Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Matthew Chapter 7

In this chapter Jesus talks about judging our brother and discerning a false prophet. I think, over time these two ideas have some how gotten mixed up so that we are  judging our brothers fruit by looking at his life and not really holding our teachers and persons claiming to be speaking from God, accountable for their fruit.
He starts Chapter 7 forcefully saying "do not judge lest you be judged" He actually says there is a consequence for judging your brother. We will be judged by the same measure that we use to judge. Matt.7:2 (yikes)
I know that in my life,  I was guilty of judging fellow believers without even realizing what I was doing. I literally thought that my first two children were quiet , compliant and obedient because I was such a good mother. If there was a mom whose child was "out of control", busy, or naughty in the grocery store, I thought she was not a competent parent. I judged her and pitied her all at the same time. Of course, I never said anything to her unless she asked but in my heart, I was the worst of "judging offenders".
I never knew what Jesus meant by the log, plank or 4x4 post in your own eye, until recently.   If we look at Chapters 5 and 6, we see that Jesus spent these two chapters talking almost exclusively about how much more important it is to consider our hearts motives and our thoughts than what is going on on the outside of us. He likens whatever is going on in someone elses life, that we might judge them for, to a speck compared with the large, impaling object in our own lives. What is important is our heart, our motives, and our deepest thoughts . If we judge, we judge wrongly. Only Jesus knows what is really going on in a person's life. I'm not talking about blatant sin. I'm talking about an out of control kid, a dirty house, a weight problem or maybe, always having a financial crisis going on. These are the kinds of things that we judge other people for. Jesus says don't do it. The Lord used  our third child, Aaron, to show me my heart.
Aaron  was absolutely amazing. He did everything that I would have judged another mother for and then some. He was 9 months old when he reached over the side of a cart at the grocery store and pulled a dozen eggs out of the case and on to the floor. He was big and strong from the moment he was born and never stopped to take a breath. I had a friend who had a daycare, who one day said to me that she loved me and considered me her best friend but that she would never babysit Aaron so not to ask. As his uniqueness became apparent to our church family and circle of friends , we were consistently uninvited to small indoor gatherings and get togethers. He was totally and completely uncivilized until he got to be around 8 years old. It was a very necessary, humbling experience for me. Same mom, same family, different child. I saw my heart and I learned a lesson.

When my husband Kirk and I have someone come and complain about another person or family in the church, we always evaluate the complaint against the word of God. Is it sin? Or would addressing the issue hurt or discourage the person being complained about. Our method is to always err on the side of grace and we encourage the complainer to pray and do the same.

Ok, so back to the mix up.  I have heard many people say, and I'm sure I've said it myself, " I just don't see any fruit in her life. " Here in Matthew 7:15 the fruit inspecting is directed at false prophets and teachers. People who would speak as from the Lord and teach God's word. Not our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to judge the fruit of people who would set themselves up as authority figures in the church. When their fruit is inspected, do their thorns (7:16) come out? This is the kind of fruit inspection we must do.
I recently spoke to a dear sister who dared to speak ill of the book the "Shack" She pointed out some of the flaws in the fictional book. The woman with whom she shared her opinion was so upset that she got her pastor involved. The "pastor" went on the offensive to defend this piece of fiction. He wrote very upsetting and hurtful things to my friend. In my opinion, his thorns were showing.

One last thing I want to mention, from Matt. 7:21-27 an amazing thing happens. Try to put yourself in the place of one of the, potentially, 200,000 people listening to Jesus that day. Read the passage as if you are one of those people hearing it for the first time from Jesus in the flesh. In my humble ability to paraphrase, Jesus says to them; I will be making the decision of who does and who doesn't get into heaven. I will require that I know you personally. You cannot get away with saying that you know me and have done many good things in my name. I will send away anyone who I do not know. They will not get into heaven. If you are wise you will heed My words.
It can't get much clearer than this. Jesus says He is the way to heaven. I have had people say to me that Jesus never said that He was the only way to heaven. Of course, I disagree.
 This picture was taken by the Hubble telescope. The scientists name it "the eye of God"

Ok, so we will use JUDGING and PROPHET to remember Chapter 7.

Chapter 6 is PRAYER and WORRY. The Lords prayer is there  and we should remember where all scriptures for worry and anxiety are.

Chapter 5 is BLESS your HEART, the beatitudes are here and Jesus speaks of sins being a matter of the heart.

Chapter 4 THINK FAST, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and He called 4 apostles, Peter, Andrew, James and John

Chapter 3 H2O, John baptizes Jesus with water and we see the TRINITY when Jesus comes out of the water


Chapter 1, the first 17 verses are genealogy then if you turn  the 18 on it's side it looks like a SWADDLED BABY, it's the Christmas story.

Start reading Chapter 8 if you haven't already! Remember to read it as many times as you can. Practice your remembrance cues as you go to sleep at night. Or if you are awake in the night, force yourself to practice. It will keep your mind from running away with your sleep.
Also, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY that the Lord will give you remembrance. 

One last thing I want to share with you. Gloria sent this to me.

Fear came knocking, Faith answered the door and there was no one there.

Love Nancy

No comments:

Post a Comment