Clean Up Your Own Backyard

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips

04/04/2012

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” - Luke 6:41-42

The human mind is an interesting thing – sinfully interesting. We have such a tendency to ignore our own faults while we focus on the faults of those around us. Even in the Garden, Adam declared, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Adam blamed Eve for his own transgression of God’s Law. As if that wasn’t enough, he also seemingly blames God for giving Eve to him. Certainly, this trait of shifting blame has been passed down through the centuries since the Fall of man.
This attribute is seen in all facets of life. Children in the schoolroom learn to blame other students to get out of trouble. Drug addicts blame everybody except themselves for their problems. Drunks blame the stresses of life. Adulterers blame the innocent spouse. The list goes on and on. Our nature, as a result of the Fall, simply refuses to see fault in our own selves. However, this is detrimental to spiritual growth.
In our text passage, Jesus is explaining a necessary trait for spiritual growth. As individuals, we must first focus on our own shortcomings and get to work correcting them. We must cry with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24). Take notice of the personal possessive pronouns here. Certainly, this must be the way we approach God in prayer. If you spend more time praying for everybody else than you do yourself, there surely may be an issue.
Churches too must not fall into this trap. Satan has used this error to derail many of the Lord’s churches. Rather than churches following the instructions of Jesus as it relates to the Great Commission, we often have a tendency to focus on the errors of everybody else. This may make us feel better about ourselves, but it will not lead to spiritual growth in a body. Churches must remain focused. We must ever preach the Gospel in love (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 13). We must teach the truth to our members so that they are always learning and serving (1 Corinthians 14:26).
Children of God, let us not be snared by Satan’s trap. Help us to look into the mirror and see our own shortcomings. Individually, help us to work on our own faults so we are better able to help our brethren stand. As churches, help us to seek the Lord’s will and way about us. Help us to carry the Gospel forth in our communities as “A city that is set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14). This is our instruction from our Lord. When we focus on ourselves individually and corporately, we will grow spiritually.


Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your app to the Gospel” is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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