Psalm 139:1-6, 13-17, 23-24 (NLT) O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God. They cannot be numbered! Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Prayer: “Father, thank you for the ways you have shown the depths of your love and care over my life. ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! Search my heart and point out anything in me that offends you.’ Help me to stay walking closely in your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Romans 2:28-29 (NLT) – For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT) – And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
“The answer comes through the biblical echoes in verses 28 and 29. Paul is referring, not to any Gentile who happens to make a special moral effort, but to those who have God’s law written on their hearts by the Spirit…In line with the prophecies of Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, and for that matter with the explosive spiritual experience of all the early Christians, Paul believed that through Jesus the Messiah Israel’s God had renewed the covenant, and was now welcoming into that new family all those, irrespective of ethnic background and hence of outward badges like circumcision, who believed the gospel. He is here sketching in, very briefly, the much fuller picture of the Christian life, of the renewal of the heart by God’s Spirit.” [N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part 1, pp. 40-41]
Prayer: “Father, thank you that you have taken out the stony, stubborn heart and have given me a new, tender and responsive heart. Would you fill me with your Spirit that I bear fruit for your praise and your glory! In Jesus’ Name. Amen”
Romans 2:21-22 (NIV) – You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?
Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT) – “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Romans 3:23 (NIV) – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 2:4 (NIV) – Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
Like our Lord Jesus said, even if we look with lust, then the sin has already been committed. Whether it is the obvious/external sins or the “not so obvious”/internal sins, we need to see that sin is sin before the Lord, because “all have sinned.” It is when we recognize the old sinful ways for what they are, we can be rightly broken and really humble about our need for God and his forgiveness and know the riches of his kindness that leads us to repentance.
Let’s ask for the Spirit’s leading to humble brokenness about the old sinful ways and patterns that we need to confess before the Lord and for the riches of God’s kindness to lead us to repentance.
Romans 2:1-3 (MSG) – Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done. You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard?
Here is an example of how we can pridefully try to avoid or deflect God’s truth from piercing our hearts when it needs to. It doesn’t take much for us to relate to this. When specific areas of our lives is graciously being pointed out or when correction comes our way – what is often our first response – “why me?”, “but, ‘so and so’ does this and that”, “why aren’t they being corrected?”
When I get a speeding ticket, one of the first responses I have is to ask – “why didn’t the cop catch the other car that was going faster than me?” I avoid admitting, that of course, I was speeding too.
God sees right through our “smoke screens.”
Let’s pray for the humility to see what we need to see that is hindering in our lives before the Lord and to welcome God’s truth to pierce through in our hearts for greater transformation.
Let’s close in prayer with the song, “Inside Out” (Click here) by Hillsong.
Ephesians 4:20-24 (NLT) – But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
“So what Paul is urging the young Christians is that they allow this teaching of Jesus to have its full effect in their lives. Now that they are ‘in Christ,’ they have the responsibility, in the power of the Spirit, to take off the old lifestyle, the old way of being human, like someone stripping off a shabby and worn suit of clothing. It may have become comfortable. You may be used to it, and even quite like it. Familiar old clothes are often like that, and brand new ones often feel a bit strange. But if you want to live as a new person in and for the King, the old suit of clothes has to come off, and the new one has to go on.” [N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters, p. 52]
Let’s pray and ask for the Spirit’s help to see the old prideful ways that need to be taken off, to be renewed in our thoughts and attitudes and to put on the new in Christ.
Let’s close in worship to the song, “All Things New” (Click here) by Elevation Worship.