Cleaning Up the Mess (July 16)

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July 16
Cleaning up the Mess

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 74:1-14 | 1 Chronicles 22:1 – 23:32 | Romans 3:9-31 | Proverbs 19:13-14

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 3:9 – 31

“There is no one righteous, not even one; [11] there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. [16] ruin and misery mark their ways, [17] and the way of peace they do not know” (Romans 3:10, 11, 16, 17 NIV)

Left to myself, I can make a mess faster than anyone I know. I can’t explain how or why, I just know it’s true. Put me in a room and it will show signs of my inherent messiness in short order.

Paul tells us that spiritually speaking the same is true of all of us. We all have a tendency to make a mess of our lives and everyone else’s. “Ruin and misery mark their ways” (16).

Until we see the mess we’re in, we don’t see our need for the remedy to our situation. We are blind to the ruin and misery caused by our sin. Not to mention the ruin and misery that follows us wherever we go.

How does he describe the mess we’re in? “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away and become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

God gave us the law, in part, to show us what a mess we’re in. He also wrote the requirements of the law on our hearts (conscience) and that is a pretty good reminder too (2:14-15).

Sin is messy. It messes up our lives and those around us. More importantly it messes up our relationship with God. It is a poison that does incredible damage and ruin. “Ruin and misery mark their ways.”

Because we’re all “a mess,” spiritually speaking, we need someone to clean us up and make us new. The law shows us how messy we are and points us to Jesus, the one who is able to deal with the sin in our hearts. He made a way for the sin and its consequences to be dealt with: the cross. As we turn from the mess we make because of our sin and turn to Him, confessing our sin and opening our heart to a relationship with Jesus, he comes to dwell in our heart and make us new. Sin and guilt are dealt with. We enter into a relationship characterized by faith and trust which brings life—life lived to the full (life as it was meant to be lived) now and in eternity (where it only gets better).

Then each day we open up the “mirror” of the word, to see the areas of our life where we are still a little messy. We allow him to make adjustments. This is the daily transformation that comes as Christ is formed in us through faith (James 1:19-25). Open your heart to Jesus today, and allow him to enter the “mess you’re in” and bring his transforming “glory.” As you do, you begin to look a little more like Jesus everyday (2 Cor. 3:18). That’s a makeover we all need every day.

Lord Jesus, I invite you into my heart. Renovate it and make it new. From that new place, that clean place, begin the work of transforming my heart in such a way that I look a little more like you everyday. Amen.

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About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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