Good morning everyone:
It’s inevitable. The hometown team loses the ballgame, and the next morning the talk radio programs are swamped by callers quick to point out the blunders of everyone from the batboy to the manager. Sadly, it’s human nature. We are quick to criticize. We can spot the failures of others from a mile away, but as Jesus says, what we really need to do is first take the plank out of our own eye.
It’s bad enough when we criticize the people around us: parents, spouses, bosses, the neighbors, and fellow believers. But do we criticize God as well? In your prayers do you find yourself more or less telling God what He should do in your life? When He doesn’t answer a prayer according to your will, are you a little angry? Do we find fault with the way God directs the affairs of the world? Do we blame Him for not stepping in and doing something about the problems we see or not preventing the evil people commit?
In Romans 8 the Lord calls us to repent of that kind of presumptuous pride. “Who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”’ (Rom. 8:20). We need to let God be God. We don’t see the big picture. Our judgment is clouded and distorted by sin. So often we think only of our own immediate earthly wellbeing, rather than of what is best for our faith and eternal life.
Instead of criticism, let’s come to the Lord today with humility, confessing our sinful pride and rejoicing in the forgiveness Jesus won for all on the cross. When we feel the urge to second-guess God and judge His ways, let’s remember that He is God and we are not. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9). When it seems as though God is withholding blessings, turn to Paul’s words for reassurance: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
Tomorrow’s sermon text (Acts 14:8-18) is an incident from Paul’s first missionary journey which shows the Lord’s loving presence and direction not only of Paul’s life, but the lives of many others.
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services.
Yours in Christ,