On a Sabbath morning, I found myself standing on my patio mentally criticizing someone. Then I was struck by a disappointing thought: I find it easy to criticize others, but I easily justify and excuse myself.
My discovery happened this way. I had built a rock garden that included a trickling waterfall. It took years to acquire the volcanic rock needed, years to assemble it, and years to plant everything--perhaps 10 years in all.
Actually, it will never be completely finished because I continue to add to it from time to time. I come across a rock, or a plant, and I can't help myself; I want to add it to the structure.
As I admired my work that morning, I thought about what Nebuchadnezzar had said in Daniel 4:30 Daniel 4:30The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?
American King James Version×, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built…by my mighty power…?” Obviously, pagan kings aren’t the only ones with proud thoughts! Then I remembered Solomon and after a little effort found Ecclesiastes 2:5-6 Ecclesiastes 2:5-6  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees:
American King James Version×, “I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove.” Again, I reflected on my work and thoughts and they truly scared me!
As I admired the flowers I had tucked into the nooks and crannies, I decided to take a moment to consider more seriously God’s creation. Originally, I had been thinking about what “I” had accomplished!
Why do we do this?
It is only human to take pride in our accomplishments, but that’s the problem. We shouldn’t really want to be human. We should want to be more like God, but that doesn’t come easily.
Like the Apostle Paul discovered, we have to keep our bodies under subjection to our minds, but our minds, which are also human, need to be kept in subjection to the Lord of Hosts (Romans 7:14-25 Romans 7:14-25  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the law that it is good.
 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.
 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
American King James Version×).
All these thoughts came in an instant, and the solution seemed pretty hard to do. I had wanted to turn on the little waterfall and enjoy the coolness of the Sabbath morning, but I was gently reintroduced to a recurring lesson: until Jesus Christ returns we must daily conquer the self and seek God.
In the end, I had forgotten whom I was initially criticizing. I had found another person to criticize—myself! Then my wife Suzanne told me the coffee was ready and I, somewhat more humbly, went inside the house.
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