We have established a pattern in these studies that put into practice three different ways of reading, absorbing, and sharing God’s words.
- The graphing of information we have read helps us to tickle out the meaning and nuances of God’s messages to us. We have to ask questions of the text and search for the answers. This aids in learning and understanding.
- We find ourselves listening for God’s voice when we want to write the main thrust of the verses in our lives.
- Doodling or choosing a picture to illustrate the verses in order to explain it to another does two things: it deepens our understanding and super-glues the truths into our beings.
I was almost surprised that after studying the first half of this chapter I don’t feel like there is an axe waiting above my head, ready to fall any minute. The reason I don’t feel that way is due to the “joyful news,” the other part of the Gospel message that Jesus has already paid for my sins.
Here’s my graph of this paragraph in Paul’s letter.
|BASIS OF JUDGMENT||KNOWLEDGE VS ACTION||CONSCIENCE: RIGHT & WRONG||WHAT WORKS REVEAL||DAY OF JUDGMENT|
|commission of sin demands punishment (12)||knowing the law is different that obeying the law||all peoples have a standard of behavior that they expect others to hold to||acting in obedience to the Law, doing good works, confirms you belief of the truth||God has fixed the day of judgment (vs 16, Acts 17:31, & Matt 16:27)|
|God will judge every by the revelation they’ve been given & how they respond||these standards can & do often coincide with God’s Law||our obedient works echo God’s yes & no, right & wrong|
|we all violate our consciences (built-in standards of right-wrong) & try to justify our actions|
|our consciences can be unreliable & need to be informed by God’s unchanging standard|
What does this letter of Paul point to in my life? How can I apply these words in my life?
My first questions to myself were: How much light have I received? Do I know more about God and His will and purpose for me than I did 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, last week ago? If this is true—and I pray that it is—how is this knowledge and relationship reflected in what I think, say, and do? If my knowledge is not reflected in my actions, what kind of judgment will I face when I stand before God?
Pushing further into these verses, I began to wonder how much conscience has been affected by the society around me. Does my conscience—the prickling of right and wrong—line up with what the Holy Spirit speaks to me? What have I taken in that makes my conscience unreliable? Where do I need to open my secrets up to God’s revealing light?
My Bible Doodle today is a request I am making of God: Pour beams of light into all of me. Illuminate all the dark places where I have hidden secret parts of me I haven’t wanted to offer as a sacrifice to you.