Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Devotional 170609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The stubborn fog reminded me of some stubborn bad habits of mine that never go away. My unhealthy eating habit, lack of exercise problem, negative thoughts on others and self-righteous attitude hover over me like Daly City fog, that seems never evaporate. But God’s grace is also stubborn to continue His work in me regardless. Praise the Lord!

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matthew 7:1). Jesus says regarding judging - Don't. The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual. Criticism is a part of the ordinary faculty of man; but in the spiritual domain nothing is accomplished by criticism. The effect of criticism is a dividing up of the powers of the one criticized; the Holy Spirit is the only One in the true position to criticize, He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into communion with God when you are in a critical temper; it makes you hard and bitter and cruel, and leaves you with the flattering unction that you are a superior person. Jesus says, as a disciple cultivate the uncritical temper. It is not done once and for all. Beware of anything that puts you in the superior person's place.

There is no getting away from the penetration of Jesus. If I see the mote in your eye, it means I have a beam in my own. Every wrong thing that I see in you, God locates in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself. Paul warned the Jewish leaders who bragged of their superior identity with God to act godly from inside out, “Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself ?” (Romans 2:17-21) Stop having a measuring rod for other people. There is always one fact more in every man's case about which we know nothing. The first thing God does is to give us a spiritual “spring-cleaning;” there is no possibility of pride left in a man after that. I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

I thought “critical spirit or attitude” is a contemporary problem in Christian community. But according to Brother Chambers this also happened to Christian community hundred some years ago. I guess this is part of sinful nature of man; we tend to see ourselves better than others, we enjoy criticizing others but eager to cover up our sins and weaknesses. Now we came to know the Lord and learned the Truth, The Truth became our new and powerful “ammunition” to launch our “criticism” against others. We failed to recognize that God expects us to apply the Truth to ourselves.

To teach the Truth is good, but to criticize others in the name of the Truth is another issue. Christian community, who is so judgmental and critical, but yet silence on their own hypocrisy and weaknesses, turned off many pre-Christian friends. This kind of judgmental spirit also becomes a self-destructive force within the Body of Christ. When this negative spirit permeated into the very fabrics of the church, it caused all kinds of tensions and fight since the beginning of church history. It is very sad to see many vibrant churches split in the name of the Truth. When we do not take heel on this issue, we give foothold to Satan to detour or even destroy the very missions of the Church. After saying all these, I am the first one to be blamed because I am a critical individual by nature, and I have a tendency to turn the Body of Christ into a judgmental community. Have mercy on me O Lord. Cleanse me of my self-righteousness and stop me from spreading the spirit of criticism at whatever community that you put me in.

Love you by His mercy,

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