8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 16:37–18:17
Romans 2:1-24
Psalm 10:16-18
Proverbs 19:8-9

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Romans 2:1-4 (NLT): “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”

Reflections from Scripture:

As I read Romans 2:1-4, two thoughts come to mind: 1) we often don’t realize how sinful our hearts really are, and 2) we think we can fix our own sin problems.

First, we are often blind to our own sin problems. Sometimes, things like a proud heart or a bitter spirit can be visible to just about everyone except ourselves. We often cannot objectively see how jealous we are, or vengeful, or selfish, or any number of other sins.

However, I have noticed that when I tend to find it easy to be critical of other’s sins, I need to do some introspection. Subconsciously, I tend to judge other people more quickly when I want to deflect away from my own personal sin.

Second, we tend to think that we can deal with our own sin problems. We believe that we can muster enough discipline to take control of an area of our life that has been overcome by disobedience to the Lord. 

Yet, this is utterly futile. If we do our own fighting, we will tend to only deal with the surface sins and not the roots (heart attitudes). Further, it will end in frustration because other sins will sprout where one sin was eradicated.

So, what is the answer? How can we be consciously aware of our own sin, feel its weight, and work to eradicate it in our lives? The answer is Jesus! The more we spend time listening to Jesus (studying our Bibles) and speaking with Him (praying), He will reveal sinful areas of our life that need to go. He may even bring people or circumstances into our life to bring attention to those sins. But, then, He will come alongside us to empower and complete the work of making us holy as we do our part and work to kill sin in our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).

Romans 7:24-25 (NLT): “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” 

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, there are far too many Christians who say that they have received the gift of eternal life but are living for themselves. I know all too well that I see this tendency in my own life. Lord, help me realize that I don’t belong to myself anymore – I belong to You. Work through me to expose sin in my life. Remind me that I am entirely unable to fix my own sin problem without You. So, as I work to kill sin in my life, I rely upon You to empower and complete the work of making me more like You. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Junior REIS on Unsplash