You then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? (Romans 2:17-21)
It is easy to offer other people instruction; it is not so easy to instruct yourself. It is easy to criticize others for their faults; it is not so easy to deal with your own faults. We tend to point to the flaws in others to deflect attention from our own shortcomings, an inclination that has been encoded into our spiritual DNA since the dawn of creation. If you remember the story of the fall of Adam and Eve, when God asked Adam if he had eaten of the tree, he said, “The woman that you put here with me gave me some fruit, and I ate it.” Adam’s impulse was to blame the woman and even blame God before being honest about his own sin.
One of the first steps toward Christian maturity is to learn to deal with yourself. Think about the instructions given to passengers of an airliner before takeoff. “Remember to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.” This is good advice! God has given you stewardship over your soul and implanted his Spirit within you as a Counselor and Guide. You can indeed learn new habits and establish new patterns of living. Not that it is easy, but it is indeed doable. Only when you are progressing forward can you truly be qualified to help others do the same.
To find your present lesson, begin with a time of prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal what is next for you. Some lessons will take a day; others will take half a lifetime. But don’t worry, and don’t get discouraged. It is God who has redeemed you and begun this work of renovation. God is the project manager of your soul. Trust in his leadership and direction. Trust also in God’s timing and be patient with yourself as God is patient with you. And be encouraged! As you progress toward greater maturity, understand that you are being trained for a role in the eternal kingdom of God!
Lord, before I teach others, let me teach myself. Each day, help me to take a step forward toward greater maturity. Show me what my faults are, but also show me the progress I have made. Let my life progress toward a spiritual maturity that will be glorifying to you, a joy to me, and a blessing to the people with whom I share my life.