Jesus advises his followers, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 NLT
I have given this counsel great valuation as to when and how I should share the Gospel. How many times has someone, who declares a belief or cause, been found to be a hypocrite?
This is unfortunately very common and probably more so than you may be aware. This was the case with me. It takes time to settle into the life of Christ because our lives are so contrary to God’s ways that we can’t even see past the log in our own eye. Many times we can recite truth, but be blind to the fact that we don’t live the truth we so adamantly preach.
Jesus, speaking of the religious leaders of the day, said, “So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach.” Matthew 23:3 NLT
This isn’t just a problem that religious leaders had in that day. “Blind guides” is what Jesus calls them! Along my journey, I’ve wanted to share with others what I had learned in the moment, but found myself early on like this blind guide because my time had not yet come.
There comes a turning point in ones life along the straight and narrow path, where you leave the world behind and truly start living the life Jesus would have of you. Basically you (God's Spirit Within You) has removed the log from your eye and can now see a bigger picture. You can see it because you live it and not just preach it. Being learned of scripture and the way is completely different than knowing and living it. This was the problem with the religious leaders in his day and the same is true today with our religious leaders. They go to seminary and learn the scriptures and are so close with their lips, but their hearts are yet so far away. Those who truly understand God and live as Jesus did are able to deal with the speck in their friends eye because the log has already been removed from theirs.
You will always be a disciple (“learner”) because the Spirit is constantly teaching you. However, if you continue in his ways, the Spirit will bring you to a point where discipleship turns to apostleship (which means “teaching”). In this, you can fulfill this commandment of Jesus: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19 & 20 NLT
When you become a missionary (“apostle”) you are expected to grow good fruits. There are many things that have to be in harmony for this to happen which is why it is so important that you are taught by the spirit and walk by the spirit. You must be the fertile soil, as Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13:8, to produce a crop that is thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! You must also realize that our only real and true teacher is Jesus himself and that He can live in you as the Father lives in Him. He lives in his children through the spirit. The spirit is our true teacher and must teach us all things, otherwise they are only the teachings and understandings of men, which, while they may be close in words, will never bring forth the pure understanding and heart that is required to enter the Kingdom.
Only The Holy Spirit and generate the fertile soil from which good fruit comes. The words and works of man do not produce the fertile soil required to bring forth good fruit. There is an overwhelming abundance of bad fruit out in the world! Please don’t become this bad fruit, which in return seeds, sprouts, and grows into a bad tree that also produces bad fruit. Jesus is calling you! Jesus is calling many, but will you become one of the few who are chosen? I plead with you to really get to know Jesus! Read his words and pray. If you truly hunger and thirst after righteousness you will receive. Jesus is real! His spirit is real!
You can know all things and I assure you that seminary or bible college will not get you there! They produce many religious hypocrites we find today. Only the spirit can produce a true disciple, apostle, or missionary of Christ! Only the spirit can lead you along the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life! Walk that path with the Spirit of Christ and become fruitful.
With love and the good news of Christ, I desire nothing more than God’s will on earth as it is in Heaven.
Joseph R. Stansel