Do You See Me?



I wonder whether, when teachers of the law first signed up as young men to devote themselves to a life of service, they had warm hearts for God and others. Weren’t they in fact motivated by love? But over time something happened. All their learning about Scripture filled them with pride. All their efforts at obedience filled them with disdain for the less devout. All their giftedness filled them with impatience toward those who were weaker. All their spiritual power filled them with contempt for the weak. And they became as enslaved by a cold heart as an addict can become enslaved by crack cocaine.

“Sins of the spirit” have less to do with our biology than with our souls. They have names like pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, and judgmentalism. They are generally not as colorful as sins of the flesh. They don’t provoke nearly as much gossip—perhaps because gossip is itself a sin of the spirit. Rarely does a church exercise discipline over one of these sins. If you hear of a pastor having to leave a church for “moral reasons,” you can be pretty sure it’s not pride. Churches in our day are not usually scandalized by sins like arrogance or self-righteousness.

The New Testament tells a striking number of stories that involve the triad of a “sinner of the flesh,” a “sinner of the spirit,” and Jesus. There is the story of the Pharisee and the sinful woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, of the Pharisee and the tax collector, of the prodigal son and his older brother, and—yes of the religious leaders versus the woman caught in adultery.

In all these stories, the people guilty of the “sins of the flesh” knew they were in big trouble. They also saw Jesus as a person they could run to. They finally came home.
In all these stories, the people guilty of pride and arrogance were also blind. They thought it was possible to love God and despise people. They actually thought they were paragons of spiritual maturity because they avoided sins of the flesh. They had no idea that their sin crippled their ability to love—which makes sins of the spirit the most dangerous and destructive sins of all.

What is so insidious about the sins of the spirit is that the carriers don’t have a clue. At least with sins of the flesh, you find out you have messed up. With the sins of the spirit, you may not even know. You just walk through life with a stone in your hand:

  • Judgmental thoughts
  • A superior attitude
  • Impatient words
  • Bitter resentments
  • Little room for love

People stand around you—trembling in brokenness, guilt, fear, lost-ness—but you’re so caught up in your own self-righteousness you don’t even see them. Or worse yet, you see them and are not moved. You don’t even notice—you’re not in the life-saving business anymore.

Has the time you have walked with the Lord made you more obedient to his command to love God with all your heart… and your neighbor as yourself?

21 Life Lessons From the Book of Proverbs

Jesus’ helps us access God’s kingdom



God did not start to bring his kingdom, the “kingdom of the heavens” as Jesus often called it, into existence through Jesus’ presence on earth. All too frequently it is suggested that he did. But Jesus’ own gospel of the kingdom was not that the kingdom was about to come, or had recently come, into existence. If we attend to what he actually said, it becomes clear that his gospel concerned only the new accessibility of the kingdom to humanity through himself.

From The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God. Copyright © 1997 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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I Have Covered YouMy Bride,

I have covered you with my blood. I loved you with my life. I don’t see you the way you see yourself; that is why I paid the ultimate price for any and all things that you have ever done. You are my spotless and pure bride. Should you refuse to receive my forgiveness, my love, you are saying my death on the cross was not enough for you. When you ask forgiveness, I cast your sin in the sea of forgetfulness and remember it no more. Now dance with the joy of your salvation, My beauty, My bride. Because You are free!

Your Prince and Purity
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The punishment that brought us peace
was upon Him,and by His wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

Prayer to my Prince

You have given your life for my mistakes, and all you require in return is that I receive your gift of a new day and a new life. It is so hard to believe that all I have ever done wrong is lost in your sea of forgetfulness. How could you love me so immensely that you would cleanse my guilty stains with your blood? Help me truly accept your life-changing forgiveness. May I never look back at who I was again. May I walk the rest of my days as your pure princess bride.

Your bride who is forever forgiven
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
Whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those
Whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
Whose lives are lived in complete honesty! – Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.



The Payout for Patience

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

The story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50 is a great lesson in why we should have faith in the sovereign future grace of God.

Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, which must have tested his patience tremendously. But he is given a good job in Potiphar’s household. Then, when he is acting uprightly in the unplanned place of obedience, Potiphar’s wife lies about his integrity and has him thrown into prison — another great trial to his patience.

But again things turn for the better, and the prison-keeper gives him responsibility and respect. But just when he thinks he is about to get a reprieve from the Pharaoh’s cupbearer, whose dream he interpreted, the cupbearer forgets him for two more years.

Finally, the meaning of all these detours and delays becomes clear. Joseph says to his long-estranged brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. . . . As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Genesis 45:750:20).

What would have been the key to patience for Joseph during all those long years of exile and abuse? The answer is: faith in future grace — the sovereign grace of God to turn the unplanned place and the unplanned pace into the happiest ending imaginable.