Sunday, December 31, 2017

Skip the Regrets and Forge Forward in Faith in 2018

"What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?  Job 15:14

I am but a silly sheep in the great I AM 's  overflowing pasture, and I lose my way all the time. He rescues me daily from my own bad decisions and keeps me in life. (Psalm 66:9) Yet the Bible says I am pure if I am washed in the blood of the Lamb. I am without spot and blameless. I share in Christ's very righteousness.

"Yes, but....!" I've said in my heart a million times. My own heart wants to readily condemn me. The voice in my heart demands to be heard. Yet God is far greater than that voice...
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. I John 3:21

 At certain times, like at night when I toss and turn, the thoughts of what I should have done and could have done come back to nip at my conscience. Finally, I am able to put the day into the wastebasket and He gives me rest.

The trouble is I know what is in my heart. I know that I fall short of God's righteous requirements. And Jesus does too.He knows I can never clean up the mess within my own heart. But somehow He still loves me, not because of anything desirable in me, but because of who and what He is. There is nothing in Him less than absolute love and perfection. He knows that if I spent the next billion years trying in my flesh to be like Him I would never produce even one good thing.

So He waits. He wants only for me to trust Him. He alone will produce anything good that comes from me by His grace. After all these years of walking with the Lord, I  only see more of my failures. That's a good thing, though. It's good to be weakened, to be reminded that I am only made of dust, so that I look only to my Perfect Savior. He too was made of dust, but now is in an incorruptible body that has triumphed for once and all over sins and failures and death.

Thank God, this Perfect Savior does not see me the way I see myself. I say in my heart, "But Lord, remember the time I did this, or though that, or didn't do what I thought You wanted me to?"

But that's ridiculous to entertain that, for He tells us:
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Heb. 8: 12

If I believe the Bible, I must cast these thoughts off as vain imaginations. These feelings of guilt and regret do not make me more valuable or pious to God. They only serve to prove that my eyes are on myself and not on the Finished Work sacrifice that He made, once for all.

If He said it was finished, it was finished. No matter how bad I botch things, my sins, past, present and future have all been a part of what we could call Job's bag and thrown on Christ, once for all.

"My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You wrap up my iniquity." Job 14:15

In the updated 1992 version of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest today,  it gently and kindly reminded me, when once again I was ready to beat myself up for falling short that it is about looking ahead, not looking behind, as we reach this last day of the year 2017.

 "It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return...Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ. Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him." 

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