then openly, in accordance with Scripture? (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1)
48. Do I entertain the company of lewd and immoral persons?
49. Do I speak evil of others in gossip, slander, or flattery, or entertain such speech in conversations with others?
50. Do I accept the ill report of another concerning my neighbour, without going to my neighbour to confirm the truthfulness of the report being circulated about him, and give him an opportunity to learn of it and vindicate his good name?
51. Do I speak evil by lewd talk and coarse jesting, or entertain such speech in conversations with others? (Ephesians 4:29)
52. Am I two-faced and disingenuous in my conversations with parties who are in disagreement over some issue?
53. Am I strictly truthful in my conversations with others? Do I allow myself to shade the truth or exaggerate?
54. Do I behave in any manner which does not exemplify Christ among the members of my household?
55. Do I love the members of my household to a degree commensurate with their near relation to me?
56. Have I caused or furthered any contention among my familial relationships?
57. Am I honoring the marriage covenant by cultivating my relationship with my spouse?
58. Have I sought to perform all those duties to which Scripture calls me, by humbly serving my spouse with deliberate diligence?
59. Do I maintain any bitterness toward my spouse, even if it seems justified?
60. Am I easily irritated with my spouse or other family members?
61. Do I study my spouse so that I may suit myself toward her needs, temperament, and comfort? Or do I live to please myself first?
62. Do I govern my wife imperiously, in an unbiblical authoritarian manner?
63. Do I neglect the regular and diligent instruction of my children, overlooking this as a duty of the utmost importance?
64. Is my discipline of my children fair, consistent, and effective? Does it combine the elements of correction and instruction? Is it done in a loving manner?
65. Do I undermine my spouse’s attempts to discipline my children in any way?
66. If a child, do I honor my parents by obeying them without protest? Do I accept their counsels and reproofs willingly? Do I harbor a rebellious attitude toward them?
67. If a child, do I despise my parents for their weaknesses and shortcomings?
68. Do I honor my parents in their old age?
69. Does my conscience accuse me that I am living in any way of sin?
70. Do I bear fruits which are consistent with a genuine profession of faith?
71. Is grace flourishing in my soul? Is it growing and strong, or languishing?
72. Has some habitual sin in my life paved the way for a greater sin?
73. Is some habitual sin causing me to live in a spiritually darkened state, with cold affections toward Christ, in which I am grieving the Holy Spirit and inviting desertion by God?
74. If I am in a doubting condition, could it be caused by some sin I have not forsaken?
75. If I am in adverse circumstances, could some sin be the cause of it?
76. If I fear suffering, illness, or death, could it be caused by some habitual sin that I have not forsaken?
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