Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
“Don’t judge,” the Bible tells us. But we do it anyway. Since we aren’t going to stop we ought at least learn to do it right. Judging implies we know a person’s motives and feel we are better. That isn’t our place. However we are to evaluate others. As we minister to our sheep we must be constantly evaluating their spirituality so know how to best lead, counsel and teach them. What is a shepherd to look for in order to discern the health of his sheep?
First, there must be an open and complete confession of Christ (Romans 10:9). While some are more outspoken and others quite shy, each one should be able to explain their own faith and the reason for it. There must be, at some point, clear verbal expression that Jesus is their Savior and also their Lord.
A second sign is evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). We aren’t to judge but we can be fruit inspectors! No one is perfect. However there should be evidence of Christ-likeness developing over time. This should become visible in words as well as works. Their words should be more edifying and less critical and complaining (Ephesians 4:29). In the same way, there should be a difference in actions which reflects a heart of love within (James 2:14-17).
A third significant factor is a healthy spiritual appetite for learning the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15). Lack of an appetite is a sign of sickness, physically and spiritually. A spiritually healthy person has a hunger and thirst to know the Bible and learn more about God and His will for them. Knowing the Word will make a difference in the decisions they make (James 3:17) and how they face the difficulties life throws at them (James 1:2-4).
Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Romans 14:10, “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”
1 Corinthians 5:12, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”
- Before you work on the speck in someone else’s eye, check out the plank in your own by applying these three signs to your own life. How do you stack up in these areas?
- Who in your ministry comes to mind when you think of these signs? Thank God for them and ask Him to help you continue to minister to them.
- Think of some in your care who are struggling in one or more of these areas. Ask God to show you what you can do to help them. Listen silently as He speaks to you, then do what He says.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on November 15, 2009