Thursday, July 23, 2020

Clean Slate, New Choices

Thursday, July 23, 2020
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…  Romans 8:3-6

Clean Slate, New Choices

With all that has happened this year, I think I can safely say that we look at just about everything through a different lens. Some things that seemed so big before, pale in comparison to the things we really deem important. Of course, going through a crisis usually makes us take a second look at what really matters.

With everything being shut down, now twice, we have had some opportunity for do-overs, starting over, re-grouping. It seems like we are about to get another go at it. Trying to get back into the swing of things – again – gives us the opportunity to make some different choices. Life is about choices and our choices make us who we are. Those are some strong words if you stop and really think about it. 
When we make wrong choices in life, we often have consequences to pay.  So, what is the big deal?

The biggest deal of course is that God knows and is hurting for every wrong choice we make, even if we are the only ones who know the difference.  But there is someone else who knows too and that is you.  The weight of guilt can be unbearable when we are participating in something we know is not right.  Nothing feels better than the release of being free from the shackles of a sinful situation.  God does not want us to carry around the weight of our sin when we have asked forgiveness.  He also wants us to learn from our mistakes and not make the same wrong choices repeatedly. We have all made choices we wished we had not made, and we regret. Our wrong choices do not have to define us for the rest of our lives. It is true that our choices make us who we are, but that also means that our wrong choices help us grow, not bury us in shame. 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Ephesians 6:10  

God and God alone can give us the strength to overcome the strongholds of sin in our lives.  Outside influences, even other Christians, may try to make you believe that what you are doing is no big deal, that you deserve to be happy and they may even tell you that God wants you to be happy too. They may try to make you believe that because no one else is hurt, no wrong is done.  Listen to what the Spirit of God is telling you.  You know the truth about your situation.  You know if you are disobeying God.  You know right from wrong and until you admit it, it will drive you crazy.  You are the one that has to live with this consequence.  You are the one that feels the pain inside of knowing your actions would hurt someone else if they knew.  You are the one that has to live with the knowledge that you are making the choice to disobey God and His law.  You have to make the decision to keep going or stop.  Regardless of what anyone else tells you, your decision should be based on what you need to do for your own personal relationship with God.   Can you go on like this?  For how long?

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  James 4:7-8

It is no fun to carry around the burden of sin in our hearts.  You don’t have to.  Make the choice to not sin before it happens.  Stand up against the influences with the strength God gives you.  While we are making so many new starts this year, take this opportunity to make new choices. Make the decision to live with no regrets today.

…and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness.  2Corinthians 12:9

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