March 19

We often hear people ask, “Who are you that you think you have the right to judge me?” I have seen believers bristle at the judgment from others on what they are doing, or what they are saying. While I do not enjoy people judging me, I know that if I am ever to become like Jesus Christ, I am going to need to judge myself. I am going to need to allow the Holy Spirit of God to do spiritual surgery on me to remove the tumors of bad habits, thoughts, and actions.

Please don’t misunderstand me … I don’t like it when my flaws are exposed for all to see. However, I realize that if God is ever going to conform me into the image of His Son, there needs to be some major changes in my life. It is interesting to me that the most spiritual people I have known in my lifetime, were also the most keenly aware of their spiritual deficiencies. Today I read a verse that has deeply impacted my heart. Peter wrote, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God” (I Peter 4:17)?

Peter wrote these words to first century Christians. These were people who would be threatened to renounce Christ or be burned at the stake, beheaded, thrown in a coliseum with lions, or crucified. Peter encouraged them to do some spiritual inventory. He mentioned the importance of this happening in the church. Within the family of God. We love to look outside the family of God today and criticize the world for acting worldly. Peter challenged his readers, and us to look within our own hearts, and within the church.

We need to continually do spiritual inventory. We need to do that to make sure that we are in a place where God can answer prayer. David wrote that if we regard iniquity in our heart, that the Lord will not hear us. I agree with him. How can we live with sin within us that we know is there, and expect God then to bless us with all that He wants to give us and do for us? We cannot expect that to happen. Peter’s challenge in this verse has always touched my heart deeply.

Why? Because I know who I am. I know that confessing sin is not a daily practice for me, but is often a minute by minute practice. I am not trying to fool you into thinking that I am some kind of spiritual giant writing these devotionals. I need the things I challenge you with, just as much as I hope you feel that you need them. Let’s get on our faces before God today and ask Him to clean as only He can clean a person. Then, let’s get up and go into the world and do the work He has called us to do!

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