Check out the mirror!

When I watch the political drama that passes for ‘government’ in this era, one of the great tragedies is the rewriting of the ‘facts’ by our politicians that keeps our nation from finding real solutions to our real problems. Each side points to the ‘failures’ of the other while seeming to be oblivious to their own. This refusal of the facts is not just a politician’s problem. We are all tempted to excuse or justify our choices, often to the point of hypocrisy. Jesus reminds us, in that well-known passage, about the foolishness of trying to take the splinter out of another’s eye when there is a fence post in our  own eye.

In my reading of Scripture, I read the words of John, the Baptist, who challenged his hearers to “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8, NIV)  Christians who are quick to point out the sins and failures of others while apparently blind to their own tattered robes of righteousness rob the Gospel of its beauty.

Spiritual pride is a terrible disease of the soul.  I hear myself ranting about ‘those people who do those things,’ sometimes. Thankfully there is the faithful witness of the Holy Spirit Who challenges me to go look in the mirror!  Yes, He says, Jerry, “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8, NIV)  

Grace-filled disciples are called to be holy as God is holy, overcoming temptation. When we are authentic about our own needs and God’s grace, we will lead others to Christ, rather than point out their sins. Paul, who acknowledged his own need of mercy and grace, invites people to “follow me as I follow Christ.”

Such a statement in the absence of humility and authenticity is the height of arrogance. Jesus told the Pharisees who insisted that others that they should emulate their efforts at spiritual purity that they were the equivalent of like “whitewashed tombs, gleaming outwardly but full of death.”  Why? Because they were unwilling to see the truth, preferring to look good over actually being good.

My friend, when we are obedient, submitted to the Spirit, and in daily prayerful conversation with Christ He will lead us into a beautiful wholeness of life. This does NOT grow out of our own religiosity. It is the ‘fruit’ (the evidence) of the presence of the Spirit living in us, by faith.  In such people there is a beautiful and undeniable reality that, while often understated, makes Jesus visible.

Timothy Keller, a now retired pastor from New York City, speaks of Christians  who lives with a “contextualized Biblical Gospel.” These Christians do not segregate their ‘spiritual’ life from their work or home life. They seeks to integrate the Gospel of Christ in each decision. The good news of Jesus is taken out of the pulpit and into to the streets and leads people from evil that enslaves into the freedom of the Spirit.

An understanding of the Gospel like that does not allow us to be hypocritical! It is a transforming experience, something that happens by working the inside out. Jesus said it is like a seed that germinates and pushed to the surface, growing until it bears fruit.

Here is the word from the Word. It challenges us to live authentically, starting with knowing ourselves. “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. 

But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law—the law that sets you free—and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.” (James 1:22-27, NLT)

Let’s let His beauty shine today!

(Video of this blog at this link)
______________

No Longer Slaves

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

From my Mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into Your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea so I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Brian Johnson | Joel Case | Jonathan David Helser

© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

One response to “Check out the mirror!”

  1. Thank you for a good reminder to follow the word this morning. I’ve been studying Matthew in BSF and didn’t pick up on John’s admonition to ‘bear fruit in keeping with repentance’. He called for repentance and baptized those who ‘bore fruit’. But it’s a daily invitation too.

    Like

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