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the lumber yard in my eye

June 24, 2008
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Over the last several months, I’ve had the great privilege of being involved in some excellent Bible studies. I just started a new one that I can already tell is going to be fantastic – No Other Gods, by Kelly Minter. It is a study on modern day idols, and it isn’t taking any time at all to draw me in. I was intrigued from day one. She quotes a definition of an idol by Richard Keyes:

Idolatry may not involve explicit denials of God’s existence or character. It may well come in the form of an overattachment to something that is, in itself, perfectly good…

When I read those words, though, I wasn’t convicted on any one point in my own life. What immediately came to mind was “wow, that is exactly what so-and-so is doing.” It occurred to me in that moment that I do the same thing almost every time there is some spiritual revelation in my life. When I learn something that has the potential of making a significant impact on my spiritual walk, my mind is immediately filled with all the other people who could benefit from this information. It is the devil’s handiwork at its best.

I have to stop and ask myself a few questions. Does God really have me involved in this study so that I can “help” others mature in their faith? Wouldn’t God be better able to make a difference in this person’s life without my judgmental advice? What am I missing in this truth for myself while I am focused on someone else? I remember the oft quoted Matthew 7:3-5,

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.

Okay, so maybe in my case it is more like a lumber yard than a single plank. As painful as it is to realize that I have fallen into this trap time and time again, I am relieved to be aware of it now. I can recognize those thoughts as soon as they enter my distractable little mind, and continue through this study searching for truths that can change my life, not someone elses.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 2, 2008 12:18 am

    I’m in a summer bible study and we’re doing this book. I’m only a week and a half into it. Eye opening.

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