Self Realization

Isaiah 6:5   (KJV)   5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

The prophet Isaiah realized the sobering truth of His wretchedness and gave at least two reasons for His clear realization and humble admission. The first reason he gave was the uncleanness of his lips. The interpretations of which vary, but we can generalize it as Isaiah 6.5 - Realization of Real Selfuncleanness. This uncleanness wasn’t only in his personal sphere but even communal—the people around him were also unclean. The second reason he gave was him seeing the Lord. Seeing the Lord in His majesty and utter holiness has that kind of effect.

The holiest of us, left to ourselves, are unclean. The unholy in the presence of the Most Holy isn’t a good scenario unless it’s a process of cleansing and forgiveness. No matter how highly people esteem themselves to be, no matter how self-righteous, how much better they see themselves to be in comparison to others, their exaggerated view of themselves will embarrassingly shrink when presented with the picture of their true state and presented before the presence of the one and only true holy God.

It’s a good first step though to humbly admit our spiritual bankruptcy. It’s those who realize the poverty in their spirit who receive the kingdom of heaven. It’s good to see Who the answer to our need is. He Who is Holy lovingly, willingly, graciously, and abundantly imparts His holiness to those who reach out to Him in full dependence and surrender. We’re hopeful even when we see what’s devastatingly wrong with us, knowing that Someone can make it wonderfully right.

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Quick Judgment

Romans 2:1   (KJV)   1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Often, people are guilty of the same things they judge others for. And since this is true, there really is no room and reason for hypocritical judgmental attitudes and actions.

It’s very easy for some of us to call others out on their mistakes or wrongdoings. We can be very good at making others feel guilty. We make sure of it. Somehow, it makes some of us feel more superior – that we’re better people. And we want that picture we portray seen well. Really? Perhaps the only advantage we have is that we found out about their faults and we were better in hiding ours. Some of us act so smug and untouchable. We want to create this separation between us and “the sinner.”

Interestingly, we are selective in this. We can be blind to the wrongs of the people we like; but we can be brutal to others we don’t like. The truth is, the knowledge of the sins of people we’re not really so enamored with just gives us the ace we need so we can treat them with disgusting cruelty and make everyone see that we’re justified in doing so. Give me a break. Any sin we know about anyone – people we like or people we don’t necessarily like is infinitesimal compared to all the sins we ourselves are guilty of – which we know, if we’ll only be honest to ourselves.

God wants us to be alleviated from the burden of pretense. No one’s perfect – not others, not us. We will sin. Let’s not excuse each other, but let’s accept each other’s reality. Then let’s help each other work out our salvation better and more seriously without the weight of condemnation hanging around our heads.

Dear God, the only perfectly holy Being in existence, thank You for the grace You’ve given us to be humble. Because of You, we can change. You’re working in us so that we will have a change of mind and attitude regarding others. You want us to be more gracious in dealing with people caught in their sins and to be honest regarding our own. You’ve shown us our true nature so that we won’t ever act arrogantly and proudly. We all have the dreaded “skeletons in our closet.” That’s why we desperately need a Savior. We realize that any holiness we enjoy and any victory we have is all because of You, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Heart Issue

Mark 7:21-23  (KJV)   21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

I don’t know who originally said it, but it hits the bulls eye: “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” If ungodliness characterizes the speech and actions of people, they’re just expressions of ungodly hearts. There are things that affect men physically, but there are things that reach way more deeply.

We’re often concerned about the physical, the superficial. Yes, our bodies are important; material things are important as well. But we often judge someone’s beauty based on the external. We often judge someone’s relationship with God based on the food they eat, the clothes they wear, what they drink, the make-up they wear, etc. We ought to not undermine the fact that our visible and physical conducts and demeanor can be telltale signs of what’s inside; but we ought to make sure that we don’t appear clean only on the outside yet filthy on the inside. The condition of our hearts matter most.

Our dear Holy God, please check, cleanse, change our hearts – whatever is necessary. May we be true to You inside and out, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Death of the Innocent

Luke 23:41  (KJV)   41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Unlike the traditional religious beliefs, there was really no bad thief and good thief; both of them were thieves and they both started off insulting Jesus. Unlike many who are caught in a crime, they didn’t claim innocence. One of the two thieves crucified with Jesus eventually humbly admitted that they were guilty and thus justly deserving of the crucifixion they were suffering. He also pointed out that unlike them, Jesus was completely innocent. Jesus died for no crime He personally committed. But die for crime, He did. His condemnation, suffering, and death were substitutionary. He died for the sins of the world. 

Thief or not, we’re all guilty of sin. And if we will be humble enough, we ought to admit our guilt and how deserving we are of our sins’ consequences or punishment. Obviously, there is a natural desire to get away with our wrongdoings. There are many of us who would desire to, plan to, and commit sin and not think about the consequences. Worse still, when dealt with the natural result of our foolishness, we ask, “Why me?” But there are those of us who awake to this humbling reality. Thank God because we’re not left without an answer to the dilemma. There is Jesus. He didn’t deserve to die but He willingly did for the very help we need. We need forgiveness from sin. We need salvation. That’s why He came; that’s why He died. He is the Savior.

Dear God our Savior, thank You for Your loving Provision and sacrifice. May we all be honest about our true condition and need. May we all find the wisdom of fully depending on the only One Who gave His perfect life for our salvation. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Savior to the Penitent

Luke 13:1-3  (KJV)   There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Certain Galileans suffered murder from the hands of Pilate while they were in the middle of their religious activity. The Galileans suffered; His audience obviously didn’t. Jesus found it imperative that He quickly clarified what may otherwise could have come to an erroneous conclusion, belief and doctrine. The suffering of the Galileans and the “non-suffering in the same way” of the audience was not a divine indicator of who was more sinful. It was not necessarily an insightful commentary of their varying spiritual conditions. But it’s worth noting: Jesus’ reference was not between sinners and a non-sinners; It was between sinners and greater sinners. Implication: the Galileans who suffered and those who didn’t were all sinners who will all perish unless repentance happens. With that He showed an indispensable essential act everyone has to undergo for any possibility of escape from perishing: repentance.

Suffering and tragedy hits everyone. Being accused wrongly, being betrayed, getting into accident, getting sick, losing a parent, losing a child, losing a friend, losing money, losing everything – these are experiences shared in all strata of society. Not everyone experiences every suffering and every tragedy, but anyone can and will experience sufferings and tragedies. Great sinners and not-so-great sinners all share in human experiences – good and bad. Apostle Paul and Fuhrer Hitler both suffered – both died. Both of them sinned. Paul described himself as the chief of all sinners; Hitler is a generally accepted figure of great sinfulness. Both of them could have perished and suffered eternal destruction. We know for sure that the self-confessed chief of all sinners repented, thus was saved and became one of the greatest Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t know of the Fuhrer. Perish or not, it’s not  because he was a sinner above all humans or not, it was dependent totally on whether he repented or not. Let me quickly add: if He believed (fully trusted and depended in) Jesus as his Savior Who was able to forgive him of all his sins if he repented from them. Whoever we are, no matter how highly or how lowly we’re esteemed in our sphere – natural or spiritual, we’ve all sinned. Unless we abnormally want to perish, repentance is a must. Le’t humbly ask for forgiveness – turn away from our sins, and simultaneously turn to God.

Forgiving Father, thank you for the hope you’ve given us despite our sinfulness.  We turn away from our sins. Thank You for being our Savior Who can and will forgive.