We all can remember our school days when we were faced with exams. We spent all day in school—and still we panicked when it came to test time. Of course, we know that these exams and tests were for our benefit. They measured our growth, highlighted our strengths and weaknesses, and guided us toward the future. We face tests and exams on a spiritual level, too—but these tests are indicators of our eternal future.

We must examine ourselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and always be ready to be tested. Throughout 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote what God taught him that gave him power to live positively in Christ in the midst of fear, trepidation, imprisonment, and flogging. In his conclusion to this letter he says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The Corinthians of old fell into the trap that some of our modern educators have fallen into today. If students are not keeping up and succeeding in school, some believe that the standards must be too high—so they lower the standards.

Worse than the education system is evidence that this is happening in the churches of Jesus Christ, too. People don’t want to believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life. Some churches are saying, Let’s water down the Truth and not talk about the crucifixion or the resurrection. We don’t want to offend people—they are the most important part of the church. Instead, we’ll talk about relationships and good communication.

The apostle Paul would tell us that this type of compromise leads only to frustration and disappointment. He is telling us that to have the peace and assurance of our salvation, we must believe the Word of God.

Prayer: God, help me to see where I have lowered standards in my own life. Forgive me for compromising and grant me steadfast faith for Your glory and my good. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon The Secrets of Positive Living, Part 15: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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