As a child, I clearly remember a friend at school telling me that I should stop pointing my finger at her because three of my fingers were pointing back at me. I am pretty sure I was standing there with pigtails and a frowny face feeling like I was righting a wrong. I was a self-appointed police chief and supreme justice of the recess hour. I will confess that I was always quick to notice when someone got pushed down on the playground, but I failed to see that my righteous indignation was just as ugly.
Not much has changed, honestly. Sometimes I am standing in my kitchen with my finger wagging, and I will clearly hear the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Put down your finger and put on love.”
When I am more focused on the failings of others than I am on forgiveness, I am far from the heart of Jesus. Just like a Pharisee, I am missing the point. I am called to cover people with grace, not condemnation.
The message of Jesus to the Pharisees in Mark 7 matters, and I must apply it to my life. I need to crucify that modern-day Pharisee who lives in my heart. I don’t want to be a woman who points fingers and covers my sisters with shame. I want to point the hurting to Jesus who is our Help and Healer.
May I never forget that I am a sinner saved by grace. I need to deal with the huge plank in my own eye and stop pointing fingers.
Jesus communicated a clear message here: the inward attitude of my heart speaks louder than going through the motions. I may show up for church carrying my Bible and looking sanctified, but if I am creating a mental list of my personal complaints with my critical eye, my heart needs spiritual surgery.
To help myself remember the heart of the matter, I am focusing on four truths:
- Like the old hymn says, my heart is “prone to wander.” The human heart and mind are more deceitful than anything else (Jeremiah 17:9). I can’t trust my heart.
- I need to guard my heart attitude with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23). Rather than rely on my own understanding, I need to trust in the Lord with all my heart. If I acknowledge Him in all my ways, He has promised to make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Like David, I need to pray this confession often: “Create for me a pure heart, O God. Renew a resolute spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
- Daily, I am asking myself, “Who are you listening to?” I need to apply my heart to the wisdom found in God’s Word and give God my ear, not human reasoning (Proverbs 23:12).
The Pharisees were “experts in the law,” but I am praying for God to help me to be an expert in His love. May I see others through a lens of God’s grace and never forget that there is no condemnation for those who are forever covered by the blood of Jesus.
Lord, help me stop wagging my finger with a frown on my face. I want to be a woman who worships you wholeheartedly with all ten fingers pointing up to heaven.
Have you purchased The Gospel of Mark Bible study journal yet? Not only will you find all of the daily reading passages and SOAP journaling pages, but you’ll have each of the daily devotions in printed form–no need to check the app on your phone while working through your study!
Don’t forget, the Bridge Reading Plan is only available in the printed journals! The Bridge is a two-week long reading plan designed to bridge the gap between two studies. In The Gospel of Mark journal you’ll find the Bridge Reading Plan along with two weeks of SOAP journaling pages and daily Scripture reading! Don’t miss this! The Bridge reading plans will walk through the entire Book of Psalms during 2021. This plan is found only in the study journals, so grab one today! You don’t want to miss out!
When you purchase a journal, you are helping us reach women around the world with the gospel. By purchasing a journal you help our incredible team of volunteer translators build up leaders around the world. Your journal purchase allows women to read God’s Word in their native language and have access to quality Bible study materials in the language they best understand. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to make God’s Word accessible to women in every nation and in every language!
Order The Gospel of Mark and The Gospel of Mark for Kids journals here!