A Morning Prayer – July 13, 2008

This morning I am preaching on Matthew 7:1-5…

“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.”

Lord Jesus. How can I preach this message without addressing the plank that is my own eye? I find in myself a dual desire that operates at almost the same time. On one hand, I try to ignore the plank. To say that I am not that bad. To pretend that I am not hungry, I am not thirsty, I am not poor, I am not angry, I am not evil. I compare myself to others – I am not as bad as him, I am not as hungry as her.

I love being around broken people because they make me feel like I’m OK. And yet Lord Jesus…who am I to think such things. You called me not because I was beautiful, but because I was ugly. You called me not because I was well, but because I was sick. And the plank is proof that I still am. Why do I want to be the Physician? Why should I think that I am the Healer? Is it not because I desire Glory that is only due you? Is it because I want to cease feeling my need of you? Is it because I love to pretend that I do not need God?

On the other hand, I acknowledge the plank but I am idolatrously committed to removing it myself. I pretend that my sin is manageable. And so I try to discipline the plank out of my eye. I busy myself with moral game-playing comparing my righteousness with others. I bury myself in Christian busyness, in missions work, in service, in Bible Study, even in prayer. I hide myself within a fortress of theological rightness, totally committed to the discipline of removing my own plank. But isn’t this just another way of avoiding you. Like an angry wife who has decided upon an emotional divorce, I live in the house with my husband, but I will not let him touch me. I will take care of the kids. I will take care of myself. I will make the money. I will pay the bills. Why do I do this? Isn’t it just another way to deaden my heart? Isn’t it because I do not wish to feel my need of you? Isn’t because I love to pretend that I do not need God?

And so I come to you. Desperately I beg you, Jesus…remove the Plank from my eyes. Remove it today…and remove it again tomorrow. Help me to stop pretending that I do not need you. Help me to stop playing ‘doctor’ or ‘carpenter’ or ‘vinedresser’ or ‘counselor’ or ‘preacher’. Help me to admit that I am blind, and I need your vision. Help me to admit that I am sick and I need your salve. Help me to admit this day…

I need God. I desperately need God.

6 thoughts on “A Morning Prayer – July 13, 2008

  1. Hey Tim,

    Your prayer about “the plank” is good stuff. It is so easy to get life out of perspective. God changed my life through your faithfulness. I count myself blessed to have crossed your path in my high school years. Believe it or not, I am now a high school teacher. I left corporate america last year…trying my best to follow God’s call.

    Hit me back with a message if you get a chance.

    Bill Robinson


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