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Warmth and Warning

Daily Reading: Romans 16

Scripture Focus: …by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:18b, 19)

Devotional Thought: Paul wrapped up his letter to the Romans with warm, personal greetings. In the midst of these encouraging expressions of affection, he issued a stark warning against those who “cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught,” (v. 17).

Paul’s advice is extremely helpful to all believers, both then and today. He warns to watch out for those who deceive the hearts of the naïve by smooth talk and flattery. Who are the naïve? Those who show a lack of wisdom or judgment. Paul goes on to state that he wants them to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil (v. 19). As believers, we want to be innocent and pure, but also on our guard against those who would deceive us and lead us into heresy.

What does this look like practically for us? Without the Spirit at work in our heart and lives, we do not possess spiritual discernment or wisdom. Left to our own devices and opinions, we will not be able to guard our hearts from deception. By the grace of God, he has promised wisdom to those who seek it. When we are adopted into the family of God, we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Through prayer and communication with him, we can know and discern the will of God, and be “wise as to what is good.”

To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!


Prayer: Thank you for not leaving us helpless! Without you, we can accomplish nothing and are sheep, easily led astray. With your Spirit, we can know you, love you, praise you, and obey you. Lord, give us the strength to reject evil and be wise as to what is good.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 22.12-19

12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— 17 I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

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