Friday, August 23, 2013

Going My Way?

We spend a lot more time thinking about our failures than God does…. Quit memorizing who you used to be. – Bob Goff

We’ve all met people who regale us with proud stories from a past they say they’ve vacated.  You know the type.  They assure everyone they have a new focus in life, then joyfully share how much fun they had when they were living an ungodly lifestyle.

Then, we’ve met the person who accepted salvation, but can’t get past seeing themselves in their old sins.  Instead of latching onto the joy of salvation, the spiritual mirror they use reflects only their past.  So, they wallow in the guilt of their past actions.

Two interesting pictures, but neither depicts the reality of who we are in Christ.

In our post, earlier this week, and Wednesday’s video post, the emphasis was on hell.  When we live in our past, we focus on what will get us there, but not on what has already taken us away from those consequences.  That’s exactly how Satan would have it.  We keep our eyes on everything that can cause us misery and ignore the promises of God.  God, on the other hand, wants us to realize and see the things that will bless us.

Let’s look at some verses.

Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
We know that God is not a respecter of persons.  In context, that statement is to Jeremiah, but several verses prior indicate that Israel is included.  By extension, the application can be taken to include the church.  So, there’s an eternal love that draws us by God’s loving forbearance and mercy.  That’s echoed by:
John 3:16 (KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
His mercy removes the punishment of hell, once we accept that gift.  And there’s more.
Micah 7:19 (KJV)  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Psalm 103:12 (KJV)  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
That’s a really interesting combination of verses.  In the original Hebrew, Micah creates a word picture of our sins going so far down in the sea that even God can’t find them.  And God is the one tossing them away, intentionally.  Add Psalm 103:12 to that for another interesting image.  I believe God chose the wording very much intentionally.  If we go north or south, at some point we end up going in the opposite direction.  But, whether we go east or west, unless we consciously change direction, we will always be going in the same direction.  If we go east to get further away from our transgressions, we have to make a conscious decision to turn around in order to head back in the opposite direction.  That’s not a literal east and west, but the principle is important to remember.  In that context, consider this:
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Once we make a decision to accept the gift of salvation, our spiritual insides are changed.  It’s no longer just our flesh at work.  We now have a melding of Jesus and us.  God only sees His Son.  For Him, our past is gone, buried, out of sight, out of mind, completely forgotten.  Our spiritual sight still needs a lot of tuning up.  So, we are very aware of our ongoing shortcomings and some that we’ve left behind.  That verse shows us the spiritual reality of who we are, despite our misperceptions telling us otherwise.  Satan wants us to to live in our misperceptions and see ourselves connected to sin without God.  But he can’t take us away from God
John 10:28-29 (KJV)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Hebrews 13:5b (KJV)  for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Nothing is capable of stealing us from God and He chooses to stick with us.  When we revel in our past success at feeding one of our multitude of lusts and enjoying it, we are saying we’re still spiritually there.  If we get down in the dumps because we see so much of our sin nature in action (past or present), there may be an earthly reality, but  it’s really a spiritual mirage.  In both cases, God has already taken us to a whole new level.  And that’s where we need to live.  There’s one way to live, think and experience:
Lamentations 3:21-24 (KJV)  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
We spend a lot more time thinking about our failures than God does…. Quit memorizing who you used to be. – Bob Goff

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