About twenty years ago, I was a member of the leadership team in our local church. I was a relatively young Christian and it was a great honour for me to be part of what God was doing in our town. I took the leadership position seriously and I was concerned that so many members of the church seemed to be struggling with sin issues in their lives. In one way I began to think that I should be a kind ‘warden’ of the church to help people stay on the straight and narrow path that the Bible talks about. I was similar to the Pharisees we read about in the Bible, I was proud to keep the rules that a good Christian should keep.
It was only years later, when my wife Joy and I attended training at an Ellel Ministries Centre, that I realised that I needed a real and honest look at what I believed about being a disciple of the Lord Jesus.
As the years passed, I came across the passage of scripture that I quoted at the beginning of this devotion. I was more mature, and I could see by now that my attitude about other’s sin differed from what I now believed about it. I spent time in prayer, asking God to show me how I could have been so good at Christian living when I was much younger, because I found it more difficult living for Jesus now that I was older. What had changed? In those days I didn’t have a beam, or even a splinter in my eye, (or so I thought).
I am trained as an artisan, which sometimes entailed working with different materials. One was called perspex. It can be coloured or clear and looks just like glass, but it isn’t as brittle as glass. As I read the Bible, it was revealed to me that I actually had a beam in my eye during those leadership days so long ago. My beam was different. My beam was made of Perspex. I had chosen to look through my ‘clear as glass’ beam, past my own failings, and could only see the splinters and shortcomings of others. After all, isn’t it the purpose of leaders to keep the ‘sheep’ on the right track?
The grace and patience of the Lord slowly revealed to me my own weaknesses and failings. As He did this, my beam began to get darker, until I could see it for what it really was, a beam so dark I couldn’t see through it. A scripture came to me; ‘So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation’ (Philippians 2:12). My relationship with God has changed over the years, and so has my task of regularly working now on the beam in my eye, a beam that’s stopped me seeing what God wants to change in my life.
Prayer: Dear Lord, it’s so easy for me to see how others slip and fall. Help me to look past their imperfections and rather work on the issues in my life that prevent me from having a real living relationship with You. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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