And why do you look at the speck in you brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from you eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV)
It is easy to point out the flaws and sins in somebody else's life. Many times we use other's shortcomings to convince ourselves that we are not so bad. But we really do ourselves a disservice when we take this approach to life. Not only do we appear to be hypocrites and as such lose respectability, but also we deceive ourselves into accepting the subpar state of our lives.
Personal Example: My husband and I are in the process of buying our first house (pray for us). After searching for a while we fell in love with this beautiful four bedroom house. We were all ready to sign the papers and close quickly while interest rates were low, but as suggested we hired a home inspector to check out the property before we bought it. His final report informed us that the roof of our beautiful new house was in its last days. As disheartening as this news was, it gave us the opportunity to renegotiate our contract and confront the issue before it collapsed on our head.
Without that inspection, we would have unknowingly bought a house with a raggedy roof and been just as happy as can be. We would have been deceived into thinking everything was just fine, but in the midst of one of Mobile's finest storms, we would have been left soaking wet and upset.
Likewise, if we never take the time to examine ourselves, we will be willing to accept our own beautiful facade, and we will be completely unprepared for the next inevitable storm. It is essential that we learn the art of self examination; we can't fix what we don't know is broken.
Problems with remaining broken
1. The Lord can't use you: You can't share your testimony until you actually make it through the test. If you are going to forever be battling the same sin, your battle is in vain because you can't share your victory with others that are struggling. Also your attempts at intercessory prayer become almost pointless because you aren't allowing God to sanctify your life first. The bible says, "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16 (NIV)."
2. The Lord can't bless you: If you are trapped in a sin that you are unaware of and don't fix, you block your own blessings. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (1 Peter 3:12 NIV)."
3. You stunt your spiritual growth: I believe that if you are not moving forward spiritually, you are most likely moving backward. We should always be growing and maturing in Christ and we cannot do this without carefully examining ourselves first. A frustrated Paul says it like this, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:12-14 NIV)."
So today let's take a good look at our own lives. What sin have we been battling for a while now? Why are we still struggling with it? Is it because we have such little faith in God? Do we not believe that we are more than conquerors through Christ? Do we not believe that all things are possible with Him? Let's clean up our own lives first, then we can focus on changing the world.