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Proximity and Purpose: Examination Brings Closeness

Published on May 17, 2021

Scott Staal

When things don’t gel in coaching, meaningful questions quickly emerge: Why is this play not working? Why aren’t we hitting our marks? Is our technique off? Real-time analysis often overlooks the unseen mistakes that contribute to larger issues. We need quality examination – like watching film in slow-motion – to reveal what’s really going on. Examination evokes exposure, and it’s a paradox. We experience a sense of relief because we (finally) understand the problem; yet the journey ahead is daunting – change is needed.

It’s more than mere behavior modification – it’s the transformation of our heart’s desires.
Examination exposes long-carried deception, lies and sin. God’s light illuminates hidden things: “For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives.” (1 Corinthians 4:5) Honesty with God – and ourselves – unleashes relief. No more pretending or performing. Nonetheless, fears simultaneously rush in to paralyze potential growth: Can I really change? Will God be able to handle it? Has He left me to figure it out on my own? Glance over these moments and nothing happens. Invest in them and transformation sparks. How can we be sure? God provides a promise and a purpose.


God Promises Proximity
Whether we realize it or not, God is close. Examination has a way of doing that. In fact, He is always close and constantly echoes this reminder throughout Scripture: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). When God examines and exposes our hearts, He’s not going anywhere because He is relentlessly committed to each of us. He can handle anything.

FCA_Closeness_940_788His invitation for us is constant and simple – come close: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” (James 4:8). Any seeming distance isn’t His doing, it’s ours. Hidden junk never jeopardizes our salvation nor God’s commitment to us. It does, however, hinder our fellowship with Him. When we sit down with a friend but know something is off – maybe we are harboring a lie or that friend sinned against us – we can’t authentically enjoy that friendship. The communication is fragmented and the harmony is out of whack. The same is true in fellowship with God: “So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7) That’s why God exposes our hearts, gets close and desires to restore our fellowship with Him.

God Purposely Prunes
His grace saves us and provides each of us a new identity at the time of salvation. Yet, desires from old identities (the flesh) still battle for our attention. That’s why we need God’s light to expose our hearts to reveal the ongoing changes still needed. It’s more than mere behavior modification – it’s the transformation of our heart’s desires.And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) God’s closeness emerges once again. Why? Because transformation doesn’t solely depend on our effort. He is committed to the process and needs to be close to help!


Jesus illustrates this best: “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15:2) We are forever connected to the Vine (Jesus) and are called to bear much fruit so that others can see God in and through our lives (John 15:8). Only the hands of a skilled Gardener know what to prune and how to do it. We grow, others benefit and God gets glory. 


As you allow God to examine your heart this week, consider praying the following prayer:

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
    Examine me through and through;
    find out everything that may be hidden within me.
    Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
See if there is any path of pain I
m walking on,
    and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting way
    the path that brings me back to you.” (Psalm 139:23-24 TPT)



One way to examine your heart and Pursue Life is with FCA’s The CORE. Get eight essentials to strengthen your faith and grow in your relationship with Christ, and then put it into action to disciple others.

Want to learn more about pursuing life and growing your relationship with God? Head to FCA in Action and read our May Pursue articles:

Anchor Article: Be Intentional: Examine Your Heart

Article Two: Perfect Peace: Examination Brings Calmness



*If you read this article and aren’t in relationship with Christ yet but would like to know more, we invite you to go through FCA’s The FOUR that explains how an everlasting and fulfilling life with God is possible. 



About the Author:

Scott Staal currently serves as the Ministry Advancement Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region (IN, MI, OH, WV). He is passionate about reaching coaches and athletes as he got his start in FCA as a high school athlete who attended his school’s FCA Huddle. Scott continued his career by playing quarterback at Valparaiso University (Valparaiso, Indiana) and now resides in Grand Haven, Michigan, where he also coaches high school football at his alma mater.

Connect with him at sstaal@fca.org and get involved with his ministry and support the Great Lakes Region HERE.





Photo courtesy of Unsplash