Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

How Should I Pray, Week 2, Day 3

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MATTHEW 7:6

“Do not give to dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they’ll trample them underfoot, turn, and maul you.“

Instead of relating to others by means of request, we often use condemnation or we try to push them in the right or the Godward direction. To see this in our verse we must put aside the interpretation that Jesus is suggesting there are some who are not “worthy” of our valuable insights. Jesus cannot be suggesting that some people are pigs or dogs. He is not saying we should avoid giving good things to people who might not accept them or who might not use them rightly. Rather we are to be like our Father who is “kind to the evil and ungrateful” (Luke 6:35).

Worthiness is not the issue here. Pigs cannot be sustained on pearls nor dogs on holy relics or scripture. The animals finally turn, in frustrated starvation, on the inappropriate giver. Our wisdom and spiritual insight must be given so others can “ingest” it. We must have respect for their freedom, and despite our anxiety for loved ones, learn to trust them to God’s care. We cannot hurry others into Kingdom living. Many young people graduate high school and leave church because they are reacting against our pressure. It is hard to offer “pearls” without conveying superiority or contempt or the desire to control.

Prayer

Gracious God, Give us wisdom to share well and truly our faith. Help us to do so in the right way at the right time. Give us discernment to know what others can absorb. Grant us deeper faith in your providence. Amen.

 

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How Should I Pray, Week 2, Day2

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MATTHEW 7:3

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye and not the log in your own?

Jesus reinforces his call to us to move away from condemnation with a picture. The famous log and speck analogy. We see others’ small faults clearly and miss our own major flaws. Jesus goes on to say, “you hypocrite take the board from your own eye first and then you’ll see clearly enough to remove the speck from your neighbor’s vision!” But is Jesus suggesting we are always hypocritical and must wait to criticize until we are perfect and see perfectly? No!

The log in our eye is condemnation. Kingdom righteousness is a matter of our hearts, and the condemning heart is far from the Kingdom! We cannot help others unless our hearts are right, freed from condemnation, that blinds us from truly seeing others and knowing how to help them. We cannot be helpful to the people of our lives, or know how to pray for them, unless we rid ourselves of condemnation.

Prayer

Great God, Clarify my vision, O Lord of my heart. Help me to recognize and resist the harsh and critical reactions that well up inside me. Thank you for everyone in my life that encourages and has encouraged me. Let me measure my words knowing their impact and wait to speak until I’ve sees how to help. Amen.

 

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