Date: Thursday, February 6
Scripture: Romans 10:1-4
Verse: For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. (Romans 10:3)
Most would agree that human beings are born with a basic sense of right and wrong. We call that the conscience, that little voice inside of us that applauds us for letting the other car out from the side street, and condemns us when we have said a harsh word to a coworker. At times, though, we can come to rely too much on our conscience rather than the will of God for our lives.
In the 18th century, John Wesley was aware of this. In his sermon titled, “On Conscience” (1788). Describing what he calls a “hardened conscience,” Wesley writes:
If a person is doing something which the Scripture clearly forbids and you ask, “How do you dare to do this? the person answers with perfect unconcern, “Oh, my heart does not condemn me.” I reply, “It is a dreadful thing to be condemned by the Word of God, and yet not to be condemned by your own heart!” (Balzer 45)
In today’s passage, Paul calls it seeking to establish our own righteousness. You and I might call it justifying our behavior.
When we hear this, we might be quick to think of those other people and their behavior (some of the hot topic issues in the Christian community over the years). But when we are honest with ourselves, we know we do this very same things. We justify the harsh word because of what the coworker did to us. We excuse our shortcut/cheating because there is simply too much to do. We convince ourselves our selfish behavior is simply taking care of what is most important. We must check that though, because when we are relying on our own route to righteousness we stop seeking God’s.
Prayer: Teach me again, O God, to seek your righteousness. Amen.
Action: Check out your sense of right and wrong with God’s sense of it.
Respond: Is a sense of right and wrong and innate human trait? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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Balzer, Cary, and John Wesley. The Devotional Wesley: Inspirational Selections from John Wesley’s Sermons. Anderson, IN: Bristol House, 2009. Print.