Why is it so easy to spot motes in others
but we can’t see the beam in our own eye (Matt. 7:3)?
You’d think it’d be so obvious to us,
with it protruding right out of our eye.
But this is what the carnal “I” sees:
Our normal self, pretty much what we expect,
so alas, we go right on and deceive ourselves (Jer. 17:9).
Paul said it’s time to examine ourselves. He isn’t talking about selfies so put away the camera. And he isn’t talking about looking ourselves over for suspicious lumps or blemishes, so back away from the mirror.
Paul said to examine ourselves, whether we “are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5).
It’s only five weeks until the spring Holy Days, and Paul said to examine ourselves so that we will be ready to “eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28).
“O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). So examine ourselves? In a real sense we can’t really do it.
In 47 years trying to live the Bible, I’ve encountered lots of messages about how to examine yourself. Let me share with you the simple, practical solution I heard in a perceptive sermon years ago. The secret is to
Ask God to show you the one thing He wants you to change
Ask Him to make it plain to you what he dislikes the most about how you are thinking or acting—the one thing that is most keeping you from being the new man or woman He wants you to be. That makes you a character all right! But not with the character God wants!
Lo and behold, Jeremiah says the same solution: Right after he says you probably can’t effectively examine yourself, he says “O Lord, correct me, but with justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing” (verse 24).
Yes, Jeremiah concurs, ask God for His merciful correction. The Master Timer never demands more of us than we are able (1 Cor. 10:13).
We see a relevant parallel in Deut. 7:22 where God sent hornets to drive out the nations standing in Israel’s way, but He did it little by little lest they be overrun with wild animals. God doesn’t want to sting us into being overwhelmed and despairing. He wants us to humbly submit to a loving Father’s correction—not run away from home! We are family! With the eternal Kingdom fast approaching!
Your special effort to examine yourself will work even more powerfully if you do this while fasting. God will see you are really serious about it because going without food and water will make you more serious about it. You will see your utter dependence on God’s mercy!
The Bible says some things come out only by fasting, and maybe a beam qualifies!
How your answer might come:
Bible Study … prayer … sermons … fellowshipping with iron sharpening iron. We must be on spiritual alert for God’s answer!
But from my experience the most likely way is if you have a wonderful godly mate, like I do, she might be the one God uses to show you the way. Why your mate? Because they are with you the most. They see you at your unpretentious worst. While striving to be heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7), they see you with your hair down.
Humbly accept & act
Hopefully, when God’s correction comes to our attention, we will humbly accept it, thank God for it, and seek His help to overcome it. The minister said the one thing God showed him was that he needed to be more humble. I think that could always be the one we all need. And thankfulness.
We should be grateful that the Master Potter wants to shape us into a worthy vessel. That the Master Blacksmith wants to forge us into pure steel with impurities gone so that He can see His own image in us. And that the Master Pruner knows just where and how much to lop and snip so we can really bear fruit for Him and His people.
Is this a fearful exercise? If we have a loving relationship with our Father and Brother, it’s an exciting one! God is working with us! He’s preparing us for His Kingdom!
So in the next five weeks, I urge you to join me in fasting for God’s favor in examining ourselves.
A parent loves to see a responsive child. If we yield to God in removing the beam in our eye, surely our Father will have a gleam in His!