March 3, 2016

Are You Better Than Others?

Written by Tripp Prince

Are You Better Than Others 3.3

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 3, 2016 

By Tripp Prince.

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3

In America we recently wrapped up award season, with the world tuning in to see which film or musical production topped the charts this year. As I observed the nominees for film of the year, I was struck by how several of these films were entirely based on significant and at times unspeakable human failures. Issues of human rights violations, greed and corruption, and abuse and cover-up were all on display for the world to see. And when we see or hear about these types of stories, I think it is our temptation to say, “at least I’m not like that!”

We must never justify our sin and brokenness by comparing it to the failure of others. Yet this is a great temptation in each of our hearts, and it was a temptation in Jesus’ own day. In Luke 13, we see Jesus addressing two well-known scenes in which people’s sins were put on great public display. On the one hand, Jesus speaks of murder and impure sacrifices. On the other, he speaks of eighteen people who were killed in the tower of Siloam. These are “extreme” stories. Stories that would make the evening news for their shock value alone! And yet, with both of these, Jesus says to his followers, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3).

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to point out the failings of others? It doesn’t take long for us to think of ways to encourage growth in the lives of our spouse, family, or friends. In fact, it’s much easier to focus on what they need to change than it is to examine our own hearts and look for ways that we can grow in our faith.

In the Bible, “repentance” is a central theme. We see where both the people of God and individuals are frequently invited to repent and turn away from the sin that keeps them away from life with God. Repentance literally means “to change one’s mind,” but it’s much more than a mental shift. It’s more than feeling bad about our brokenness.

True repentance always requires action. We must allow the sorrow we feel over our sin to lead us to reformed behavior and a changed way of life. This is the fruit of genuine, Spirit-led repentance. And here’s the hardest part: you can never repent on behalf of someone else! You aren’t responsible for their sins and shortcomings, or the ways they may have wronged you. You can only take responsibility for your own actions and your own heart. So if you are tempted to either point out the failings of others, or to justify yourself in light of them, pause and remember Jesus words, “unless you repent.”

Genuine repentance is the command upon each and every one of our lives. Do the hard work of repentance and self-examination today, and as you are honest with the Lord about your brokenness and need, encounter afresh his grace, forgiveness, and perfect love.

Prayer: Father, give us the courage and humility to be honest about our own sin and brokenness, and as we return to you in repentance would you fill us afresh and conform us to the likeness of your Son.

Application: How can you change your circumstances by focusing on your own repentance rather than the failings of others?

Related Readings: Isaiah 1:27; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 4:17; Acts 8:22

Post/Tweet this today: We must allow the sorrow we feel over our sin to lead us to repentance and a changed way of life. #WisdomHunters #repentance

Worship Video: 8 minutes – Housefires II: Come to the River

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Comments

  1. Josh Nauman says:

    I agree with the sentiment brother, but please help me to further understand?

    1) Do we continue to rebuke and be rebuked in corrective love with right judgements for the open sin that we are blind to?
    2) Are you saying to first take the plank out and not “help” our brother in a hypocritical, carnally comparitive way?

    Thank you Tripp.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Josh,
      Happy Easter to you and yours! He is Risen!
      Thank you for reaching out to us with those GREAT questions after reading Tripp’s devotional, “Are You Better Than Others?”. I passed along you comments to Tripp.
      While I cannot speak for Tripp, I did read over the devotional a few times, as well as, your very thought-provoking questions. Josh, I have to tell you, your questions were a blessing for me because I had to dig deep in the Word and search for some answers. I am grateful to you for that.
      Do we continue to rebuke and be rebuked for the open sin we are blind to? I am not sure. My first thoughts are that we are to pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the sins we are blind to, so we can see them, confess them and repent.
      Matthew 13:15-16 says “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears,
      and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears,
      and understand with their hearts and turn, and I will heal them.”
      The phrase you used in your first question “open sin we are blind to” made me seek out what the Word says about spiritual blindness. What a convicting exercise for a believer as he tries to understand what sins he is blind to. I think the only way to do this is to ask for the Holy Spirit to make clear our spiritual blindness.
      Tripp wisely suggests :”Do the hard work of repentance and self-examination today, and as you are honest with the Lord about your brokenness and need, encounter afresh with his grace, forgiveness, and perfect love.”
      Your second question was another one that lead me to the Word for direction. (Again, I thank you for that) When you say “help our brother” I am assuming you may mean “rebuking” or “speaking truth in love” to a fellow believer?
      We are called as the body of Christ to “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2
      But, as Tripp wisely suggests “In fact, it’s much easier to focus on what they need to change than it is to examine our own hearts and look for ways that we can grow in faith”. My “take-away” from this is that we are to first “take the plank out” before we “help our brother”. Ouch, this is personally convicting as I type these words……
      As you have probably realized, I do not have the answers to your questions, just more questions and thoughts. But, together, and with the others in the Wisdom Hunter’s family wondering the same things, we can go to the ONE who does have the answers!
      Josh, we are grateful for your response and for being a part of the Wisdom Hunter’s family. Isn’t it amazing when God speaks through devotionals, His Word, and His Holy Spirit to make clear what we are to do? He continues to offer discernment and guidance when we seek Him. Praise God!
      Believing and trusting~
      Gwynne
      “Then you will call upon me and come to pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me
      when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13


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