Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 5, 2017
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Romans 8:12-13
This morning I curled up in a chair on our back porch to watch the birds in our yard, and to read Paul David Tripp’s devotional, “New Morning Mercies.” In the devotional, Tripp writes something that grabbed my attention: “Sin is a matter of the heart before it’s ever an issue of behavior. This means that your and my biggest problem in life exists inside us, not outside of us. It’s the evil inside me that connects me to the evil outside me. So, I must confess that I am my greatest problem.”
As I considered Tripp’s words, I thought about how many challenges in life I could avoid if I didn’t struggle with a sinful heart. And then I considered the blessings that would be mine if I always lived in the reality that I do have a sinful heart. I know thinking this way may sound like a bummer, but it’s really not. You see, something amazing happens when we admit that the problems outside us may exist because of the sin problem inside us: We are liberated from being controlled by our environment. We are no longer victims but victors because it’s only then that we possess the humility necessary to cooperate with God for good change. And not only that, but we are also less prone to always being tripped up by our own repetitive destructive patterns that steal the life God wants to give us.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
For example, if I am often in a state of conflict with others, and I live in the awareness of my sin nature and sinful heart, when conflict happens my first response won’t be to blame others; my first response will be to understand the truth of what happened in the conflict, to peacefully seek reconciliation, and to discover my blind spots. And even during those times when conflict isn’t a result of my sin, beginning with myself is always a good place to start to move toward God-centered relationships.
There is power in admitting we are innately sinful when we also acknowledge that we have a God who is standing with us to help us change. Humility is the gift that creates fertile ground for transformation and freedom!
Of course, just as it would be wrong to admit that nothing is my fault, it would be wrong to admit that everything that goes wrong in my life is my fault. The point is, however, that freedom happens when we live with the awareness that we are sinful and that the biggest problem we have in life is ourselves and our own hearts. It’s only then that we can cooperate with God for good change, and he can empower us to do His will. And that’s great news!
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17)!
PrayerLord, I praise you that as I admit that my heart is sinful and I acknowledge that you give me your grace to change, I can experience transformation and new life! Thank you, Lord!
ApplicationReread today’s devotional and write down one phrase that grabbed your attention and place it on a notecard to reread each day this week.
Related Reading1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 8:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22
Post/Tweet todayHumility is the gift that creates fertile ground for transformation. #WisdomHunters #PersonalTransformation
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