1997-02-06 - The Past
The enemy has many weapons, but none so potent as the things that we ourselves have done. Our memories remember most vividly the extremes, victory or defeat. Paul pointed out that in a race, all compete but only one wins. This means that everyone else lost. Perhaps they only lost by degree taking second or third, which is in itself an accomplishment. But there is still only one victor.
As Christians, we recognize that we live a new life. It may not be fully manifest in us, but it is there. Our lives are being changed day by day. This also means that there is a time before hand for many of us when we lived without Jesus. I was not introduced to Jesus Christ until I was seventeen. Up until that time I have lived by the rules of my parents. I had been a pretty good kid. But certainly not perfect. There were incidents then that I am not proud of now. Even more poignant in my mind are the times after Jesus saved me when I was disobedient and rebellious. The enemy can take these and beat you with them.
1 Pet 5:8 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (NAS)
The adversary of our souls, as Christians, has no love lost for us, takes no coffee breaks, and only plans by the rules that God inflicts upon him. However, take heart. The word devour can also be translated 'drink down'. The lion has no teeth. He roars and parades about. But he is ultimately defeated.
What does God think of my times of disobedience? Does He wink at them? Are they totally gone? There will be a second judgment where He will preside and we will be given rewards according to our deeds. So, there will be a time of accountability to Him, and consequences. But I have two other thoughts. These sins do not defeat us. We are already considered to be glorified in Heaven by God. As I said last week, we changed camps.
Heb 10:10-18 - By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and upon their mind I will write them," He then says, 17 "And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (NAS)
Our sins, past, present and future have been 'taken away'. Gone forever. Never again to be seen by the eyes of the Father. Jesus covered them in the sacrifice of His blood. We are washed clean by it and His mercy and grace. We do not get them back if we don't toe the mark. But that should make us love Him all the more and want to follow His instructions to us. They are for our own benefit.
The second thing that I have seen in my life is that God can take these lumps of coal in my life and crush them into diamonds. They become priceless reminders of His forgiveness and love.
John 10:27-29 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (NAS)
I believe that no one includes even me. As reminders of His love, the are also examples of His love and kindness that we can show to others. For example, someone who has suffered a divorce knows better than anyone, what someone else going through on is going through. It is not God's best plan for anyone. But, it does happen. These people are wounded, hurting and bleeding inside.
Matt 10:42 - "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward." (NAS)
To someone who is truly thirsty a cup of cold water is precious. God will not fail to note a kindness, regardless of how small, or who else sees it. He sees it, and the person receiving it surely does. A person who has suffered a divorce can go to this person and relate on a level that someone who has not been there can relate. They are suddenly not alone anymore and they have someone to lean on, share their pain and help them.
Some folks think when they have suffered a defeat or fell in sin, that God is finished with them and will place them up on the shelf.
Rom 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (NAS)
If you have been up on the shelf, come on down.
Lord Jesus, thank you for Your forgiveness. It is deeper than our finite minds will understand. It is stronger than we can know. Help us to give you our broken dreams, wounded hearts, failures and sins so that You may hand them back as diamonds that shine into the darkness. As the gems reflect Your light, the will be beacons leading a lost and dying world home to You. Help us to live for others, as we live for You. Amen.