Journal Ro 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.
Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known….
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Ro 3:10-18
Observation: It is too easy to read these verses and think of other people. It is much, much more difficult to understand this is referring to the face in the mirror…
Analysis: I engaged in an exercise a number of years ago. It was personalizing the Scriptures, replacing the 2nd/3rd person pronouns of “all, they, their, we, etc. with 1st person, like I, me, mine, etc.
How different does the Scriptures read doing that?
“I am not righteous, no, not at all; I don’t understand; I don’t seek for God…My throat is an open grave; I use my tongue to deceive…My mouth is full of curses and bitterness…There is no fear of God in my eyes…”
Knocks any image of righteousness right off my personal pedestal.
As much as I pursue God, this is always bouncing around in my mind. I pursue God as a function of the Holy Spirit given in Grace. I cannot seek, pursue, find, fear, love, without the power of the Spirit. And what fights against it? My indwelling sin.
Everyone feels the conflict. Everyone.
For the past number of days, I have been gripped by a spirit of bitterness. Doesn’t matter what it is about, it is still bitterness—and I physically feel it. It is a heaviness in my being, clouds my vision, clinches my jaw, and grinds my teeth.
There is no bitterness that is righteous, and no one is responsible to deal with my bitterness except myself, the face in the mirror, and that before the Cross. I might need to be pointed to the Cross and the Throne of Grace…
Because I am confronted with my indwelling Sin every day, it means I have to go to the Cross everyday and become increasingly dependent on the Grace that is found in Jesus Christ every day, every moment.
Prayer: Forgive me, O Lord, for the bitterness I am experiencing. It does not honor you at all. Help me to lay this down at the Cross; increase my utter disdain of my sin. Help me to seek peace.