The Fine Art of Failure: Week 3 - Day 2

Opening Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, refresh in me the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I especially need kindness and self-control in my conversations.

 

Read: Matthew 7:3-5 NIV

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 

Reflect: 

As an individual, it’s easier to control my critical spirit when I’m alone, but in groups it’s easy to join the conversation and become critical of others.  Prayer sessions are ripe for this to happen.  We really care for the individual, but with a critical spirit we may self-righteously point out failings in another.  We need to pray about it.  It is always easier in a Bible study to apply the criticism to others and not look at ourselves.  I’m normally a positive person, but I had to stop going to the break room at work because I found myself joining the conversation and getting more and more critical of others.  These are all breeding grounds for negative, critical thought.  What do we do about it?

 Self-evaluation is a difficult thing for me to do.  I have found that to avoid the critical spirit and be able to measure myself I need a plumb line to use as a measure. Philippians 4:8-9 provides that check list:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)

 Paul says we are to think on these things and we will have “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) In addition to avoiding the situations that feed my critical spirit, having this as my measure is the main way that I can control my critical spirit.

 

Apply:  

This week when you begin to have the critical spirit and want to evaluate someone else’s behavior think on these things.  Are your thoughts noble, pure, true, lovely, and admirable?

 

 Closing Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, lead me to be humble and not a critical hypocrite of others.

Terry Schneider