Text: Romans 3:9-20
Theme: Sin renders us–all of us–useless.
Key verses: “…all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, ‘No one is righteous–not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good not a single one. Their talk is foul…Their tongues are filled with lies” (v. 10-13a). “Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all” (v. 16-18). “…the law(‘s) purpose (is) to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are” (v. 19-20).
What God said to me: Dwayne, good morning. As your wife prayed yesterday during your prayer time together, beware you become comfortable now that you are in your new house and things are going easier for you. Don’t grow lax in meeting with me and praying and journaling often. Beware you fail to acknowledge me in all your ways, lest you become useless and anchorless and bewildered in your journey. There is a sin that easily entangles you. Ultimately it is the sin of unbelief, unbelief in my ways and my power and worthiness. But it manifests itself in you as lust and pride and acting out as though you think you deserve better. What do you deserve? Nothing. What have you received? Many good things by my hand, more than you know or could count. You read passages like this one and those about “wicked” people, and you assume they’re not referring to you. In one sense that is true, because you are my child and you are no longer under my wrath because of my Son’s sacrifice. However, if and when you choose to go your own way, if only for a day or an hour, then you too turn away from me. You too stop seeking me. What foolishness that is! You quickly descend into uselessness, misery and guilt. Only as you live under my control, to honor me and obey my commands, will you find peace and be kept in peace and safety. My law shows you exactly where you go astray. My Spirit convicts when you do. But only you in your mind and will can decide to die to your flesh and follow me in each and every decision and moment. What will you do today?
What I said to God: Thank You, holy and just God. You have again exposed my evil motives and my rebellious mind. I submit to You and choose by Your grace and power to only follow and obey You today. Even when no one is watching me may I honor You in both my thoughts and actions. I don’t want to become a useless vessel that you have to put on a shelf. I want to be pure, so I will be a special utensil for honorable use. I want my life to be clean and ready for the Master to use me for every good work. I pray that same thing for my boys and my wife and our NLW staff and team today.