The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe….
I recently read a book by a fairly well known Christian communicator of the mid 20th century. Many of his thoughts blessed me with their Scripturally reasoned insight and sometimes brilliant analysis. However, I also found myself disturbed by a recurring feature that raised questions about the gentleman's perception of himself and others. When referencing positive aspects of Christian life and experience, he tended to use the pronouns "we" and "us". Conversely, when mentioning occasions of sin, wandering, and failure, "you" and "your" characterized his rhetoric.
"The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33).
I mean no disrespect to the brother in Christ I reference. However, I found his focus disconcerting and even disturbing. Certainly we all see imperfections in fellow believers as we journey together through this present lifetime. Moreover, Scripture calls us to sometimes serve as God's correcting agent when brothers or sisters stumble (Galatians 6:1). We do so, however, with the attitude of humility that acknowledges our own susceptibility to sin and too many occasions of unbelief and disobedience. No believer perfectly orders his steps along the path of righteousness. Note the Apostle John's use of the proper pronoun regarding this reality: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8). Certainly sin is never inevitable or excusable in the Christian's life and experience. It does happen, however, and if my primary focus involves the wandering of others, my attitude reveals my need to humble myself before the Lord in personal repentance. Again, David expressed the proper pronoun in his cry for the Lord's correction and restoration: "Search me, o God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).
Pride ever lurks as the deceiver and destroyer it is. Satan and his minions are not above using devotion to God as an enticing influence, tempting believers who sincerely seek a faithful walk with God with pride of accomplishment rather than gratitude for the grace that motivates and enables godliness. The temptation also involves our forgetting how often we have not availed ourselves of such freely given provision in Christ. Regarding the brother mentioned, I again mean no disrespect, and I realize that my notice of his focus must lead me to emphasize my own need for the Lord's ongoing work of growth and correction. "Search me, o God…"
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility."