God was gracious to me yesterday as He afforded more time to study than I’ve had in months. My office phone didn’t ring but once and emails to be answered were scarce. I found myself able to prepare my heart and mind for tonight’s message and came away with the rare opportunity to personally benefit from hours of meditating on the topic from James 2:11-13 which I hope to share this evening. The Apostle wrote, “For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Then, this morning one of the first things my eyes found was the following quote from Nancy Leigh Demoss:
“Proud people focus on the failures of others and can readily point out those faults. Broken people are more conscious of their own spiritual need than of anyone else’s.”
It is a fragile thing to stand boldly for truth without ending up standing with steel-heeled boots on top of others. If you ask me, most of us have not mastered the ability to speak out against unrighteousness while, in that moment, retaining a humbling awareness that we ourselves are unrighteous in some way. Above, James reminds us that God’s Law is a continuous whole and to violate one portion of it is to be as guilty as if we had spurned it all. Remember this: you likely have not heinously indulged in all the sins so obvious in others but, apart from Christ, you are as justifiably condemned as if you had. Friends, we should be honest and admit our tendency to come down hard on others for the things that we ourselves do not struggle with. We make light of our sin while magnifying the audacity of others’ sins. This is the stubborn pride of the soul which can condemn one and excuse ourselves of the very things wherein we are violators. I would say a hearty Amen to Nancy Demoss’ quote above and quickly sense a need to ask God to help me be much more concerned about my own spiritual deficiencies than I am of yours.
Yesterday’s blog reminded us of the need to stand and speak the truth. Today I am merely submitting a caution for us to speak that truth with an abiding sense of humility that refuses to forget how deeply we deserve divine denunciation. God would have been supremely glorified in condemning us for our sin. Beyond His eternal pardon of us, He continues to give us daily grace and mercy…even while we fail to give it to each other. Certainly we should be appalled at all the sin around us. I would add that we must be more appalled at the sin within us.
If we are to humble ourselves before God there will be the inevitable result of viewing our sin as the most reprehensible in the universe. We will magnify our own deep need for grace as we ache over our rebellion against the person of Jesus Christ. While we answer our call to speak out against the sins of our generation, it will only occur after we have acknowledged our own sin before God. This will result in a brokenness and humility that will purify our hearts before we challenge the sin around us. Let’s go ahead and occasionally put on the mantle of fault-finders. Be most intense at this tedious work while you are standing before the mirror of God’s word. Yes, you read me right: find your own faults more often than others’. Rejoice that grace is available for every ounce of sin, rebellion, lovelessness, apathy, selfishness, lust, covetousness and prejudice within you…
…then persistently remind yourself that this same grace is both available and needed for the lives of others whom you are tempted to denounce.
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