About Worrying… And Judging

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 1 Cor. 4:5

Oh, how we worry! How we worry about what people think about us. Some of us worry until we develop stomach ulcers.

(I guess that’s why I love President Donald Trump. He never seems to worry about anything!)

I love what the Apostle Paul says here:

“… it is A VERY SMALL THING that I should be judged by you.”

Can you imagine that? And yet here we are, believers, fretting about every little thing that is said about us and frying our hair on account of people’s attitudes towards us. But Paul says he does not worry in the least about what people think or say about him. In other words, Paul is saying that that was the least of his concerns. What a relief!

Of course, there are legitimate worries for the believer; and I am not talking about the stock market. Worrying about the stock market translates to worrying about your stomach, which is something that God is totally against. Actually, there is only one legitimate worry for the believer in the entire world, and that worry is sin in his/her life. That’s why the Apostle Paul talks of

“the hidden things of darkness…”

and

“the counsels of the hearts”.

Yep! That should really worry us. It should worry us if we have dark corners in our hearts. And it should worry us if the counsels of our hearts are not aligned with God’s will. That should really, really, really have us worried!! And we should not stop worrying until we have cleared every trace of darkness from our hearts. Let us strive to live a sinless life through living the crucified life; and we shall experience true freedom!

But there is another side to the coin. There is another side to this grace that we have been called to inherit. Right here the Apostle Paul tells us what that grace is. He talks about not judging things before that time.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

Have you ever realized how quick we are at judging people? By judging, I believe the Apostle Paul meant both good and bad judgments. On the one hand we heap praises on people; and on the other we judge others harshly, largely based on… well, what we don’t know! We think we know people; but we can never really know a person’s heart perfectly. Probably the most difficult thing in this world is knowing absolutely what is in a man’s heart. In fact, it is impossible for mortal man to know what is in another man’s heart. Only God knows our hearts perfectly. We know only in part. So what does scripture tell us here?

Quit praising men; and quit judging men. We should take people at face value and leave the judging and praising to God. If someone lies to you, for example, that is your business only to the extent that, once you learn of his lie, you can have compassion on him and pray for him to repent. Beyond there, leave it to God.

The same goes for the praises. Actually, the only Person you can praise with a perfect heart is our Lord Jesus Christ. Go easy with the rest.

One of the things that I am absolutely sure of on judgment day is that there will be many surprises; and not small ones. Some will be very disturbing. Others, hopefully, beautiful ones. For this reason, the Apostle Paul is beseeching us to keep these things (praises and judgments) to the barest manageable minimum down here. According to the Bible, we don’t know anything yet; and for this reason there is no reason why we should even praise or judge men at all! Let’s leave that to God alone.

Ultimately, I love the fact that there is grace is Christ to live the kind of life that the Apostle Paul lived. That is what we should be truly grateful to God for. Paul lived that kind of life; why can’t we? I pray God therefore that He may enable me – and you – to keep the two important things in our lives in mind: firstly, to mind our own business, as it were; i.e. the business of keeping our hearts clear and sinless; and secondly, to take people at face value and leave the judging and praising to God.

[It is impossible for mortal man to know what is in another man’s heart]

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The Light of The Spiritual Man

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! Mat 6:22-23

What this scripture is saying here is simply that the light in our hearts, the purity of our hearts, is the light of the spiritual man. You can have religion up to your neck, but if you are not maintaining a pure heart, your whole spiritual body is full of darkness.

When we had our second baby, my wife and I decided that two kids were enough and that we should get on with the business of serving the Lord. So we went to have a tubal ligation. This is a simple surgical procedure whereby they make a small hole below the woman’s navel, cut the fallopian tubes, tie them up and after 5 minutes of rest the patient can go home. The purpose of it is so that she should never be able to conceive again.

I was sitting outside the operating room as the doctor and his nurse performed the procedure on my wife. When he was done, the doctor called me inside and he said to me, “Your wife has the clearest birth tubes I have ever seen. They are so clear you can see to the other side!”

We all laughed with relief – and I with pompous pride. But I never forgot the doctor’s words. Somehow they stuck to my mind and the Lord has used them many times to remind me about the condition of my heart.

Later on my wife was employed by that same organisation and during the course of her work cutting and binding women’s fallopian tubes she would tell me things that made me to appreciate the significance of what the doctor who operated on her had told us. My wife would tell me about the women they operated on, how the tubes of many of them were clogged with ‘dirt’; some to the extent that they had to go back home and use medication first before they would be operated on.

Through these lessons I came to appreciate the importance of the heart as far as our relationship with God is concerned.

The condition of our hearts is so important I wonder what preachers are preaching today! In the final analysis, there can be only one of two things in our hearts: light or darkness, and these things in our hearts are all that God is really concerned about. The Bible says two things about the nature of God. By nature I mean composition; in other words, what God is composed of (just as we are composed of dust, etc). The Bible states that God is:

  1. Light
  2. Love

The light the Bible is talking of here is not sunlight, of course. The Bible is talking about light in the spirit realm. It involves things like holiness, and righteousness. In the same way, God being love is not the worldly love we know of. It is something much more profound. It involves things like forgiveness, and compassion.

Out of this composition we get all the characteristics of God that we read of in the Bible. Just as God is light our hearts should also be full of light. We may not know many things, and we may not have many things, but we are called upon to please God by carrying a pure heart.

Some people simply have religion, and not the gospel of Jesus Christ. I wonder that we know so many things, so much scripture; and yet we keep impure hearts! The Apostle John speaks to us on the importance of keeping a pure heart. He says: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7)

Notice the scripture there acknowledges that we will sin, even in our born-again state. But the important thing with God is that we keep our hearts open and pure, so that the blood of Jesus can continually cleanse us from our sins, which we commit daily.

Let us desire to be simple folk. Religion produces some of the most complicated and difficult people on this earth. But the grace of God in our hearts produces humble men and women in whom the love of God can truly reside. In the final analysis we ought to be men and women whom God can “see through to the other side”!