Remove the Plank
So many specks of evil sprinkled throughout this place lately and my thoughts begin to question why so many people who claim to be followers of Christ expect unsaved people to live as children of the Light. I know what God’s commandments are, many of us do, the plank of knowledge wedged in our eye has us so puffed up it has hindered our ability to see through the eyes of Christ.
Rather than noticing all the specks in others, I decided to invite the Holy Spirit into my Exodus 20 reading. Instead of pointing fingers and blasting others with what they should be aware of, I let the Spirit of God wash me with His life-giving words and judge the attitude of my heart and I scribbled a note to myself.
“You are the Lord my God, who brought me out of bondage and into the light. I put other things before you daily. I know you are jealous, God, and I struggle going back to these idols in my life. I confess that instead of seeking your face first, I sometimes seek my phone and what my friends are saying. Yet your steadfast love keeps drawing me to yourself. Forgive me God. I don’t take the your name in vain, but I do misrepresent you at times when my actions don’t line up with your truth. And my Sundays, I forget that it’s holy, I don’t always recognize the gift it is and I haven’t done a great job of teaching my children the value of resting and recognizing it as holy. Thank you, God, for being forgiving, create in me a heart that desires what you do.
I don’t always honor and respect my parents but I expect my children to honor me, what a double standard I live sometimes, thank you for your grace, God. I’ve NEVER murdered anyone, oh but, I have hated and stored up bitterness and said, “serves him right,” when someone has fallen. I’ve NEVER committed adultery for sure, oh, but when I’m discouraged and believing lies I’ve let myself quit my marriage and give myself and time to other relationships emotionally and mentally. And you, God, I whore around on you, giving my devotions to others things when you’ve told me to seek your face. How can your grace be so deep for people like me?
I don’t steal, thank goodness, I can’t stand dishonesty, oh my pride! Sheesh, why do I look down upon those who struggle with different tendencies than I do? I am a thief, I steal your resources and use them for my own plans, I steal your children and sometimes try to control them, I steal your glory when I want things to be about me instead of you. I steal the compliment for others when I withhold saying it. I’m really so very unlike you.
At least I don’t bear false witness against my neighbor … good gosh…. I know the words look as if I could pat myself on the back because I’ve never said anything untrue about any of my neighbors, but a bit deeper the question I’m hearing is, “Do you bear any kind of witness to them at all!!” I’m certainly not the hands and feet of Jesus and I’ve consistently rejected ideas to add value because my personal to-do list can’t squeeze them in.
I don’t tend to be jealous, maybe I stand a chance. Nope, I envy those who live in places that have more opportunities. I’m jealous of those moms who stay at home while their kids are in public school because I wish I had more time to myself and I even criticize some of those moms for not making better use of their time because of course I think I know what everyone else should be doing with their lives. A little bit of jealousy just stirs up a lot of my pride, obviously. I can’t catch a breather here, but thank you God for giving us the law to show ourselves up against your ways. I fall short at every turn.
God, I hear the thunder of your Spirit calling me to yield, calling me to take the plank out of my own puffed up eye and be grateful for your grace upon me. I don’t want to stand far off from you, I want to hear your voice, I need it, I’m desperate for it. Show me the way to walk, God. The path is narrow and I’m prone to wanderer, I need your Spirit guiding my feet with the truth of your word, YOU are my lamp. Come close to me, God, I want all the flesh in me to die so that all that comes out of me is you, your life-giving power that draws others to you.
Thank you, God, for your Word of truth that separates my flesh from Spirit.