UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought is an updated version of AMI QT Devotional first posted on August 22, 2013.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Studying the Words of Jesus”
37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” 39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. 43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
I would like to point out three important lessons from the words of Jesus recorded in this passage.
First, those who want no correction or accountability in their lives misapply too often verse 37. The real issue here is, “With what measure/standard are we discerning/judging others” (v. 38)? The emphasis in this command is “forgiveness,” not “tolerance.” The difference between the two is this: forgiveness is acknowledging that what was done is sinful and wrong, while tolerance is keeping one’s silence, even though what was done could be wrong, for the sake of maintaining superficial peace. This morning, we want to pray that our spiritual eyes would be opened, judging things in the way Jesus would. After all, the goal in life is to be like Jesus, is it not?
Second, in this passage Jesus is not advocating minding our own business; instead, he is talking about being trained, discipled (v. 40). The goal of discipleship is to be like Christ by being discipled by those who have been walking in that path earlier and longer than we have. If I were to apply this passage to discipleship without having to distort the very fundamental teachings of Christ, I would raise the following three questions. First, with the kingdom standard/measurement what do I need to give to those whom I seek to disciple (vv. 37-38)? Second, the parable of verses 39-40 is a no brainer. But at the same time there is a subtle assumption that we often try to help others to grow without focusing on our growth at the same time. In light of that, what areas in my life that God has to constantly open my eyes as I am involved in discipling others (vv. 41-42)? Third, the heart of discipleship training or for that matter any gospel ministry is about dealing with the heart (vv. 43-45). What is deeply rooted in other people’s hearts and mine?
The third lesson is this: The goal of any reading or reflecting on God’s word is putting it into practice (vv. 46-49). Until we actually put them into practice in a real-life situation, all the teachings of God’s word would remain as just knowledge; subsequently, life would not be able to weather the storm. It seems like the same unexpected and “unfortunate” things happen to both the faithful and unfaithful. Reflect on how your life could stand strong and count before the Lord.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to deeply cherish Your word in my heart. Lead and guide me through Your precious Scripture to establish Christlikeness in me through the work of the Spirit. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Acts 2