DEVOTIONAL PAGE - "Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).


Archived Devotionals

November 18, 2019

 

"All Rise!"

My Dear Friend,

     "ALL RISE, this court is now in session, the honorable Judge [fill in your name] presiding." It would be fitting if God ordered angels to announce this audibly in our hearing every morning as we rise to greet the day.

     Contrary to what our Master taught us, and the very spirit of His heart and life, it seems we born-again Christians feel qualified, voted in, gifted, or perhaps even divinely called to be God's jurists.

     Once saved by grace we proceed to ungraciously judge - examine, criticize, make recommendations, and condemn - every other living, breathing soul on planet earth. Except ourselves.

     The witnesses in the courtroom of our mind are at best of questionable credibility, yet we accept their testimony as fact daily, sometimes hourly, and enter it into evidence. One by one these speakers take the stand of our heart: Outward Appearances; Snap Judgments; Envious sniping; Imaginations; Assumptions of the worst; Hearsay; and Rumors. Oh, and one more, the "accuser of our brethren" (Revelation 12:10). Oddly, these witnesses always seem to speak for the prosecution, never the accused, who seems to have no witnesses to speak for himself (or herself) at all.

     After mulling the evidence presented by our dubious witnesses, we render our decision: guilty! Down goes the gavel, and we issue and promptly execute our sentences against the guilty parties! Some common sentences carried out by the State of Our Pride are: avoidance; hard looks; gossip; slander; disrespect; mockery; ostracism from social events; withdrawal of fellowship; or open adversarial actions. Thus, the individuals typically coming before the court of our observation too often get the wrong end of justice. And no mercy. But, we tell ourselves, the evidence proves they deserve it.

     Jesus' justice, however, is quite different: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous [fair, patient, thorough, merciful, the kind you would want] judgment" (John 7:24). Hmm, it seems this is one Bible text we overlooked before entering our long and undistinguished judicial career. Nevertheless, our court remains in session 24-7 passing callous judgments on whomever we meet, including our fellow Christians. Ministers, also, receive our prosecution.

     Yet Jesus seemed to think the only subject falling properly within our jurisdiction is the one we ignore: ourself! Yes, there is a clear, simple solution to this problem. But it demands that we change.

     That crucial reversal of viewpoint begins when we re-read Matthew 7:1-5 slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully. If we understand what our Lord is saying - and it is too clear to misunderstand! - we will promptly shut down our court. And padlock its doors for safekeeping. Or better, tear down our courthouse!

     Then we can build a new courthouse and courtroom in which we can get down to the real Christ-honoring, life-changing, humility-inducing, relationship-healing, Spirit-releasing, holiness-growing, character-building work of examining ourselves! Paul urged us to build this courthouse: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Corinthians 13:5); or, "Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith" (NCV). He promised that whoever complies will not be harshly judged at Christ's Judgment Seat: "But let a man examine himself...for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31).

     This new court of self-examination should remain in session every waking hour. We should keep our own spiritual life, thoughts, words, acts, and reactions under the baldly-honest-yet-redemptive review of our grace-enlightened, Scripture-guided, Spirit-filled conscience.

     This divinely authorized judicial review should continue with the same constancy as that of our former court. Every day. Every circumstance. Taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Quickly confessing our sins whenever they occur. Freely receiving forgiveness and restoration by Christ's blood (1 John 1:9). And humbly and quickly turning back to our Chief Jurist's straight and narrow way of life. How long? Until He appears to take us home!

     And all those other judicial subjects? We may safely leave them to the Holy Spirit's superbly fair, omniscient review.

     "ALL RISE, this court is now adjourned."

Occupying my new court,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261
1-336-882-1645