”When was the last time you had a self-examination?”

He had been there a hundred times before. Holding short of the runway, the seasoned pilot of the single-engine airplane waited for clearance to take off. It was just another routine flight, and as he waited his mind wandered.

The process had become so familiar that he only glanced at his preflight checklist and didn’t bother going through it. Receiving clearance from the control tower, he added power and took off. However, as the airplane lifted off the ground he realized something was wrong, and moments later the airplane crashed!

Every pilot knows that his life and the lives of his passengers depend upon not only his skill but also on the thoroughness of his preflight safety check. Similarly, a thorough evaluation of our spiritual lives is essential. Self-examination is one of the primary reasons for communion.

“Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (I Corinthians 11:28).

Paul emphasized the importance of self-examination when he wrote: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Corinthians 11:31-32).

How often should we examine ourselves? This vital purpose for communion indicates the need to examine ourselves frequently. The early Church gathered for communion weekly and sometimes even daily.

Spiritual self-examination should become a regular part of our lives, not just before we take part in the Lord’s Table. However, by taking time prior to communion to search our hearts for unconfessed sin, we demonstrate to God our desire to walk blamelessly before Him.

Not only is the frequency of communion important; the thoroughness of self-examination is important as well. When the communion service is hurriedly “tacked on” to a monthly or even weekly church service, it is less likely to accomplish its purposes. The goal of self-examination is to identify sin as we ask ourselves important questions and answer them honestly.

One of the ways we can prepare our hearts for communion is by asking ourselves questions related to the commands Jesus gave us. For instance, He said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Therefore, it would be wise to ask ourselves:

1. Do I have a humble and repentant spirit?
2. Have I fully repented of my sins today?
3. Have I acknowledged my guilt for breaking God’s commandments?
4. Do I esteem everyone better than myself and am I servant of all?
5. Am I sensitive to those Divine appointments God provides for me on a daily basis?

By prayerfully and thoroughly examining our hearts and lives according to the standard of God’s Word, we will be prepared to partake of communion and live life in a worthy manner and more fully experience the rich significance of the celebration.

By faithfully examining ourselves before the Lord in the inner-court we are better prepared to walk with our spiritual family in unity. It’s doing those two things that empower us, the ”called out ones,” to walk with boldness and humility among the unbelievers in the outer-court, the marketplace.