by Mike Ratliff
Jesus’ command for His disciples to “judge not,” has caused much confusion. Some twist His words to say believers should never judge anyone at any time. However, as we have seen, our Lord was speaking of hypocrisy. In this study, I have endeavored to present a case for the only realistic cure for hypocrisy, which is humility. Christlikeness is unattainable for anyone who is not humble. The journey each believer takes in becoming humble is unique to him or her. However, each will consist of God-designed tests and trials whose purpose is to strengthen faith, destroy pride, and cultivate humility.
This maturing of the Christian heart is likened to the purification process a silversmith uses to refine silver. Raw silver ore is contaminated with impurities. New believers are contaminated with bad spiritual habits, besetting sins and fleshly desires. Just as the silver ore is heated to separate the pure silver from the dross, the crucible of tests and trials is God’s proving ground for His people. Each test and trial is allowed in believers’ lives to remove his or her reliance, dependence, and love of temporal things. As this process burns away self-focus and self-desire, a miracle of repentance takes place in the heart of those who abide in the midst of the pruning. This repentance replaces those distractions with devotion to God. This process continues throughout the physical life of each genuine believer.
The cultivation of humility and destruction of pride in our hearts produces fruit. This fruit is godliness or Christlikeness. The Christlike believer is not hypocritical. Jesus’ command to “judge not” gives us a measuring stick, if you will, that reveals to us how we are doing in our sanctification. If we are still struggling with gossip, bullying, or self-focus then we are still in need of purification. However, if we are experiencing newfound successes in these battles then we know that God is actually working his miracle of Repentance in our hearts.
This study’s purpose is both to provide a venue for the Holy Spirit to arouse conviction in believers as well as provide encouragement. I pray that as you read and meditated on the Biblical truths in each chapter that you surrendered more and more to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As this maturing unto Christlikeness takes place in the believer’s heart, hypocrisy diminishes as humility increases and pride is uprooted. The humble believer does not hypocritically judge because he or she compares self only to their prime example, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, hallowed by thy name. Oh Lord, be glorified in us. I pray right now that you will confirm Your truths from this study in the heart of the readers. I pray that these truths will be cultivated and grow to unimaginable levels of spirituality in their hearts. I pray that you will take these maturing believers deeper and farther on the way of the cross than they ever thought possible. All for Your Glory Lord—Amen!