We all possess an inherent talent for applying instruction and correction to 'the other guy,' while assuming that we are in compliance. We can receive instructions from the Lord Himself. We assume that we see and hear, yet we err in our application whenever we fail to examine our own hearts. We have a tendency to see ourselves as already being 'fixed'... whose duty it is to 'fix others.' We have no problem seeing ourselves as 'the elect,' 'the chosen,' 'the called out ones,' while we have a major problem seeing the errors we make in our judgments and our own lack of discernment. We may have spiritual eyesight in one area, but see with only our carnal understanding in others... and be totally unaware of it. We may see more than most of those around us and make the assumption that because we see more than they do we think we see 'all there is to be seen' in that area, without seriously considering that even though we see more now than we did ten years ago, we still have a film over our eyes... there is still much more that we are yet blind to. We are admonished:
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil" Proverbs 3:7.
"Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" Isaiah 5:21.
How does one become wise in their own eyes?... by comparing themselves with others.
"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" 2 Corinthians 10:12.
In Jesus' warnings to the Churches in Revelation, he stated:
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" Rev 3:17. We are the ones He is talking to here. If we truly love God, if we honestly desire to walk by the power of His Spirit, then we had better stop visualizing the 'other guy' when we read these words. We ARE the 'other guy,' and it's high time we wake up and realize it. There is an enormous gulf between what we desire to be and what we are, and we will never span this gulf except by the power of the Spirit of God. We indulge in all manner of disciplines; we study and sacrifice, trying to become the 'sons of God.' But most of us are still babes, unable to take strong meat. Big spiritual challenges are not stopping us... it's the little things that we stumble over. For many, the very scriptures are incomprehensible. We can become desensitized to the words, by thinking that we already understand what is being said. There is a saying, 'familiarity breeds contempt,' and it applies here. We can hear and read the same passages over and over again, thinking that we fully grasp the meaning. There are many levels of understanding and comprehension, and we seldom get beyond the obvious carnal application. Many never even seek the Holy Spirit's illumination of the mysteries the scriptures contain. No man can teach us, (open our spiritual eyes) except the Holy Spirit. We can spend all of our time accumulating knowledge, yet never assimilate what we are learning into our very being. Instead, there is a disconnection between what we know and believe, and what we are; how we treat others.
"Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. Ye shall keep my statutes" Lev 19:14-19.
Are we ever guilty of doing any of these 'thou shalt not's'? Do we assume that because it's how we feel, our judgment is always righteous? Do we talk about others behind their backs? Do we hold anger, resentment and animosity towards fellow believers? How much love are we really walking in?
Only Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit can open the doors of the religious prison houses we have been locked up in...
"To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" Isaiah 42:7.
And it will not be in a way that we have thought of or anticipated...
"And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them" Isaiah 42:16.
As we strive to die to our flesh, and learn to walk by His Spirit, we should know that we will be tested and tried. We may think that we are being led by the Spirit, but how often? How do we react when someone speaks ill of us? When others disagree or have a totally different perspective from ours, do we feel justified in criticizing or attacking them because of it? Do we really believe what Jesus said, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" Matthew 12:36-37.
May the Lord purge us of all of our assumptions!
"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. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" Romans 2.
Jesus also said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" John 7:24. In order for us to pass righteous judgment we are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit, with no leave given for our emotions or carnal understanding. We are in an hour when we are being challenged to 'grow up in Christ.'
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth" 2 Peter 1:2-12.
What profit is there in it if we can only see the blindness (error, apostasy) in others, but not in ourselves? Apostasy has been here since the fall. The spirit of antichrist has been here since the Lord's ascension; they are not new. If we would be partakers of the divine nature, it will require that we cry out as the Psalmist did... "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" Psa 139:23. There is good reason why Paul admonishes us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
"Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ)" Php 2:12.
We need to seriously examine our own hearts, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" Php 1:6.
From Strong's Concordance:
Blind - H5785 through the idea of a film over the eyes); to blind.
Deaf - H2790 A primitive root; to scratch, that is, (by implication) to engrave, plough; hence (from the use of tools) to fabricate (of any material); figuratively to devise (in a bad sense); hence (from the idea of secrecy) to be silent, to let alone; hence (by implication) to be deaf (as an accompaniment of dumbness): - X altogether, cease, conceal, be deaf, devise, ear, graven, imagine, leave off speaking, hold peace, plow (-er, -man), be quiet, rest, practice secretly, keep silence, be silent, speak not a word, be still, hold tongue, worker.
Perfect - H7999 A primitive root; to be safe (in mind, body or estate); figuratively to be (causatively make) completed; by implication to be friendly; by extension to reciprocate (in various applications): - make amends, (make an) end, finish, full, give again, make good, (re-) pay (again), (make) (to) (be at) peace (-able), that is perfect, perform, (make) prosper (-ous), recompense, render, requite, make restitution, restore, reward, X surely.
Prudent - H995 A primitive root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), that is, (generally) understand: - attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill (-ful), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand (-ing), view, (deal) wise (-ly, man).