Monday, December 08, 2008

Changing Self

{Matthew 7:1-5; ESV}
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

One of the lessons God has been teaching me this past week is that in order to help people I have first help myself. In other words I have to work on those areas of my life that God has pointed out to me that need work. Things like not getting angry at my dog when he chews up something, especially when I put it within his reach, or making sure that I fulfill my responsibilities. It is through this process of disciplined life change that prepares us to help other people make those difficult life changes.

Isn’t that one of the implications we can take away from this teaching of Jesus? The point Christ makes is that we are not to simply judge a person, but we are to seek to help them overcome their sin, and the first step in helping them is to work on the sins we have in our lives. It is the person who understands and struggles with his/her sin that is in the best position to help another person with their sin.

This means that we need to be constantly evaluating our lives. We will never reach a place where we have it all together, and so we have to be aware of those areas that are weaknesses, the temptations that haunt us, and the sin that we struggle with in order to focus our attention on what needs to be changed.

If we hope to make an impact in this world, then it will begin with the changes that we make in our lives. The people God chooses to use are not always the most talented or intelligent, but are people of character. Character is a product of making the necessary adjustments in our lives. If we are not going to change, then we are will be of little use to God.

There is one other truth I think we need to consider. When the people around us witness the commitment to follow Jesus in our lives it will give credence to the message of hope and forgiveness that God has given us. Make no mistake about it, people want to know the difference Christ Jesus can make in their lives, and if they can see the difference in your life, it will be a powerful illustration for the truth of the Gospel.

Take some time and examine your life. What are the temptations that constantly tempt you? What is an area of weakness that needs to be improved? What sin holds you back from truly following Jesus? These are important questions to ask as we evaluate our lives, but I think we need to ask at least one more question: What steps do I need to take in order to change my life? It is one thing to know what is wrong, but it is another do what is necessary to correct the problem.

There are many people in our lives that need a helping hand when it comes to changing. Remember the most important thing we can do right now is to model to them what it means to change by making adjustments in our lives. We need to take the log out of our eyes so we can help them with the speck in their eye.

  • Point to Ponder: We need to change in order to help those around us to change.
  • Passage to Remember: Matthew 7:1-5
  • Prayer to Pray: Lord God, help me to see those areas in my life that need to be changed, and provide me with the wisdom I need to change...

2 comments:

kirkcdusa said...

why has
Christ not set you free from sin? You can and must live above sin. Conformed to the stature of Christ. Eph. 4. 13 ARe his words true, can He not do as he promised?

Paul said...

Kirk,
Thanks for stopping by. I do believe the words of Scripture, and I do believe that we are being conformed to the image of Christ, but this is a process and is not yet complete. Part of our responsibility is this process is to get rid of the sin that hinders us (Hebrews 12:1). While we are in these bodies we have to grapple with the flesh, and the choices that we make in this struggle is part of the maturing process as well. The process of becoming like Christ requires Divine miracle and human responsibility. Not only do we have to acknowledge the miracle, but we also have to complete the responsibility.

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{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...