Browsing Tag

judgment

Christian Life, Spiritual Warfare

Quit Your Judging

January 31, 2018
Quit Judging blog header

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:3-4

 

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

  • Phil 3:12-14

 

If you’re like most humans (or at least like me), odds are that you spend the better part of the day evaluating how well you’re doing at following, riding on a constant stream of judgments. You hit snooze one too many times and kick yourself for being lazy. As you get ready for the day you evaluate and judge your appearance, always finding it lacking. When you spill your coffee while heading out the door you inwardly call yourself an idiot for being in such a rush.

The ongoing procession of self-judgment doesn’t stop when you’re out in public. Feeling foolish for saying something awkward in conversation with a co-worker, beating yourself up for getting angry at your kids, shame when you do that thing you swore you’d never do again; the opportunities for self-judgment are endless in our failure-riddled lives.

But if you’re a follower of Jesus there’s a problem with allowing our minds to be constantly making judgment calls about ourselves. The Bible calls Satan the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). When we spend our time evaluating and passing judgments on ourselves we are partnering with Satan and cutting ourselves off from the joy of the Lord that is our strength.

Martin Luther discovered this in his endless hours of confession as he attempted to root out and confess every sin he had committed in thought or deed. The stock of sins he could identify was endless, and it wasn’t until God revealed to him the truth of the Gospel that he found freedom and hope. The truth of the Gospel was this; God’s judgment about Christ can be his judgment about us. By faith we can become the righteousness of God in Christ, freed from condemnation from without and within.

Paul knew this freedom well, so well that he could say in his letter to the Corinthian church, “it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself…It is the Lord who judges me.”

What beautiful freedom there is in the statement “I do not even judge myself”! This whole self-judgment thing is incredibly tiring and time consuming. Let’s learn from the Apostle and deny ourselves the right to pass judgment on ourselves and instead leave it to the Lord, the Judge of all, to determine.

And determine he has. For those who are in Christ his judgment has already been determined. As Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, we are the righteousness of God in Christ because Christ has taken our sin on himself (2 Cor. 5:21).

We need to stop attempting to overwrite God’s judgment about us. “What God has put together, let no man separate.” If God has placed you together in the righteousness of his son Jesus and thereby made you righteous, stop claiming that you’re not. If he has created you and called you good, stop allowing yourself to think the opposite.

Instead, determine to have the same mindset that Paul writes of in Philippians 3. Commit to “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Forget your past. Forget what you did (or didn’t) do this morning or last night or last week. Quit your judging. Press forward towards the prize that God has called you to in Christ. Run to Jesus.

I believe it was John Piper who once made the statement, “faith turns a mirror into a window.” Let’s stop standing in front of mirrors evaluating and judging ourselves. Instead, let your faith transform that mirror into a window that gives you a view of the beauty of Jesus and stare at him instead. As you gaze on him, and with “unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, [you will be] transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:18). It’s by looking to Jesus and delighting in Him that we are changed, not by self-analysis and condemnation. Quit your judging.

Culture, Poetry

Collapse

January 27, 2011

The jaw hangs open
to take all it can;
to fill out the secrets
and build up the cracks
that form, in those desert days
on Death Valley’s plains
where the snakes rush the waterwall
and men long for rain, when
the cloudless skies are covered
and they feel naught but winds
that pull at the strings
that are left of who they were,
opening up the ignorance
that breaks open the earth
to collapse –
upon their waiting heads
because they never thought to look
for the end.

Poetry, Spiritual

The Psalmist VII

September 22, 2010

Our God will come –
the heavens and earth will fail before him
and men will collapse like grass.

He will come and not keep silent,
speaking in righteousness
meting out judgment in righteous wrath,

And I will praise him;
his people will rejoice in his deeds,
for the Lord is a loving God
and a King mighty to save.

Poetry, Spiritual

Like Light From Star

August 18, 2009

Slow and strong, like light from stars
is the way you’ve formed my soul;
in cold, wide world
where the whispers are
that tangle men with Gods
we built an eternal city
and in it, golden homes
with ruby streets for the gracious dreams
that testimonies serve.

Alone, where so few go
willing to dust and shadow
I shall wait on passing things
to drop their fleshy holds.

So form, like bone from marrow
a man of no low, besetting sin
and bear, in the meat of gospel
what none has ever seen,
like the mystery from beneath a mountain
or the greatest depth of sea;
ride forth, oh Spirit man
and fight until you’re free!

But faith, oh patient life
for slow and sure will be the move
and though you cannot yet see
the fullness shall finally come.
Then, like sun at dawn
a flood shall fill the earth
with terrors only bright
and wide with mighty song,
as bride meets her rescuer
and warriors their waiting Lord.

Then rise all thunderous roar
of a Victory finally won
and honor for all the servants
who answered to the call,
shying not from the blood
or from the traitor in their skin;
who stumbled, never faltered
and sought life within their deaths.

Yes, slow and strong, like glacier flow
yet it will surely come
in the fire, war, and famine;
in joy, love, and hope
the world shall see the glory
and the earth face its God
then at last, in the final judgment

to Hell with all the darkness
and to Heaven with the called!

Prose

The Judgment Gospel

June 2, 2009

“I believe that much of our evangelistic and personal work today is not clear simply because we are too anxious to get to the answer without having a man realize the real cause of his sickness, which is true moral guilt (and not just psychological guilt feelings) in the presence of God. But the same is true in a culture. If I am going to speak to a culture, such as my culture, the message must be the message of Jeremiah. It must be the same in both private and public discourse.

With love we must face squarely the fact that our culture really is under the judgment of God. We must not heal the sickness lightly. We must emphasize the reality. We must proclaim the message with tears and give it with love. Through the work of the Holy Spirit there must be a simultaneous exhibition of God’s holiness and His love, as we speak. We cannot shout at them or scream down upon them. They must feel that we are with them, that we are saying that we are both sinners, and they must know that these are not just god-words but that we mean what we say.”

Francis Schaeffer, Death In The City p.71

How true it is, as Schaeffer says, that we are so over-anxious to tell people the answer! So much so that more often than not we offer Christ to the person before he or she even knows what the question is, much less has a desire to find the answer. It is true in the case of any question; almost no man seeks the answer as an end in itself. No student particularly cares that what the answer is to question 16 on their math final; they care that if they get that question wrong they will be that much closer to failing the class. Even the most inquisitive and competitive person does not seek the answer or the victory as an end in itself. No, they seek it for the satisfaction it gives them, whether that be in winning a spelling bee, defeating an opponent in a boxing match, or graduating top if the class.

Is it not then foolishness to attempt to present the gospel to people before making the need for it clear? As Schaeffer so wisely says, “we must face squarely the fact that our culture is under the judgment of God.” First and foremost, we must come to the realization of this fact; that we as individuals are under God’s condemnation and that our culture, all things that stem from humanity, are also condemned. As Romans declares, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”. Note the present tense of that statement. The wrath of God is revealed. Not in the fullness of its terror or power, but it is in part now revealed day by day against all the inhabitants of the earth. A few verses later Paul tells us how the wrath of God is shown in the world; “they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened,” and, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,” and also, “all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.” All of Romans 1:21-32 is Paul’s explication of how the wrath of God is revealed on earth here and now.

I find it a thing hard to grasp in my 21st century mind that human sin is a part of God’s judgment against us, in fact, if Isaiah, Romans, and the rest of the Bible have any say of it, sin and its disastrous results are the main evidence of God’s wrath being revealed against this earth. We have somehow gained this thought that God will judge our sins at the end of time and that is when His wrath will be shown. Yet what Paul here explains is that the fact that we have been “given up” is in itself an wrathful act.

It is from the basis of that fact; that sin is in the world and that it is evidence (among many others) of God’s wrath against the wickedness of humanity. We must first lay these hard and painful facts out to those who we would share the gospel. As Schaeffer so beautifully explains throughout the rest of Death in the City, our message should be the message of the prophet Jeremiah. A message of wrath and in and through that wrath, a glorious hope. Humanity first needs to realize its wretched state before it can cry, “Praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!” as Paul did in Romans 7.

Yet remember, as is pointed out in the above quote, to do so in love and with humble sincerity. Were we not ourselves under that same wrath not so long ago? Was it not God’s strength and God’s alone – no worth or effort on our part – that saved us? (Romans 9:10-12) It is, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” It is my prayer that we will progressively grow in both courage and love; courage to speak a message that people will perhaps reject us for, and love to yet love those who do as the Jews did to Jeremiah in his day when they held him captive, beat him, and threatened him with death.

Be strong, my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are in a world that is far from the Lord, but the Lord is close to us! May we offer ourselves up as the means by which others are drawn closer to Him.