Leave the judging to God (2)

2020-10-23
Matthew 7:2 NIV

Jesus said, ‘Do not judge…For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (vv. 1-2 NIV). We can easily fall into the habit of judging others, even though Jesus forbids it. Sometimes we might do it because we’re trying to be honest and point out someone else’s flaw or sin so that they can work on improving. There’s definitely a place for that, and the Bible does tell us to confront sins (take a look at James 5:19-20. But we have to do it in the right way, from a place of love, and with God’s help. If we become judgemental, we’re not only hurting someone, we’re also going against what God’s Word commands.

We also have to consider that the other person could already have repented, confessed their sin, and received God’s forgiveness. They might already be working through an issue with Him. If God’s already forgiven them and is helping them, there’s no need for us to keep bringing it up. We might also start to judge people because we feel insecure about ourselves in some way, so we look for others’ faults to make ourselves feel better.

But Jesus said, ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ (Matthew 7:3 NIV). Jesus also said, ‘They are blessed who show mercy to others, for God will show mercy to them’ (Matthew 5:7 NCV). God shows us grace and mercy despite our faults, so we should extend the same grace and mercy to others too.

Nahum 1-3; John 6:1-24; Ps 85; Prov 24:11-14

Leave the judging to the judge (2)


Matthew 7:2 NIV

If you’re the one doing the judging, remember this timeless principle: What goes around comes around. Jesus said, “Do not judge…For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (vv. 1-2 NIV). It’s called the law of reciprocity, and it guarantees you will get back what you give. It’s not a threat; it’s an immutable law, just like the law of gravity.

You say, “I’m honest; I just tell it like it is. Besides, that person’s sin needs to be exposed!” It’s not about your honesty or their sin, it’s about God’s Word that forbids judging. You may be right and they may be wrong, but judging puts you in violation of Scripture. Plus it sets you up to be judged.

Question: What if the other person has already repented, confessed their sin, and received God’s forgiveness? Think about it: The worst kind of judging is judging sins God has already forgiven and forgotten (See Isaiah 43:25). When we judge others, we’re looking in the wrong direction. We’re avoiding what we don’t want to see – our own shortcomings.

Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 NIV). Whatever their “speck” is, it’s God’s business – not yours. Your “plank” is your business! Jesus also said, “They are blessed who show mercy to others, for God will show mercy to them” (Matthew 5:7 NCV). Instead of judging others, start investing in your own “mercy account.” You’ll need it soon enough.

Soul food: Nahum 1-3; John 6:1-24; Ps 85; Prov 24:11-14

Overcoming temptation

2020-07-25
Matthew 26:41 NIV

Jesus told His disciples, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Jesus didn’t doubt the disciples’ love for Him or their willingness to serve Him, but He knew they couldn’t do it in their own strength. Without the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we’re not able to overcome the temptations that come our way. We’ll never be exempt from temptation. In fact, becoming a Christian increases the frequency, variety, and intensity of the temptations we face, because the enemy doesn’t give up easily. But we don’t have to ‘fall into’ temptation. The moment it comes along, and before we have time to give in to it, we need to turn to God’s grace. Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray.’ And that’s exactly what we need to do too. We need to be alert so that we’re aware of the areas of our lives where we’re likely to be tempted, and we need to pray for the strength to overcome any temptation we’re facing. If we’ve given in to temptation before, we don’t need to let shame overtake our lives. We can confess it to God, ask for His forgiveness, and then strengthen ourselves so that we avoid giving in to temptation again. When Jesus said these words to the disciples, they had repeatedly given in to the temptation to sleep when Jesus needed them to stay awake and keep watch. Jesus didn’t disown or condemn the disciples, instead He encouraged them and gave them advice. Let’s not write ourselves off just because we’ve given in to temptation before. Let’s allow God to remove our shame and strengthen us ready to face future temptations.

Acts 18-19; Luke 9:37-45; Ps 42:6-11; Prov 16:17-19

The need for repentance

2020-05-15
2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV

There’s a difference between confessing your sin and repenting of it. In Scripture, the word “repentance” means “to turn away from sin.” By confessing your sin you acknowledge what you have done; by repenting you turn away from it. And the good news is that there’s no limit to God’s forgiveness. The moment you ask for it, you receive it. However, God doesn’t intend you to keep repeating your sinful patterns over and over again. That’s where “godly sorrow” comes in. Paul writes, “You sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you” (v. 11 NKJV). The purpose of godly sorrow is to make you more diligent when it comes to changing behavior. When you allow sin into your life, you violate your core of righteousness. “For [God]…made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). At the point of salvation God literally made you “the righteousness of God in Christ.” You’re a regenerated spirit living in an unregenerated body, and when you permit sin into your life, it violates the very core of who you are! And that will cause you godly sorrow, leading to repentance and turning away from sin. Don’t settle for saying, “This is a habit I can’t break. But it’s okay because God will forgive me.” Yes, He will forgive you, but He doesn’t want you to settle for a cycle of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and then repeating the same sin. He wants you to be strong and effective in His service. That’s why He’s calling you to a higher level.

Soul food: Num 32:25-33:56; Mark 9:14-29; Ps 18:1-29; Prov 11:19-21

Tempted

2020-02-01
Luke 22:40 NIV

Deep inside, we all know the areas of our lives where we’re most often tempted and fail. And if we repeatedly fall into the same temptations, we can begin to think: ‘What’s the point in asking God for forgiveness? I’m just going to repeat the same sins and have to go back to Him again.’ But God’s forgiveness doesn’t run out when we’ve sinned a certain number of times. When we go to Him with a humble and sorry heart, He loves to forgive us. We can also break the cycle of temptation we find ourselves stuck in. Jesus told His disciples, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation’. We can pray before the temptation comes and ask for the strength we need to handle the situation when it arises. When we pray, God strengthens us so that we can overcome the things that are trapping us. We don’t have to worry that God will be angry with us for being tempted; we can approach Him for the help we need. Paul said: ‘Let us…approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). Tempting situations can come up regularly, so we need to make sure we’re setting aside time to pray. It can be easy to fill our spare time with things like TV and social media, but it’s far more worthwhile to use that time to pray into the situations we’re facing and about the parts of our lives where we feel weak and vulnerable to temptation. If we keep facing temptation, we need to avoid becoming frustrated at ourselves and remember God’s grace to forgive us. Then we need to rely on His help to overcome our temptation.

Isa 30-33; Matt 11:20-30; Ps 107:23-32; Prov 3:25-26