Solitary confinement tempts you to endless brooding over your past life. The apostle Paul writes, “Let a man examine himself ” (1 Corinthians 11:28). How should one proceed?
There is no specific instruction in the Bible, but Christian experience of hundreds of years has taught us at least one thing: Do not be too thorough in self-examination. A little creature in the laboratory can be examined so extensively that it dies from overexposure. Rather than examining all the details of your own life, try to fathom the depth of your faith in the value of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

Once a man was greatly concerned about the state of his soul. No sermon or religious book could satisfy him. Finally, he heard about a hermit who was reputed to have great wisdom. The man
took a horse and rode to the mountaintop where the sage lived. He found the sage in meditation at the entrance to his cave. The sage asked the man what he desired. “I seek salvation,” said the man.The sage was silent for a long time. Then he said, “Why don’t you seek a horse instead?” “I have a horse,” the man replied. Turning toward the rear of the cave, the sage remarked, “So that is it,” and said no more. As the man rode down the mountain on his horse, he thought and thought about his meeting with the sage. All at once he was enlightened: Why should he seek a horse? He had one. He was riding on it. Therefore, why should he seek salvation? God sent His Son into the world that the world might be saved through Him. Salvation had already been purchased. A man riding on a horse should not bother to seek a horse unless he had overtired or killed the one he has. The Savior cannot be exhausted. His salvation is available to all who receive it. Jesus has come to seek and to save what is lost. His desire for us to be in paradise is much greater than our own. His desire to forgive our sins is much greater than our desire to be forgiven. Salvation cannot be earned, but only accepted. When the man arrived in the valley, he understood.

Christians often say, “I was saved five or fifteen years ago.” This cannot be so. Christ bought salvation for all of us 2,000 years ago, when He died for us on Golgotha. Perhaps it was only five or fifteen years ago that we realised it and accepted His offer. When we approach the Lord’s Supper, the main thing we must ask ourselves is, “When I hear the words, ‘This is My blood, shed for you and the remission of your sins,’ do I understand them as clearly addressed to me? Do I know, as surely as a rider knows he has a horse under him, that my sins are forgiven and forgotten and dealt with?” If I understand this, I have examined myself well and am worthy of communion.