Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3, 5 NKJV
We see it every day. Social media circulates the latest rumors. Gossip circulates accusations. Politicians blast those with opposing views. Inspired by this activity, many Christians engage in similar tactics. But what does the Bible say about spreading lies and pointing out others’ faults?
Jesus taught us to remember that no one is perfect. We may see a “speck” in someone else’s eye, but before doing anything, we must address the “plank” in our own eye. Only when we are clean before God are we ready to address the problems in others.
There is one more important step: Before going public, go directly to the person with whom we have problems or see faults, as in Matthew 18:15-17. Then we take several others with us to speak to that person privately. We may not want to take this step. It is easier to attack or spread rumors. However, our attitude changes when we confront someone privately before speaking openly.
Appropriate confrontation forces us to think carefully about our words, realize our responsibility and accountability, and remember the ultimate goal of reconciliation. At times we need to identify errors and root out false doctrines. But the Bible makes clear that our overriding goal should be to strengthen the body in order to increase our impact in the world (John 17:21) and to heal wounds.
Ask God to give you discernment about the words you speak to and about others.
Adversity has a way of wearing us down, especially when the difficulty keeps going. Sometimes it feels as if we’re simply moving from one problem to another without a pause in between. Although we cry out to God, the trials continue. What are we to do when we’re overwhelmed and God isn’t intervening?
One noteworthy trait of the apostle Paul was his determination to remain faithful to Christ through hardship. Many Christians get stuck in life’s tough spots because they don’t understand what God is doing. They want the Lord to rescue them from it, but oftentimes His desire is to give them “the surpassing greatness” of His power to go through the trouble (2 Corinthians 4:7).
How we respond to hardship reveals both our true character and our knowledge of God. It’s easy to say, “I trust the Lord” when life is good, but unless we recognize that He is also sovereign even in adversity, our praises will soon turn to complaints and self-pity. Surrendering doesn’t seem like a way to advance through hardships, yet it’s essential. Otherwise, we may find ourselves resisting the Lord’s good purposes.
We serve a God who is worthy of our faith and confidence. Every trial is an opportunity for the light of Christ to shine through us. It’s also one of the means He uses to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our life.
When we trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and sufficiency, we’ll choose to focus on Him, knowing that temporary afflictions produce for us “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
A Faithful Remnant Remains (1)
By: Victor Atallah, today.reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — Isaiah 10:12-21
A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.
Isaiah 10:21 —
Have you ever been in the difficult place of standing alone for what you believed was right? Standing alone against the crowd can be pretty lonely. A “remnant identity” is always tough.
Isaiah tells us that in Israel, God’s true followers were becoming an increasingly small minority. Most but not all in Israel and Judah were found unfaithful. A repentant and believing remnant was preserved. “In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob … will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel.”
As part of the remnant of God’s people, we have hope. The majority, who trust human powers for their security, find themselves betrayed. Isaiah 10 tells us that making a treaty with Assyria was a fool’s game. The great Assyrian beast would turn and devour those who trusted in its might. God alone is the only one on whom we can lean and not be disappointed.
Down through history, the remnant would survive as people recognized and rejoiced in God’s plan for the coming of Immanuel. The remnant would survive in captivity. The remnant would also return from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple in preparation for the coming of Immanuel.
How about you? Do you find yourself in the minority? When God is on your side, you cannot fail.
You might feel that you do not have enough faith to obey, but the Lord isn’t asking you to trust in favorable circumstances. He’s asking you to believe that He is who He says He is.
It’s easy to doubt God when you’re focused on the obstacles in front of you, but when you fix your eyes on Him and believe what Scripture says about His faithfulness, then you can do anything He requires. No matter what lies ahead, remember that God is not a liar, and He is faithful. You’ll be strengthened by your dependence on Him—whether a deluge of trials or a flood of blessings comes.
It’s actually when life gets rough that you’ll recognize the reality and sweetness of God’s faithfulness. As you walk through those storms in complete reliance on His strength, your trust in His character will become part of who you are and provide strength from within.