but let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not his neighbor. for each will have to bear his own load. [galatians 6:4-5] 


it is rare to find someone who particularly enjoys tests. tests are common in this world: aptitude tests, entrance exams, health exams, driving tests, etc. if testing is so common, then why are we so averse to it? 


because there is room to fail. 

failing is difficult because we tend to assume our failures are a reflection of our identities. the false conditional statement is, “if i fail at this, then i am a failure.” 

so when paul says, “let each one test his own work,” i personally want to run. testing my works is the last thing i want to do, especially in the context of holy, perfect God. why? 

… because the light of perfect God exposes the darkness within broken me. even though God already knows secrets of my heart [psalm 44:21], i don’t want to have that darkness exposed to him, or even exposed to myself. 


does your flesh yearn to live in ignorance over your impure motivations?


allowing the heart to be tested means opening oneself up to being humbled. the pharisees fought against this. they determined their strength by the number of followers they had. they did not want to be humbled before holy God, but instead desired to live by their own resources. they wanted the Messiah to be an army leader, and when he wasn’t what they were expecting, they were essentially trying to build their own following of people who would respect their regulations. 

– are you trying to build your own following? 

– are you boasting in how people respect your leadership, outside of Christ? 

– are you serving to lead people to Christ, or to yourself? 

when we ask God to test our motivations behind serving others, bearing burdens, and sharing the gospel, we are humbled. the Holy Spirit speaks truth, and will show the impurities in our works. he allows us to see the works of the flesh playing out (idolatry, jealousy, dissensions, enmity, etc.) as a result of the broken state of our hearts. and we will see this load we bear before God’s holy throne in heaven. 

thank God it does not end there. while the Holy Spirit reveals that we are nothing on our own strength, God simultaneously transforms our hearts to take faith in Christ. Christ bore the burden of the wrath of God, which we deserve for our impure motivations and sinful actions. 


when our salvation is based on “only faith working in love,” [galatians 5:6] – 

– we serve out of freedom (rooted in Christ), not fear (rooted in flesh). – we reflect Christ as ambassadors, not trying to pass the test or lead people to ourselves. 

– the fruits of the Spirit shine through, as we serve joyfully with love for Christ and our neighbor.

– when we inevitably fail, we come to him in repentance because of our humbled identity in Christ. 

oh God, more of you and less of us. 

more of you, less of me. 

more of you, less of me. 



~ jm