Today’s Bible reading is Leviticus 15-16, Psalm 39, and Mark 11. Our devotional is from Mark 11.
Mark 11 records the beginning of the final week of Christ’s earthly life . Tradition states Christ’s “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem occurred on Sunday (Mark 11:1-11); however, there are many who believe it likely occurred on Monday. Christ’s cursing the fig tree that bore nothing but leaves and driving the money-changers out of the Temple are both recorded in Mark 11:12-21.
“Faith” and “Forgiveness” is the focus of our devotional and the subject of Mark 11:22-26.
Following a challenge on faith and prayer, Jesus admonished: “if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:26).
Forty years in ministry has taught me there are many believers who bear a spirit of bitterness in their souls. In fact, one of the most besetting sins in the 21stcentury church is an unwillingness to deal with offenses in a biblical manner motivated by love for God and love for others. Many allow bitterness to fester in their souls and, like cancer in the body, spread until family, friendships, and fellowships are spiritually, emotionally, and physically infected.
The writer of Hebrews warns the same: “Looking diligently [intently; be watching] lest any man fail of [fall short of] the grace [favor and blessing] of God; lest any root of bitterness [i.e. hatred or resentment] springing up [sprouting up] trouble you, and thereby many [i.e. perhaps the majority] be defiled [tainted; i.e. like one diseased]” (Hebrews 12:15).
Friend, have you lost your joy because bitterness festers in your soul? Do you harbor bitterness toward parents for what you perceive as slights of your youth? Are you a parent who struggles with forgiving a child who has disgraced your home with foolish, sinful actions? Have callous words and broken vows embittered your marriage? Have you allowed slights and offenses to embitter you toward fellow believers and pastors?
An unwillingness to forgive others is indicative of a soul who has not entered into the joy of God’s forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35).
“Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” is the LORD’s will (Ephesians 4:32) and when you grasp the magnitude of the sins God has forgiven you, you will find no reason to be unwilling to forgive others!
Harbor an unforgiving spirit and you do so at the sacrifice of joy and unanswered prayers.
Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith