Judgement is a word that we don’t like to hear. It has a connotation of finality; a decision is being made and it is final. We think of it in a negative sense. A similar term, prejudice, invokes a similar thought process. The reality is both of these words play a vital role in our life each day. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
As I approached an intersection the other day I had to make a judgment call. A car was coming toward the stop sign at a high rate of speed and didn’t look like it was going to stop. Although I had the right of way, I yielded. That judgment secured the rest of my day, maybe the rest of my life.
My friend Steve Brown says; “Christians ought to be the most street-smart people in the world.” What he means is that we should know and understand what is going on around us. We shouldn’t be naive. To accomplish that means we need to spend time understanding the ways and tactics of our enemies. We should be able to recognize things for what they are.
I think we all know that voice, you know, the one that says go ahead, everyone is doing it, get some for yourself, don’t worry it is just a little lie, no one will miss it, take it, you deserve it. The difficulty arises when we convince ourselves to listen. We agree with that voice and make a selfish decision.
Some time back I shared a question with you; “whose voice are you listening to?” Unfortunately, most times it is the voice that tells us what we want to hear, not the voice that we need to follow. We develop a habit of welcoming the direction that leads to self-satisfaction, thinking it will be good. We need better judgement.
Proverbs 3:5-8; NLT; 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
8 Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
We think we can satisfy our own self and at the same time serve God, that doesn’t work. We get it backwards. We need to seek God first and depend on Him to provide for our needs.
Matthew 6:33; NLT; Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
The process of discernment and judgement depends on who we are listening to. Most times we listen to ourselves, make decisions that sound good, act on those decisions, and then wonder why things turned out the way they did. Many times, we forget the first step, ask God. We relegate that to the last step, when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. Do you know why?
God is not present when we make choices that do not honor Him. He removes his hand and waits patiently for us to figure it out.
Romans 2:2-4; NLT; 2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
God is right and just. His presence will not abide in anything that is contrary to that. We look at others and point out their flaws, but the truth is we have enough of our own to work on that we should not be so concerned about theirs. We get this attitude that we are right with God and we are forgiven, but in that we fail to realize that God will not abide with us when we make decisions that He has not led us to make. We are out of His will.
Don’t you see how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with us? He shows us this grace to turn us from our sin, not enable us to sin more.
We need to focus on the image in the mirror, not someone else. We need to seek God first, not last. We need to follow His guidance and direction. Let me ask; do we want the blessings God has to offer in our life? Trust Him and be obedient. His presence is not in things that we think of or decide apart from His leading.
Here is a good thing to remember; if the plan you’re following and the decisions you are making aren’t producing good results, results that honor God, there is a high probability that you may not have sought God’s guidance or you have taken a wrong turn. Stop, turn to God, and let Him lead you back to His presence.
How do we do that? First, call out to Him and ask for His presence. Second, open His Word, whether you have it memorized or need to read it, go to His Word, read it, recite it out loud. Third, wait on God. Every time you think of acting ask God for permission.
We assume we know the way; we have a plan and our understanding has thought through all the options. That is a lie. Following our own understanding is the quickest way out of God’s presence.
As we will read later in Romans we need to learn the lesson of seeking God first. We need to understand it is in Him we find satisfaction, fulfilment, and provision. It is in Him we find peace and joy. He alone provides what we need.
Romans 12:1-2; NLT; 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.