Monday, June 13, 2011

SOAP Devotion: Romans 3

Ever have one of those mornings (or whenever you have your quiet devotional time) where you just can’t seem to focus on what you’re reading? As I asked the Lord what to read today, one verse kept running through my head…I couldn’t remember where it was exactly, but knew it was in Romans. I thought Romans 8, and read that…but that wasn’t it. So I looked up the verse and it was Romans 3…I had to struggle to stay focused this morning…perhaps it’s the Pharisee in me that didn’t want to hear truth today…

Today's reading is Romans 3

Scripture:  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Observation: There is no one above sin, not me or anyone else. I should not hold another to a higher standard than I hold for myself.

Application: It’s so easy to judge others. I know the Bible says, and unbelievers are quite quick to point out, “judge not, lest ye be judged”, but still, it’s human nature to point out the flaws in others while ignoring the same, and sometimes even worse, flaws in ourselves.  It is completely wrong to expect someone to live up to standards that we ourselves can’t…or won’t…live up to…and yet, we still do just that.

I try to keep in mind that God is working on everyone, not just me. Everyone in the world is in varying stages of the process of perfection…from completely raw material (the unbeliever) to an almost polished gem (a precious saint moments away from finally seeing glory).  What's harder to do, however, is to remember that I often struggle with the same sins and flaws as the person who’s character I am critiquing.

ALL have sinned…even me…and fall short of the glory of God…even me. If I can remember that, will it be easier to find grace for those in my life who are difficult to deal with? I struggle with that fine line between grace and enabling. It’s not always so clear. That is where I just simply must be able to hear the Father’s voice, directing me in what to say and do in order to best help a person.  Being too harsh isn’t any more helpful than being too lenient…there just has to be balance. God has to be in the equation to balance things out.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy…even though I sin and sin again. Help me to be able to show the same tender love, grace and mercy to others. Help me to not condemn another for a sin I also commit…help me to have compassion, to hear Your voice directing my words and actions. Help me to remember to allow You into the equation in order to find balance…for You cancel out the negatives in me and add the positives that are lacking. Thank You for what You have already done in my heart and mind toward those who have, in the past, been hurtful. Thank You for helping me see that You are diligently working in their lives too.


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