31 March 2011

The Problem with the Plank

“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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  - Jesus, Matthew 7.3-5

Jesus is brilliant. The picture is perfect, the irony is cutting. It's even funny. And it's very real. I remember getting sawdust in my eye when I was out in the shop with my dad. That minuscule little object would not be tolerated for an instant. It was too uncomfortable, it had no place in my eye and it drove me nuts. I couldn't do anything until I got rid of that speck. Too bad that same tenacity doesn't show up with my spiritual shortcomings.

But the problem with the planks of life is that they go unnoticed, uncontested, and unfixed.

The problem with the plank is that its in my eye. And because of pride it can stay there for a long time. I can spot the flaws in someone's worldview from a mile away. I have the eyes of a hawk for the sins of so many. But I can be blind when it comes to my own glaring deficiencies. In fact, I was about to launch into another critique of a friend until I remembered this passage. And the planks were finally in view.

I think you would agree that its easier to examine the speck instead of pull the plank. It is always easier to face another's sin instead of our own. Who wants to own up to that rampant selfishness that comes out with the kids? Or that obvious impatience that explodes in traffic. And what about the all important urge we have for life to be easy--and we don't always respond well when we don't get it.

I think we are going to study their specks over looking at our logs any day.

Unless you have Jesus. 

And then it can be a whole different story. With Jesus I have the confidence to face my flaws, the planks and the specks, based on the forgiveness purchased by His blood at the Cross and the powerful new life that comes from the resurrection.

And right now? It looks like I have some heavy lifting to do.

14 March 2011

Christ Alone

"But remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of they faith; and if thou dost that, ten thousand devils cannot throw thee down, but as long as thou lookest at thyself, the meanest of those evil spirits may tread thee beneath his feet . . . it is not faith, it is not our doings, it is not our feelings upon which we must rest, but upon Christ and on Christ alone." 

- Charles Spurgeon, 24 August 1856, New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, England 

Check out this awesome song to help this awesome truth sink in:  

01 March 2011

All Truth is God's Truth

All truth is God's truth, no matter where we find it. And we do find it in unsuspecting places. Notice these nuggets culled from the writings of Victor Hugo over at Desiring God. 

This one is my favorite:
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves—say rather, loved in spite of ourselves."