Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Jesus told us, “Do not judge,” and lately I’ve been writing a lot about that. First I shared the lesson of the copper pipe, a simple metaphor that suggests that each of us, in our flesh, is just a copper pipe. No one is different than anyone else. And we can’t change. But like any copper pipe, we can be changed. Hot water can run through us, and make us warm. Hot water is a simple metaphor for the Spirit of God. We can hit that hot water any time, and when the Spirit of God flows through us, judgment is replaced by encouragement, and understanding, and love.
“Do not judge.” That concept is so much easier for me to grasp when judgment is replaced by loving my neighbor. If you try to just “not judge,” you’re going to have a really difficult time. “Not judging” is so hard! It’s so much easier when you do something in its place, like listen and help.
I wish I could look in the mirror and say, “I don’t ever judge people.” But I still do it! I still judge people. I don’t like this about myself, but I still do it. I think sometimes we do it because a lot of us are cowards, at least in certain areas. We don’t want to go to somebody and talk to them about why we don’t like them, or what we think they’re doing wrong, or how they frustrate us. We just want to be able to feel that way without having to do anything about it. We want to just look at somebody and say, “This guy is driving me nuts. He’s doing all these things wrong and he’s an idiot.” You know? We’re happy enough to just think these things and walk away. The problem is, you’ve just judged that guy seven or eight times, and yet you still want to think you’re a good person.
Well, the reality is, I’m not a good person. And I strive to be a good person, but I’m not one unless Jesus is in me telling me, “This is how you can become a good person.”
We all have demons hidden inside our closet. We’re never going to get rid of them. If you try to live without Jesus, those demons are going to frustrate you. If you continue to live just for yourself, you’re going to fail yourself every day.
Life in Christ is a good way of life! Jesus is where we find joy! When I think about Jesus, I think, “This is where heaven is.” Jesus is where you are going to find your peace. Your struggles in life are not necessarily going to go away. But you’re going to find more peace in those struggles. When you have Jesus, you have something inside of you that’s different.
The happiness is the struggle. That’s why Paul said, “Hey man, I take joy in my trials and tribulations. You know, I lean on God during these times and this is where I find the ultimate peace. Because I’ve found Him. And in Christ, I can have all things. When I have the Spirit of God living in me, I have all things.”
I know that even though I’m going to mess up, and I’m going to have issues, and I’m going to struggle with my own problems, I have someone to turn to. Can I be that way for others, or am I too judgmental? More on that next time. See you Wednesday.