WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?


Luke 8:22-25 – “Now it came about on one of those days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along, He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. 24 And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”  NASB

The topic of Faith is a fascinating one.  Some people have Faith in Action and some have Faith in the Wrong Thing or Wrong Place.  The subject of Faith frightens some, fascinates some, and infuriates others.  We speak of Faith as though it were some mystical and lofty thing that only the select of the elect can possess.  I hear people say, “If I just had faith” and lament the absence of mountain moving faith in their lives.

This account stands out as Jesus speaks to the disciples and basically says, “You guys thought I was sleeping but was it Me or your faith that was asleep?”  He said, “You say, where is the LORD?  But I say, where is your faith?”  That leads me to my title question, “Where Is Your Faith?”

I would contend that it is not a matter or a question of having faith.  Romans 12:3 declares, “…as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  Everybody has faith, faith in something or someone.  We exercise faith daily and multiple times each day.  Faith is a basic requirement in life. 

Rather than it being a question of having faith, it is a question of where we placed that faith.  I find it amazing how frequently people put their faith in secondary causes rather than the first great source – God. 

These disciples, many of them fishermen by vocation and probably from long habit began to watch the clouds, winds, and waves and fear gripped their hearts.  Their faith was weak because it was in their ability and their small boat.  Too often we trust the means as though everything depended on the means. 

I know some people who have relationships (friends) that they hang on to that person as though that individual had sole and total control of their life and was the source of their significance.  I have witnessed farmers view the weather as if it were God.  We have all seen politicians shift with the winds of public opinion or partisan pressure.  They put their faith in the opinion of others.  Their faith is in second causes rather than the first source – God!

So, “Where Is Your Faith?”  Matthew 21:22 declares, “And all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”  The simplest definition of that verse is, “Believe that it will happen, and you will see it happen but if you believe it will not happen it will not.”  Obviously, you cannot make it that simple but that is the condensed version.  So, “Where Is Your Faith?” 

Are we headed in the right direction in faith?  Is our faith in God’s Word, His Promises, and His Person?  Faith, as God designed and intended it is to be simple.  Man complicates it with doubt, formulas, and religious conditions that God never imposes.  We infuse our ‘sense knowledge, human reason, and human logic’ into the equation.  We somehow feel that we must understand it all for it to work.  That is somewhat amazing because we will trust a Doctor with our lives and not understand all about the disease, diagnosis or medicine.  We will hire an attorney because we do not understand the Law.  Then, we Do Not Trust the One who made us to Heal Us, Guide Us, and Care for us, because we do not understand it fully. 

It is a matter of Trust.   If God made us, He surely knows how to care for us and guide us.  I heard an illustration, years ago about Stonewall Jackson and his sister-in-law being ferried across the boiling torrent, just below the American Falls at Niagara.  They were in a small boat that shifted and rocked frighteningly.  Jackson’s sister-in-law panicked and was dangerously near causing the boat to capsize.  He grabbed her by the arms and turned to one of the oarsmen and asked, “How often have you made this crossing?”  The man said, “I’ve been doing this daily for twelve years.”  Jackson asked, “Have you ever capsized?”  The man said, “Never!”  He asked, “Have you ever lost a life in these waters?”  The man said, “No, sir!”  He then turned to her and said, “Do you hear what the boatman said?  Unless you think you can do better, sit still and trust him as I do.”

God can therefore unless we think we can do better than God, we need to trust Him!  Where is your Faith?  Is it in your ability, circumstances, conditions, other people or in God?  Faith is not feeling.  It is not seeing.  It is not touching.  It is not tasting.  It is not smelling.  It is not hearing.  IT IS RESTING IN HIM!

Hebrews 11:1 declares, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  You can trust God with your Body, your Money, your Life, and you can trust Him with your eternal soul.  Where is Your Faith?

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

THE FATAL REFUSAL or RELIGIOUS BUT LOST – Part Two…


Mark 10:17-22 – “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'”20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  22 But at these words, his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.”  NASB

Not only did this young ruler who was rich bring incredible assets to his encounter with Jesus, but he was needy.  There was a want or need in his life that was driving him to seek answers.  He acknowledged that in coming to Jesus.  His questions are revealing.

“What Yet Do I Lack?”  I can almost hear what he did not say.  He was probably thinking, I have wealth.  I have a position.  I have decency and morality.  I am religious, keeping the Law.  Yet, I sense something missing in my heart and life.  What is the matter with me?  I should be perfectly content, but I’m not!

I can only imagine his interest and trepidation when Jesus said, “One thing you lack.”  How arresting, when you come with all your arguments about your morality, your goodness, and what you have and find that the LORD says, “There is something lacking.”  None of us want to hear that.  We want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the LORD.”  We do not want to hear, “One thing is absent.” 

Jesus’ revelation of one thing could and should have been an encouragement, but it became a nightmare.  What did he lack?  He was short on spiritual life.  He was religious but his religion does not necessarily mean life.  He was moral but had never passed out of death to life.  He had a myriad of good qualities, but He still lacked.  Here he was at the feet of Jesus and the opportunity of a lifetime before him.  The LORD is addressing his situation and tells him, “One more thing is needed.”  What did Jesus say?  “Sell your possessions, give it all away, and follow Me.”  WHOA, Jesus, that’s is asking too much, at least that was revealed in what he did, “He Went Away.”

He lacked the willingness to walk in total obedience and trust in God.  His possessions held his heart and were his treasure.  Our LORD knows what it is that is hindering us and will always address it. The question is, will we release it to Him and walk in total obedience?  Whatever keeps us for saying Yes to Jesus in complete obedience is the very thing the Holy Spirit will touch and ask that we sacrifice on the altar of surrender.

The result of his refusal is that he failed to become a disciple of Jesus.  He was one of those who follow the broad way and fail to find the gate of entry.  By refusing to follow Jesus and going away he refused life.  That was the fatal refusal of a man Religious but Lost!

Each of us has the opportunity to say Yes to Jesus!  We do not have to go away sorrowful.  What will a man give in exchange for his soul?   What is worth your eternity?  No possession or anything else is worth the eternal horror of failing to follow Jesus.  Do not be religious but lost.  Do not make the fatal refusal.  Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts, knocking, let’s open to Him and trust His Grace to care for us in all things and at all times.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

THE FATAL REFUSAL or RELIGIOUS BUT LOST…


Mark 10:17-22 – “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'”20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  22 But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.”  NASB

This is one of the saddest accounts in the Bible.  The words, “he went away” are heart-wrenching when you consider what was at stake.  This short revelation contains the tragedy of a soul.  I do not believe you can read it without feeling a touch of the heartache and the pain that was in Jesus’ heart as He watched the man walk away.  It has the power to make you feel lonely and empty, at least that’s the effect it has on me.

“He Went Away.”  Jesus did not put his hands on his shoulders and push him away.  It was not that Jesus looked into his soul and saw stains that made discipleship impossible.  Jesus did not read the man’s yesterday and tell him that the soiled pages of his past made it impossible for him to enter in.  NO!  It just says, “He Went Away.”

This man held his destiny in his own hands.  He had the power to say Yes or No.  Sadly, his response was No.  It was no because he turned and walked away refusing to follow Jesus.  The LORD had asked something of him that he could not see himself giving up – Mammon was more powerful in his heart that his desire for salvation.

That is more than a little tragic!  There was not a person in the New Testament who had a personal encounter with Jesus that was richer in possibilities than this young man.  One moment he was running courageously to meet Jesus, kneels at his feet, and the next he is walking away empty. 

CONSIDER THE ASSETS HE BROUGHT TO THE ENCOUNTER…

He has material wealth.  That does not make him better than anyone else, but he had resources to be used greatly in the kingdom.  Money is condensed energy and pent up power and force.  It is an extension of our lives and when consecrated to God does enormous good.  This man was Rich! 

He was also a ruler.  That does not make him better or more special than anyone else but in his position, he could influence more than most of us will in our lifetime.  He was in a position to make laws and affect people’s lives positively or negatively. 

He is young.  That does not make him better than someone who is old but, in his youth, he was likely to have more time left on earth than someone in their sunset years.  There is no better time to surrender to Jesus than in our youth.  The rest of our lives are then focused and directed toward His service.  What a treasure to be young and committed to God.

He possessed a noble restlessness as was expressed in his inquiry of the LORD.  He was not satisfied with the status quo and wanted to know what more he had to do to press into the fullness of God.  When a person is self-satisfied, they see no reason to learn more, become more and become stagnant.  He wanted that which would lift him higher than where he was spiritually.  He recognized his deficiency.

He eagerly sought that which would expand the peace of his heart.  He was eager and enthusiastic.  He ran to Jesus!  He was a man of courage because a man in his position was looked down upon for reaching out to Jesus.  He was reverent.  A humorist said sarcastically, “If you were to examine the bump of reverence on the head of modern man you would find it a dent.”  That was not this man, he was reverent and recognized Jesus as one worthy of reverence.  He was morally clean.  He had kept the Law.

Jesus looked at this man, saw his heart, and reached out to him in love.  He saw the potential.  Our LORD also saw that which held his heart and exposed it giving him an opportunity to give up earthly treasures for eternal wealth.  Mammon held his heart too tightly and “He Went Away.”

I want to address this a little more in the next devotional, but I plead with each of us to hear carefully what the Holy Spirit is saying to our hearts and do not be one that “Walks Away.”  What Jesus offers is worth more than anything!

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!

POSITIVE FAITH…


Mark 9:23 – “And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.”  NASB

I want to take a brief stroll down the highway of faith and hit some high points regarding positive faith.  Faith is something that everybody desires!  Working faith is something that is desired by most believers but exercised by too few.  The disciples requested, “Lord, increase our faith.”  Paul informs us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  The Bible declares, “unto every man is dealt the measure of faith.”  The simple truth is, “We All Have Faith!”  What we need to do is put that faith into action and develop what I call Positive Faith.

POSITIVE FAITH CLIMBS MOUNTAINS…

No obstacle is too imposing for Positive Faith! When I think of positive faith in the Bible one of the first people, I consider is Caleb.  He refused to allow his age to deter him from the promise. He considered God as His partner as well as his LORD.  He expected to succeed because he believed God was a Promise Keeper and he had a Promise from God through Moses.

POSITIVE FAITH PRESSES THROUGH TO THE VICTORY…

In life, we find that there are times that we must press in and press on almost beyond our own strength and in the face of incredible obstacles and circumstances.  When I think of a faith that presses through to the victory I think of the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament.  She saw Jesus as the answer to her situation and condition.  She believed that He could and that if she could just touch Him, she would receive.  Fighting the crowd and in her weakened state, she went to where He was, pressed through the crowd, and touched the hem of his robe.  Healing was hers! 

I also consider Jacob as he wrestled with God all night long and refused to be denied.  He was changed and became a prince with God the father of the nation of Israel.

POSITIVE FAITH REVEALS GOD…

What we are and what we believe is demonstrated in what we do.  The faith that reveals God is the faith that exhibits the qualities and characteristics of His character and nature.  It exhibits Trust in His ability to do what He says He will do.  His Omniscience and knowledge of our need.  His desire and willingness to meet that need.  It reveals God as our Loving Compassionate LORD!

POSITIVE FAITH REFUSES TO DOUBT…

I had someone tell me, “Roy, I have to talk myself out of doubt.”  I found that interesting and after giving it some thought, I realized there was some validity in that statement.  When circumstances are contrary, we have the choice of giving up, giving in, or pressing on.  We either trust or we doubt.  We either set ourselves in the position to fail and rest all our hope in Him or we pull back and trust our own ability. 

When circumstances say, “No Way” faith says, “I refuse to doubt”.  It stands when the basis of hope has vanished.  It stands when the enemy launches a full-scale attack.  David encouraged himself in the LORD.  How?  I believe that Paul addresses that telling us that it is in “psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts.”  It is through focusing on Him!

POSITIVE FAITH OBTAINS THE PROMISES…

When I read Hebrews 11, the Hall of Fame of Faith and look back over the encounters and exploits of people in the Bible I find a common thread.  They Trusted and dared to fail.  They rolled all their care on Him and were determined to succeed of fail in Him, through Him, and by Him.

Abraham was willing to lose everything to win.  He left his known world to pursue the unknown. He was willing to offer up his son believing that God would raise him from the dead.  It was in hope when things appeared hopeless that he believed and hoped.  David believed God and faced Goliath and overcame with a sling and stones.  Elijah believed and saw the rain come.  Noah believed and built the ark.  Bartimaeus believed and received his sight. 

Positive Faith refuses to give up and because it presses into the presence of God it wins because it refuses to die.  To have positive faith is to have a living faith.  To have a living faith is to have an active faith.  To have active faith there must be trust and obedience.

My prayer is, “LORD, help me to completely trust You in all things and at all times!”

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

MIRACLE FAITH – ME?


Mark 9:23 – “And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” NASB

I had a person say to me, “I wish I could have miracle faith!”  They were sincere and genuinely wanted to have the kind of faith that moves mountains.  The individual was and is serving God and walking in all the ‘light’ they have.  Their cry was, “More God!”  Not more so that they could heap things on themselves but so they could help others and fulfill the words of Jesus to “destroy the works of the devil and see the captive set free.”  That is commendable.

Their declaration, once again, sent me to the prayer closet, the Word of God, and caused me to do some deep introspection into my own heart and life.  Do I have Miracle Faith?  Can I have Miracle Faith?  What is Miracle Faith?  All questions that I sought the LORD for confirmation and reconfirmation. 

This passage is incredibly powerful when embraced fully and incorporated into our lives, but lifeless when rejected or ignored.  The statement of this verse is that the person who believes has an open door to the realm of the impossible. That is intriguing, challenging, and inspiring on one hand and depressing on the other.  It demands more investigation. 

A casual look at this passage or any passage is insufficient to enable us to reach a lasting conclusion and develop a conviction as to its validity or truth.  The words of 2 Timothy 2:15-16 keep pounding in my head and heart, that we are to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”

I believe there are four considerations that are germane to our consideration of this verse.  We must examine and consider the Person of the passage, the Reason this is possible, the Provisions contained in its message, and the Implication that it reveals.  I ask that you walk with me as we briefly touch on each of those points.

THE PERSON OF THE VERSE – “…him who believes.”

For this to apply to us we must be in the company of ‘those who believe.’  But what are we to believe?  I believe that wild bears live in the woods, is that enough?  NO!  I believe that birds eat worms, is that enough?  NO!  I suggest that it is a belief in something specific and that specific is directed toward God and the need presented to Him. 

What are we to believe?  We are to believe that the thing we are asking God for will happen based on and in harmony with His word!  We must believe that God is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  We must believe not only that He can but that He will and is doing what we ask.  We see it done!  That is the eye of Miracle Faith, the finished product not the pesky problem.

THE REASON – The Word of God!

The reason for our belief is that we are members of the family of God and thereby ‘heirs’ of God and ‘joint-heirs’ with Jesus.  We are totally and completely dependent on God’s ability, integrity, and power.  We have the historic record demonstrated in the Word of God and in life that He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is God and nothing is impossible with Him! 

When I consider His miraculous work in the fledgling nation of Israel bringing them to their Promised Land, I find hope.  When I consider His work in the early church, my faith grows.  When I consider the work that He has done in my own life, I find cause for rejoicing and hope.  Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came to give ‘abundant life.’  In Luke 12:32, our LORD informed us that it is the Father’s ‘good pleasure’ to give us the Kingdom. And in Romans 12:3 we read that God has given to each of us a or the ‘measure of faith.’  The Reason I believe is because of God’s Word and His Promises!

THE PROVISION OF THE VERSE – “All things are possible…”

When I turn to Matthew 19:26 and Mark 10:27 and hear Jesus say, “With men this is impossible but with God all things are possible” my heart soars with hope and inspiration! 

But what is possible?  What did He say?  ALL THINGS!  I take the revelation of the apostle John to heart and read, 1 John 5:14-15 – “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”  That is more than amazing! 

The Promise and Revelation of John is a promise that either causes our hearts to leap with joy or brings sorrow.  It makes a declaration of guaranteed answers and if I am not getting those answers, I question what might be wrong.  It is not God, therefore James 4:2 must be involved or what happened with Daniel when he prayed is the key.  Either way, I need to come to Him, persist, and press in until I know that I know that I know and rest in His promise.

Let me offer the following passages for you to consider:  John 15:7; 14:13-14; 15:6; Hebrews 4:16; Mark 11:22-24; and Romans 8:17. What is Possible?  ALL THINGS!

THE IMPLICATION FOR YOU AND ME.

We are, according to the revealed and declared Word of God, more than conquerors through Jesus!  If we live John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.”  Asking amiss will not exist for us.  The signs and wonders of Mark 16 will be present in our lives.  We will pull down the devil’s strongholds and enforce the Victory of Calvary.  We may lose a few battles, but we win the war. 

All things are possible with God.  All things are possible to the believer and all of us have been given a or the measure of faith.  We need to dismiss the word “Impossible” from our vocabulary.  God Can and through God, we can!  What do you need today?  Ask and receive!

May the LORD help you in all things as you press onward in this wonderful day!

FOUR NECESSITIES FOR SERVICE…


Matthew 16:24 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  NASB

In this passage, our LORD is speaking of service!  If I understand the meaning of service as implied and taught in the Bible, I discover it involves total commitment or surrender of all that we have and all that we are to god.  It is to place Him before all and above all.

I am convinced after over 50 years of Christian ministry that too many people have little desire to become involved.  They are satisfied with the status quo, not wanting to rock the boat.  Some churches have grown into a condition of formalism and lost the Power of Christianity.  That is tragic!  I am convinced that the reason we sometimes do not have what we need spiritually is because we have become deficient in some areas of our Christian walk.  I don’t mean that as a railing indictment but a factual reality that is correctable.  I believe that to serve God in the biblical manner prescribed God’s Word, four things are needed:  Love, Faith, Involvement and Determination. 

LOVE IS NECESSARY.  (Matthew 22:37-40)

Although there are, more inter-division, basically there are two kinds of love.  There is brotherly love which can be both paternal and maternal and there is heavenly love which is love for, of, and unto God.  Heavenly love is unselfish love.  If we are to truly serve God, we must have a love for God and a love for man that is manifested in Christlikeness.  It is a demonstrated and compassionate love.

Our LORD was moved with compassion which could be rendered “He was compelled by love.”  He saw the need and reached out to bring a resolution and extend His help and grace.  We need this kind of love to enable us to love as He loves and that comes with the ‘new heart’ of the ‘new birth.’  Love seeks to protect and provide for that which is loved.  Jesus’ love for mankind should shine through us as we love as He loves.  The message and demonstration of Love is a sign of our salvation.

FAITH IS NECESSARY.  (Hebrews 11:1)

There are basically two kinds of faith.  You may argue that there are many more divisions of variations, but I suggest that there is Dead Faith (inactive and rooted in head knowledge) and there is Living Faith (active and established on our confidence in His Promises and His word). 

In order to accept God’s Word as Truth, we must exercise faith.  I believe that the Bible teaches that Faith was ever-increasing.  Why do I say that?  Because in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.”  Therefore, the more we hear the more our faith grows.  I believe that faith like gifts, abilities, and muscles grow in use and deteriorate with lack of use.  If we believe that God can we step out on His promises and exercise faith.  Faith, in a sense, is the confidence that what God says is!  We know that without Faith it is impossible to please God. He demands our trust!

INVOLVEMENT IS NECESSARY.  (James 1:22)

I said earlier that some do not want to become involved and are satisfied with the status quo, but I contend that we are involved.  We are involved through our birth into the kingdom and family of God.  We have become targets of hell and have our marching orders from the Throne of God to ‘Go.’  It is important to remember the words of Jesus, “If you love me keep my commandments.”  You are in the Army of the Lord and a target of the devil, so why not fully invest yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to equip and empower you to pull down strongholds?

DETERMINATION IS NECESSARY.  (Genesis 32:24-26)

Love may cause us to want to do something, but unless we set our faces like flints and become determined to see it through to the finish, we will not fight the good fight and finish the course.  We will become discouraged and throw in the towel.  The directive of Paul in Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” 

The beginning is of no value or importance if we do not finish the course.  Paul finished his course.  Jesus cried, “It is Finished!”  Jacob refused to turn God loose until He was blessed, and Elisha refused to accept anything but a double portion anointing.  They were determined.  Daniel determined he would not defile himself and his faith, obedience, and determination elevated him to rulership in the kingdom.

Love will motivate us to both trust and become engaged in the work of the Lord.  The knowledge of what God can do and His love for mankind will inspire us to become determined and never be satisfied with less than God’s Perfect Will.  We are more than conquerors through Jesus and if we abide in Him and His word in us, we have the assurance of answered prayers and the ability to pull down strongholds.

Let’s set our hearts to serve God with our whole heart!  May the LORD bless you richly as you enjoy this day in Him!

DISCERNMENT or JUDGMENT? (Part Three) …


Matthew 7:1-2 – “Do not judge lest you be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”  NASB

Let’s move on in our consideration of this testy topic.  We have considered the reality that the person who discerns thoroughly examines him or herself before evaluating others.  We have also considered the truth that the person who discerns seeks to verify the accuracy of all the facts before reaching a conclusion.  Now, let’s move to a third consideration.

THE ONE WHO DISCERNS – Deals as privately as possible with the problems they see.

If you put everything you see and hear on the street, Facebook or other Social Mediums you do great harm and make restoration and reconciliation virtually impossible.  Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 6:5-6 – “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge (diakrino) between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!” 

The objective of Love is always Restoration!  The one who judges publicly exposes those they condemn and seek punishment, not restoration.  Tragically, the person engaging in public judgment often fails to realize that their actions may result in others condemning them for having the same problems.  Luke 6:37 addresses this, “Judge (krino) not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” 

In our first devotional on this subject, we mentioned a family member expressing a view about the newly appointed Sunday School teacher.  That family member, it appears, judged according to appearance and gave a bad report to those not directly involved with the problem.  If that person had been discerning, they would have privately investigated the matter, gathered all the facts and factors and gone to the teacher before addressing it with anyone else. 

I heard about a pastor who asked a college student to give him a report on the spiritual life of another church member who was attending the same college.  The student said, “I haven’t seen much of him, but he doesn’t seem very interested in spiritual things.  He has dropped out of our fellowship group and spend quite a bit of time with friends who I don’t think are helping him spiritually.”  That seems benign, right?  Was he judging or discerning?

Let’s consider several points.  He did not have recent contact with the individual, therefore, he was not qualified to give an accurate report.  Yet, he left the pastor with the impression that the other student was in a backslidden condition.  Judgment involves opinions that are unverified to determine their accuracy.  Discernment involves a desire to restore and seeks all the facts before giving the report. 

I suggest he should have said, “Pastor, I have lost touch with him, but I believe a contact from you would be beneficial and appreciated.”  Christianity is not simply shouting the victory in a church service.  It involves spiritual growth and development in ourselves and in others.  I plead with each one to resist the temptation to be judgmental and refuse to allow the devil to tempt us to give ‘bad reports.’  If we become involved in judgment, we will likely participate in gossip and slander.  True Christianity seeks to restore the fallen. 

Galatians 6:1-5 – “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.”  NKJV

My prayer for myself and each of you is, “LORD, help me seek restoration, not judgment.  Help me discern the need and seek to provide help rather than rendering judgment and creating a divide.”

Have a great day in Jesus!