Where Are You?

     When I was a small boy we lived in a series of rented houses in Virginia and North Carolina. One I remember well was in Washington, North Carolina. It seemed huge to me then but I suppose we’d call it rather normal now. There were times in those days that I felt like hiding out and there was a perfect place to do so, a storage area that was built into the wall of the staircase. I could crawl in there and be by myself. It was a fine place until my mother said, “Bill, where are you?” I found that it was always best to answer her.

     I worked for Alex Grossman at Lakeside Pharmacy in Richmond when I was in high school and college. I mention that before because of how much I learned working for him. When I showed up for my shift as a delivery boy or later, as a clerk, he would always ask the same question, rather brusquely: “Are you here?” By that he wanted to know if I was fully ready and engaged to meet the challenges of the day. The right answer was always “Yes Sir!”

     Even now I hear the sweetest voice say as she goes through the house saying, “Granddaddy, where are you?” I’ve yet to fail to answer Lucy. Good grandparents know what I mean.

     The point of all this is that we are often answering the question “Where are you?” in this life. The most important application of the question is in our spiritual life, to which we now turn.

     One of best passages to base our answer to this question is 2 Corinthians 13:5-6. Paul firmly encourages the Christians at Corinth: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?---unless you are disqualified. But I trust you will know that we are not disqualified.” We know that Paul wrote at least two letters to Corinth, covering a lot of spiritual ground. Here at the close of the second he asked them to double check their status in Christ, to do a little self testing. In this way the people there could answer much better than did Adam and Eve when they heard the chilling interrogative in the Garden (Genesis 3).

     If we answer this question “Where are you?” in this context we must first undergo a spiritual self examination or self-testing. Absolute honesty is essential here because we are all very good at fooling ourselves. When our text uses the word “test” or “prove” it is using a word that looks and sounds very much like the English word “document.” If we want to make progress in our spiritual lives we must first examine and document where we are at the moment. No one can take a step forward unless they first know where they stand.

     When I put myself through this process I have to be clear with myself to include everything: my private thoughts, my sinful inclinations, and the words I have spoken in haste or out of improper motive. And I have to be honest about the things I have actually done, good or bad. This kind of inventory is essential if I am to follow 1 John 1:5-10 and confess my sins. This is serious business which takes place within our own minds, minds which God equips through the Word for the task. His Word discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

     The question “Where are you?” brings up another matter stressed here by Paul. He reminds his readers that Jesus Christ is in them unless they are disqualified. The word he used for “disqualified” is a negation of a form of “prove” or “test.” It has in it the idea of a counterfeit. If we are in Christ, Christ is in us (Galatians 3:26-28). He is indeed our “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

     So, where are you? Are you a faithful Christian? Is your spiritual inventory up to date? Are you toying with counterfeit status? No one lives in sinless perfection. But we can be faithful. And that is where we should be.