Romans: Day 4

The Spirit of the Law

by

Today's Text: Romans 2:17-29, Deuteronomy 7:25-26, Psalm 51:1-12

Scripture Reading: Romans 2:17-29, Deuteronomy 7:25-26, Psalm 51:1-12

In one of my seminary classes, we were to read Athanasius’ On the Incarnation, as well as— according to the syllabus—the book’s preface written by C.S. Lewis. Paying close attention to the syllabus (thought not that close), I read both the preface and the introduction.

A few weeks later, during his lecture, the professor pointed out that we technically didn’t have to read the book’s introduction, but he said if we’d been smart, we would have. He explained this had been his intention—even if the syllabus hadn’t spelled it out explicitly.

Was he assuming we were mind readers? Not really. He just had expectations.

At some point, we all give instructions—to colleagues, to children, to friends, to husbands—that may not be perfect or exact, but we hope the recipient will pick up on our intent, on the spirit of what we’re asking them to do. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Paul is giving a similar instruction here to the Jewish Christians in Rome. He is echoing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, asking Jesus’ followers to read deeper into the Law. Paul tells them it’s not about following the letter of the law. It’s about following the heart of the One who wrote it.

Paul’s laundry list of law-breaking activities in verses 21-23, reads similarly to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.
- Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus preached these words to some who knew the Law backwards and forwards, but He was holding up a magnifying glass to their hearts. They weren’t out murdering people—they were law-following Jews, after all—but what was going on in their hearts? Were they angry with their brother? Jesus said then they, too, are deserving of punishment. The spirit of the Law was broken, even if the exact rule was not.

Paul does the same for his readers. He questions their obedience to the Law, but then he reminds them it’s the posture of their hearts that matters most. These proud Jewish Christians came from a long heritage of trying to earn righteousness by following the Law. They too easily forgot that Jesus came to fulfill the Law for them, to make them righteous by simply believing in Him.

It’s not hard to see myself in the Jewish Christians of Rome, slipping back into trying to follow the rules rather than the One who wrote them. It’s easy to think my righteousness comes from  acting the right way, rather than from “the Way” Himself (John 14:6). But as the psalmist tells us, “would God not discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).

If I’m honest, what’s going on inside my heart is usually much uglier than how I act on the outside. Thankfully, Jesus came to wash me clean from the inside out. This is the beauty of the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit: to compel me to seek God’s heart first, and obey His law by the help of His Spirit.

  SRT-ROMANS-instagram4

Melanie Rainer is the director of content for JellyTelly, where she writes and edits family spiritual formation resources. She is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, a passionate home baker, and makes her always-messy home with her husband, Price, and their delightful daughter, Ellie, near historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee.

  • Sometimes I shock myself with my own selfishness while looking “ok” on the outside. I am grateful for a Father who has made a way for me to surrender the ugly in exchange for His pure heart.

  • Christina P.

    This has spoken to me so much with the many different things that I have been going through recently. Thank you God for showing me this today.

  • Danielle M.

    Wow. I’m so thankful for what Christ has done!!!

  • Brandy W

    Praying today for God to take my frustrations, resentment and all things ugly from my heart! I am always being asked to help take on responsibilities for my family, my work, my friends. I find myself helping but only because “it’s the right thing to do” i want to serve and help others with love not obligation! I am selfish and self righteous looking for a good job or something in return like it’s owed to me! Thank you Lord for this passage. Create in me a clean heart and renewed spirit so I don’t just follow the law but follow the maker of the law. In Jesus name! Amen

  • Christina

    I needed to hear this today. The scripture and the study to go along with it. For maybe the first time, I felt broken and humiliated enough to read this into my own life. Before, I’ve always pushed passages like this off to others proudly–and sinfully–thinking “that’s not me.” But it is. I am the one who says she keeps the law outwardly, but inwardly I’ve become ugly and proud. Thank you, Lord for breaking me down to become more like you.

  • Danya Ho

    Purge me hwith hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    zwash me, and I shall be iwhiter than snow.
    8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    jlet the bones kthat you have broken rejoice.
    9 lHide your face from my sins,
    and yblot out all my iniquities.
    10 mCreate in me a nclean heart, O God,
    and orenew a right2 spirit within me.
    11 pCast me not away from your presence,
    and take not qyour Holy Spirit from me.
    12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

  • This is for me. Today, God sought me and met me when I picked up the Word. Oh praise the one who paid my debt!

  • Kayla Smith

    This is amazing

  • Brittany Bauhs

    My sin is as abhorrent in God’s eyes as the worst killer. That is a constant reminder I – and I believe the Christian church and body – need to cling to. It’s our job to see our own secret sins and judge ourselves. It’s God’s job to see others and judge them. Our job is to encourage and love others. This reminds me that though I think I’m winning over others by being a rule follower, I am exactly the same as others.

  • Laura Humphreys

    I love how she said, “Jesus came to clean me inside and out.” I am not worthy of how awesome and powerful he is.

  • Thank God for the support of his spirit! I feel so blessed to always feel like I know the path God has for me. Some decisions are more difficult than others, but I never feel any regrets because I feel like God is always leading me the right way.

  • Sheryn Atkinson

    Due to my past and things that have happened to me, I have always been self depreciating and judgmental of myself. That alone is bad enough because God wants us to love ourselves as much as we love Him. But what is even more damaging to my spirit are the thoughts, judgements, feelings, and comments I have on a moment-by-moment basis about others. This study is doing a good job of clearing out the ‘log in my own eye’ so I can see my inner ‘secret’ sins that others don’t see. On the outside, I’m a fairly good person…but on the inside…I’m no better than the mass murderer who sits in prison. Numerous times a day I commit sin, so therefore I must ask for forgiveness numerous times a day. I am so thankful that we have a God who forgives us and who gives us GRACE as often as we need it!

    • Heather McDermott

      Amen! I’m right there with you on every count! You could have been writing the words of MY heart in your words! I’m so thankful for abounding Grace!

      • Debbie Ruvolo

        Sheryn, you again have said what I thought and just have a way of saying it much more eloquently. I am my biggest critic and a big perfectionist. I am with you on the thoughts, feelings that weigh on my heart. God knows the secrets of our hearts yet we think we can hide it, bury it, or cover it up. Today was a great reminder to look in the mirror and remember we all sin, need forgiveness and have the grace of God to get us through this adventure called life.

    • Melanie Bisson

      Yes!!

    • April Langley

      Yes, I feel the exact same way. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jody Heavenrich Hensley

    Oh, this day hits me like a brick to my heart. God, please cleanse me from the inside out.

  • No I’m not a murderer. I haven’t stolen anything. But if you could hear the thoughts in my heart! Waking up with your family in one hotel room will make you think some venomous thoughts toward the people you’re most called to love…that’s where I’m at today, ladies!

    Create in me a clean heart, oh God! Cleanse my mind from all the bitter thoughts, soften my heart to forgive people even when no trace of an apology exists! Help us all to remember that You, sovereign Lord, keep the score… Yours is the kingdom. Let us be kingdom people on earth, and let us always seek you first with our whole hearts.

  • What is inside your heart will flow out of your heart! I need and desire to fill my heart with the Lord and His words so that what comes out of me will point others to Him.

  • “This is the beauty of the cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit: to compel me to seek God’s heart first, and obey His law by the help of His Spirit.”

    Father help me seek you first, and you only!

  • “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
    – Psalm 51:10-12 ✝

    My heart seeks your heart, Dear Father God. ❤️

  • Kasey Summers

    Seek God’s heart FIRST!!! Then the obedience flows out of that!!!

  • Elizabeth Moersch

    Help us all Lord have a heart for the things of your heart ❤️

  • I almost never comment here but do often read what others write.

    As I read today I’m reminded of the other day when I repotted some of the plants I had last summer and kept over the winter. In particular, my mint plant. The central plant had died but there was new healthy looking growth around the edges of the pot. When i tipped it out to repot it I realized the whole pot was full of a snarled up tangled mess of old roots that were preventing the new shoots from having space to grow.

    Today’s reading has me tipping out my heart to expose the ugly, messy, old stuff, so that new healthy shoots can flourish.

    How sorry I am that I have held on to the ugly stuff.

    But how happy I am that God welcomes me back and has all I need for a new start.

    Love to you all, dear sisters. We are working towards new growth in Christ. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Elisabeth7291

      I love plant analogies. Thank you

    • Melissa

      What a great picture of our hearts! Thanks for sharing!

    • Vicki

      What a great analogy! I find it so amazing the petty thoughts that can creep up in your heart towards people you love. I always need to ask forgiveness daily. I also need to believe the good stuff over the bad. Father, help me hold those good thoughts in my heart longer. Allow them to linger so long that the bad judgmental thought can’t even get in!

  • “It’s not about following the letter of the Law. It’s about following the heart of the One who wrote it.” I feel like I am generally a good person but at times I definitely feel like I have an ugly heart. I judge people too harshly at times. Through my new journey with God I feel like my heart is healing. I am learning to follow His law. It’s so good to release the negativity from my heart. It’s so nice to just accept people and situations for what they are. I feel like I handle situations a lot better now. I still have a long ways to go but so far I am loving this walk with the Lord.

  • I’m just sitting her in awe of the conviction in these passages about hypocrisy and judgment. True circumcision can’t be seen in the flesh, further reinforcing that we are not the judges of people. We may be able to judge actions (and should), but we can’t judge whether a person has been saved, because we can’t see the heart of a person–that’s for the Holy Spirit.

    For months now, God has been ripping apart my pride and making me more humble. It’s a process, one that feels uncomfortable yet bears fruit that is almost unbelievable. I used to look at someone doing something wrong, and I used to judge them as a “piece of crap.” Wow, that’s pretty ugly. I now see wrongdoing and pray, despising the sin but also hopeful in the power of Jesus Christ to make them new.

    I always want to draw the line between forgivable and unforgivable sin…probably to make myself feel better about my own sin. I am confused by the fact that Jesus told His disciples they could choose to forgive or not forgive others, and that God would listen to them–can someone help me out here? Still, I now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, indicating that the only unforgivable sin is not believing in Christ. We all fall short, and we all need to repent and enter into God’s grace, every single moment of everyday. I’ve been finding myself turning to prayer far more, now that I’m starting to realize the depths of sin and our utter need for Jesus at all times.

  • Katherine

    The phrase from this devotion that stuck out to me most was, “it’s not about following the letter of the Law. It’s about following the heart of the One who wrote it.” I heard a very similar message a few years ago and the question, “How is your heart today?” From it Has stuck with me ever since. The other verse that I turn to to remind myself of this message is 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things… but rather what is inside the heart- the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

    Thanks for the reminder, SRT!

    • Annie

      The verse you shared from 1 Peter is so perfect for this study. Thank you for reminding us of it.

  • Lauren Williams

    I was having a discussion with my dad the other day about religion and how a particular religion seems to be occupied by a lot of rules and specific practices. My dad said he has always had the notion that although he is a Lutheran, he never wants a religion to come in between him and his relationship with God. I was thinking of that a lot during today’s study. We can not live by law alone. We all fall short of the commandments but through Jesus making our hearts clean we can have eternal life.

    • Jennifer

      “. My dad said he has always had the notion that although he is a Lutheran, he never wants a religion to come in between him and his relationship with God.” – So wise, and perfect. Really spoke to me this morning. Thank you for sharing.

  • So true, what is going on inside my heart is uglier than how I act on the outside. I’m so thankful I can come to Jesus and to be honest about my sin without fear. What a good God we serve.

  • Not sure if this is related, but I would love some insight on this. I have a friend who has an addiction to marijuana. She finds that it calms her and frees her from the anxiety she suffers from daily. She fears she will end up like her mother and have to put on medicine for the rest of her life. She hates that she has this addiction (especially since it is illegal) and prays daily, constantly to be freed from it but also fears what will her life will be like without it. She is a faithful Christian and loves her Father with every ounce of her being, so it kills her inside to be dealing with this. First, pleased lift my friend up in prayer. Second, any insight on this? Is this sinful? How can she be freed from this?

    • Kimone

      Firstly thank you for your bravery to share. Praying is the first step but we are also responsible to take necessary measures, like in her case remove the drug from her immediate surrounding and if possible stay away from the suppliers. Be deliberate about quitting. The fact tht she is convicted about it is a sign that she ought to give it up and trust God to sustain her. Pray for God to take away the desire for and the dependency on it. Pray for Him to take away her anxiety, He is able. We just gotta trust Him. As it relates to it being sinful, that’s not black and white in the Bible, i.e, do not smoke. But the Word does say, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, smoking does mess up your body, making it an “imperferct” sacrifice. We are also told that the body is the Spirit’s temple. So those things give an hint in my opinion.
      Keep praying for her as well and encourage her to step out in faith and trust God to heal her. Praying she will be delivered.
      Blessings.
      -Kimone

    • Annie

      I’m praying for your friend. I completely agree with the above poster about the importance of addressing this issue head-on and taking action steps toward conquering the sin in her life. Yes, it’s sin, because it’s harming her relationship with God. It’s sin because she knows it’s right to quit and yet is not, and it’s sin because she’s being convicted about it and continuing to do it–so it is something that isn’t rooted in faith. Additionally, if it’s not helping her steward her physical body, then I think that’s further evidence that it is indeed sin.

      We are more than conquerors, and that includes your friend. I have faith in God’s power to make her new and remove her addiction. I pray she does, also.

      • Blessed

        Kimone & Annie- thank you! This helps a ton and I will pass this along and continue to pray for her. God bless ❤️

    • Heather L

      I apologize if this comes across wrong…is she in a state where it is legal? There are medical uses for marijuana and I’m not going to go into anything more than that because it is highly controversial. I am on medications that are WAY more addictive and I wish I didn’t have to be on them…but I have a serious chronic illness. My particular illness is treated with marijuana in some places. (Note: I do not use it). I think that she needs to speak to her doctor. She is struggling with some hard stuff.

      • Blessed

        No, it is illegal where she lives. You’re right though, she should definitely speak with her doctor. I’m sorry you are going through such hard stuff as well. I will pray for you. Thank you. ❤️

        • Heather L

          Thank you friend. I hope your friend is able to find something that works. It is HARD and I don’t blame her for turning to something works. She’s on a tough road. I’m heatherlegge927 @ gmail if you want to talk more…

    • Courtney Renee

      If your friend is using it for her anxiety, I would think of it more as God providing her medicine. Why is it worse to take a God-given medicine than a man made one? What sense does that make other than pharmaceutical companies trying to use the Good Word to make money for themselves? God didn’t make this illegal; people with ulterior motives did.

      I would advise that all, with concerns on this subject, look upon the following verses: “And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth….” (Gen. 1:29). Per another person’s insight on the matter, “God does say that the eternal principle behind the biblical command not to be drunk (Eph 5:18) is that we are not to become intoxicated with anything that would deprive us of self-control and the ability to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit.” Therefore, as long as she is using it to heal herself and doesn’t lose control or lose her ability to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I dare to believe that it isn’t sinful.

      People have also used this next verse as means for keeping marijuana illegal, but in your friend’s case, I think it is a good argument to use/legalize it for medical purposes as well (Again, this is another’s insight on the matter): “We are commanded to be good stewards of all that God has put in our hands (Gen. 1:28), which includes our bodies. And we are furthermore instructed to glorify God in our body, which is not our own: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Cor 6:19-20)”

      Lastly, 1 Cor 10:31 says, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

      In all of this, I am not in any place to make laws or presumptions about God’s laws. Based on the Good Word, I would conclude that marijuana is not sinful if it is not used in a sinful manner.

  • I think this topic could be shared every day! It’s not about the law but about love and grace! It’s about relationship, not religion. I will never get sick of hearing this message.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Everyday my prayer is for the Lord to help me have a clean heart, it’s a struggle

  • God always knows exactly what I need to hear, praise Him! Romans was delivered at the perfect time in my life, it brings me to tears. God has opened my eyes and heart with this study, and although seeing into the depths of your own heart and soul is a tough pill to swallow, it is changing me for the better. Praying that Romans continues to change my heart, feeling so blessed and thankful for Jesus.

    • Annie

      Beautiful!! When our hearts are changed by Jesus Christ, it’s a beautiful kind of uncomfortable. The more humility we have, the more room for God’s grace to clean house in our hearts. It’s tough to walk through, but it’s also tender and sweet, unexpected and creative on God’s part, and just…beautiful.

  • I needed to be in the Word today. I need to be reoriented to Truth, everyday. Truth is a person, Truth is Jesus! I want to say to everyone struggling thus far with Romans, stay with it! Romans 8 is one of my favorite passages of scriptures, and we must hear the bad news about our state of sin before we can hear the amazing good news! I looked up some of the cross references in today’s passage (Thanks Biblia!)…The cross references to 2:24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (talking to God’s chosen people) resonate with a podcast I listened to this morning called Pass the Mic, from the Reformed African American Network. http://www.podasterynetwork.com/2017/06/06/n-words-radioactiveness/

    The cross references were from Ezekiel 36:20,23, and 2nd Peter 2:2. I don’t have much to say about it right now, just grief, over what some of my brothers and sisters go through.

  • two words. SO. GOOD.
    Thank you Lord for your rebuke that is so, so gentle.

  • Dear Sisters, Please pray for me and my church. There is a rift between my best friend’s family and the pastor. My heart is so sad. I know God is working in this situation. Please pray for everyone involved to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. May God work in my heart in this study of Romans. Thank you!

    • She Reads Truth

      Praying, Cynthia! Asking the Lord to reconcile and close this divide. So grateful for you!

      – Stormye

  • Whitney Wilson

    “Paul tells them it’s not about following the letter of the law. It’s about following the heart of the one who wrote it.” Holy wow. That is SO good – and so needed in my own heart and walk with Christ.

    Sometimes I get tripped up thinking about the Old Testament law. Is it ok that we no longer follow it? That it’s not the law I meditate on, as David and the patriarchs did? Did Jesus intend for it to be the “old” Testament to begin with since he said he did not come to abolish it or have we abandoned God’s intention?

    Then I remember Jesus “summing up” the law – that if we love God and love others, we have fulfilled it. Reading this today reminds me that it is because when we do those things, when we hit those marks, we do obey the law, because we obey the heart of the one who wrote it.

  • Diane Huntsman

    If I’m honest, what’s going on inside my heart is usually much uglier than how I act on the outside. Thankfully, Jesus came to wash me clean from the inside out.
    Amen to.every.single.word.

  • We can say all the right things but our actions tell the truth.

  • I recall when I was with a young family my mother telling me that she tried hard not to tell another mom how to parent because she would not want someone telling her how to parent. I have thought on this often throughout my life. As a teacher I am careful not to judge another teacher’s methods in their classroom telling them how they should do “it” because I don’t want someone telling me to change my approach. I believe this is a form of do not judge lest you be judged. However, I find myself judging often within my thoughts! Today as I am reflecting on this passage I am making the commitment to be mindful of my thoughts with as much ferocity as my actions.

    • Kandria Johnson

      I agree. I find myself doing the same thing as a teacher. I have to quickly check my thoughts.

  • Sonja Cox

    So thankful for Jesus! His blood that has washed away my sin! By God’s grace & mercy!!
    These verses truly open up the sin in us that so easily entangled us! Praise God! He has made away out of the death of sin! Romans 7:25

  • To guard and protect and nourish your heart is probably one of the most essential things a person should do. Good deeds mean nothing if your heart is filled with such poison. What can you offer when its being driven by anger, resentment, envy, etc? Your heart is what guides your actions, your emotions, and your thoughts. Every person is a reflection of what they hold inside and God sees through every facade. Don’t live your life allowing those weeds to grow inside. Let God pull every strand out one by one and discover a new life free of all those emotions holding you back!

    • funkybodunky

      Amen!

    • Kelsie

      I felt so convicted reading this. When you described good deeds meaning nothing if your heart is filled with poison, a name entered my head. What a hypocrite am I?! I pray that God takes this poison out of my heart. Who am I to cast judgment on people when my heart isn’t lining up with my actions? Thank you for the kind words!

  • “If I’m honest, what’s going on inside my heart is usually much uglier than how I act on the outside.” That hit me like a ton of bricks this morning, y’all. Just shy of a week into this study, I’ve been seeing some ugliness within myself that I do not like. At all. They are little things that other people probably don’t even notice, or maybe they do… but either way, it’s been tough to learn and realize these things about myself. I prayed at the beginning of this week for the Lord to open my eyes and my heart with this study of Romans, and boy did He ever. Praise Him for showing me the tough stuff and steering me back onto the right path, and praise Him for washing me clean from the inside out!

    • Wendy

      That line got me too mostly because it’s so true.

    • Nicoline

      Oh how I have felt the same way. God surely has opened my eyes to see my own sin. Praying for change in my ugly heart today. So needed this study to see the change I need to make in my own life. Thank you Lord for opening my eyes to see everyone your word and apply it to my life and she reads truth for eye opening studies.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this, Corrie! It is so moving to hear when the Lord is using His Word in the hearts of His beloved! So grateful for you!

      – Stormye

  • As a good, rule-following person, I fit right into that legalistic church I went to when I was a teenager. It’s wasn’t until I moved away, that I realized that looking good on the outside means nothing if my heart is full of “dead men’s bones and uncleanness.” (Matt 23:27)
    It’s been nearly 40 years since then, but Paul’s words remind me how easily I can be pulled back into that snare of doing and not trusting God and just being.
    Deuteronomy 7:26 really pierced me this morning. “Do not bring any detestable things into your house…” I wouldn’t bring filth into my home but I might easily allow garbage invade my heart. Disappointment, gossip, bitter thoughts, judgement, etc.
    Oh, sweet Spirit of God, convict me when this occurs and set me free to live and love with a heart like yours!

  • SBAppleby

    How amazing that we have a God who is gracious to us according to His faithful love and abundant compassion. That through our faith in Christ He has completely washed away our guilt and cleansed us from our sin. (Ps 25) Yet how often to I fall back to trying to rely on my own strength in living a life of obedience? How exhausting! Father thank You for Your grace and Your mercies which are new with the morning. Thank You for this reminder that I have been made clean by Christ’s work on the cross alone. Help me to seek after You and know Your heart and to rely on the Holy Spirit to live a life of worshipful and joyful obedience out of a thankfulness for what You have done.

    • SBAppleby

      Whoops correction Ps 51

    • Emily B.

      Your question of “how often do I fall back to trying to rely on my own strength in living a life of obedience” really hit me this morning. I do the same thing, honestly without realizing sometimes that I’ve taken control from God. I can only be truly obedient if I’m being led by and acting out of His Spirit. Thank you for sharing and encouraging me!

  • Something I’ve been learning lately is how to discern between what my heart is behind an issue and how I choose to act. For example, in buying these shoes or posting this post on Facebook, am I seeking self gratification or glory for myself? Am I wanting to put myself on a pedestal and find self worth in other’s opinions of what I’m projecting to the world? God has been good to reveal to me my own heart on these types of situations. I’m not perfect but am learning to discern and ask myself, what’s my heart behind this decision? This is a wonderful study to encourage self reflection. The Holy Spirit is faithful to lead us, but we do have to seek his guidance.

  • 8:21–23 reminded me of the truth that the faults we most criticize or detest in others tend to be the innermost faults of our own hearts. When something really, really bothers me in someone else’s behavior, it is almost always because their behavior is showing me how my OWN behavior is less than ideal. When I criticize my husband for being impatient with our three year old, for instance, it is often because I have been impatient myself. I love Paul’s insight into this…..

    • Ericka

      So true, Rosemary! I quote Romans 2:1 so often, that it’s pretty much my “life verse”. Taking a step back to examine why we’re bugged or judging someone else’s actions will almost always shed light that we practice what we’re judging!

  • JeniaMarie

    I was a leader at my church. I was on the worship team, ministry team and led a life group; but yet my heart was not in a good place because of offense. I had allowed bitterness and resentment against certain people and overall the church to rob me of the joy of serving. I was no different than the sinners I told to repent and turn to God as far as God himself was concerned. But I thank God for allowing me to see my heart. I had sense enough to step down from the worship team for a while and to take a break from ministry for a season. During that time God exposed the lies of the enemy. I myself repented, turned to God, and he healed my heart and cleansed me from my own self righteousness. Now I can stand and boldly declare the gospel with a clean heart that loves my neighbors. Now I can represent Christ.

    • She Reads Truth

      What a great testimony of the Lord’s kindness, JeniaMarie! Thank you for sharing!

      – Stormye

  • Sarah Joy

    Yesterday struck me as I know I can judge others harshly, and today brings it back around to my Pharisee tendencies. “Look at how I take my family to church.” But inside I’m fuming after the effort it took to get there, and I judge people who don’t go at all. “Look at me. Do you see how my life looks so put together from the outside? We are happily married with three kids and a dog.” But inside I’m impatient, unkind and self-centered.

    Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. To go through the motions if I refuse to allow You to change my heart. Change my heart, O God. Make me more like You. Give me the desire and humility to follow Your heart for the health of our relationship, not so I look good to others.

    • Sarah Joy

      *Its going through the motions…

    • Brandi

      Oh my. Yes. ❤️.

    • Karen

      Oh my Sarah Joy! I just had to chuckle because you described me perfectly. I am so grateful to have this study open my eyes to my real sin; and for a Savior who gives me hope!

    • Aimee

      Oh yes. And what really bothers me is that with my teenagers I am usually so angry at them by the time I get them there that I can’t even really worship the Lord myself. Sometimes I wonder if the effort to get them there is worth it since I am angry and they are also angry and none of us are in a place to worship or receive. Am I the only mom who deals with this?

    • Lindsay

      Your words spoke straight to me. My biggest struggle is my heart. Thank you for your honesty that has encouraged me as I continue to pray that both the words of my mouth AND the meditations of my heart would reflect Gods love.

  • churchmouse

    Someone who is found guilty of a crime but then gets off because of a technicality always leaves me shaking my head. Politicians who parse words and newscasters who seem to specialize in “spinning” the news also make me more than a little uneasy. They know they did wrong but there seems to be no justice. Outsiders see through their duplicity. Oh but I can be duplicitous too. In today’s verses Paul reminds me that Jesus is concerned not just with the letter of the law but the intent of my heart as well. And yes I’m sad to say that “what’s going on inside my heart is usually much uglier than how I act on the outside.” There are no secrets I can hide from the Lord. So today is a good day for me to ‘come clean ” before Him. It’s a good day to be honest and ‘ fess up. It’s high time for me to go under His magnifying glass. Because what I acknowledge I can then change with His help. I never want it said of me that the name of God was blasphemed among unbelievers because of me (Romans 2:24). May my outward actions reflect my inward attitudes and may they both be pure and honorable in His sight. Amen.

    • Emily

      “May my outward actions reflect my inward attitudes and may they both be pure and honorable in His sight. Amen.” Yes!! Praying the same prayer for myself this morning!

    • Susan

      Wise words this morning, churchmouse. Thanks so much for this comment. It’s right on target for me … and I like the way you put the solution – “what I acknowledge, I can then change with His help”. David’s psalm couldn’t be more perfect also, particularly those last six lines.

    • Jessi

      Amen!

    • Mary Walker

      I loved that. Thank you so much for sharing! A good reminder to come clean to the Lord this morning. I haven’t done that in a long time.

    • Mari

      Oh my goodness thank you for these wise words of encouragement. Day after day and night after night as I lay to sleep I reflect how ugly I was through out the day . I join you along with the rest of my sisters here. “May my outward actions reflect my inward attitudes and may they both be pure and honorable in His sight!”

Further Reading...