Kara Chidlow

Quit Squinting

He empowers us to actively participate in our faith journey.

Have you ever asked yourself… “How is my spiritual condition?”

If so, how often do you ask it & how honest do you answer it?

Our culture teaches us to have regular mental & physical health check-ups, but our spiritual health is often overlooked. Conditions left undiagnosed & untreated worsen at a much quicker rate than those addressed early, sin is much the same.

So what are we to do?

The bible offers us some great tips:

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
– 2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine your ways, test them, & turn back to the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:40

I love this verse because it’s short, punchy, & gifts us three keys to safeguarding our hearts & working out our salvation.

So let’s mull over these keys together.


Incorporating a practice of regularly EXAMINING OUR WAYS (thoughts, motives, & actions) is vital. Working as a nurse, I regularly perform & witness medical examinations. The word ‘examine’ means to look closely, carefully, & thoroughly at someone or something in order to determine their nature or condition and that takes time.

When I stop & be still enough to stare at something I notice much MORE than I would if I were to sprint passed it!

To examine something effectively it also takes LIGHT & clear vision.

Invite the Lord into your reflection time & have your eyes WIDE OPEN for what is illuminated. God is so faithful to highlight parts of our hearts that are injured, diseased, & broken.

He is our light & with Him we can see things we never would otherwise.

‘There is none so blind than those that refuse to see,’ is a saying you may have heard before. I am guilty of choosing to stay blind, and ignorant at times and from there… I progressed (insert comical laughter) to SQUINTING (hard) at issues I didn’t want to address, but I was only fooling myself.

What we resist persists, however, what we look at God can work on.

Let us not be squinters (for reasons greater than crow’s feet).


We test ourselves by checking for evidence. If you were testing yourself for COVID you are looking for the symptoms (evidence) of that particular virus. Likewise, we check ourselves for evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control.” – Galatians 5:22–23

Jesus says that we are recognized by their FRUIT (see Matthew 7:15-20). The Holy Spirit is ALIVE & ACTIVE inside of us. Genuine faith in JESUS leaves a marvellous trail of a life being transformed. The evidence of HIS work & intervention in our life should be everywhere, & the lack thereof concerning!

If you desire [more] fruit in your life from His sanctifying hand, make [more] room for Him & INVITE Him into the space.

A beautiful prayer by the psalmist David is one you may consider making your own:

“Search me, God, & know my heart; test me & know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, & lead me in the way everlasting.” -Psalm 139:23–24


God calls us to the practice of self-examination but the third & final key in the verse helps us not get STUCK there; TURN back to the Lord. This is an INVITATION to bring our findings & ourselves back to Jesus. God doesn’t just want to CONVICT us of our sin, He wants to EVICT us from it! Analysis paralysis is a real thing. The scripture clearly says this process of examining & testing is for our ‘WAYS,’ which is synonymous with PATTERNS of behaviour & habits, not EVERY detail of our life. No need to walk around with a magnifying glass, leave that to Inspector Gadget.

The following verse serves as a useful reminder:

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” – Galatians 6:4-5

The research studies challenging children’s will-power in front of lollies is adorable to watch, though, we aren’t to manipulate situations to put each other ‘to the test’ as it were. I’m thankful it is made plain in the scriptures that we are to examine our own lives. Finger-pointing & nit-picking isn’t constructive, [AND] although, this is a work upon the self, you don’t have to do it solo. You can involve others & I highly encourage you to do so if this process is new. Jesus-loving mentors, leaders, counsellors, & psychiatrists can provide invaluable individualised guidance. Eastlake church encourages its people to regularly set growth goals & we are encouraged to journey together, supporting one another in prayer and deed.

We have reflected on such active words… examine, test, turn.

By God’s grace He empowers us to actively participate in our faith journey. Simultaneously, cultivating intimacy with God. Turning to the Lord in honest self-examination & repentance isn’t a one-off event, rather, a lifestyle to live.

I want to finish with more of God’s word.

“Do not scorn or reject gifts of prophecy or prophecies [spoken revelations – words of instruction or exhortation or warning]. But test all things CAREFULLY so you can recognise what is good]. Hold firmly to that which is good. Abstain from every form of evil [withdraw & keep away from it]. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through & through [that is separate you from profane & vulgar things, make you pure & whole & undamaged – consecrated to Him – set apart for His purpose]; & may your spirit & soul & body be kept complete & [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5: 20-23

There you have it…

I broke a promise [to myself] I made after graduating from university: NEVER to mention the words ‘test’ or ‘examination’ again! AND I wrote a blog on it.

Be blessed

Kara Chidlow

Kara Chidlow

Wife, Mum, Nurse, Eastlaker

Kara is a loved member of our church and a faithful woman of God. She is a fan of poetry, has a passion for writing and encouraging women.