There are things in life that seem to get the best of us no matter what we do. We try so hard to stop some bad habit or addiction or whatever and we ask forgiveness and vow to never go there again....and then the next time the temptation is there, we do it again. If you are a Christian, this is very distressing because we are supposed to have self control and not give in to the things of the world. It's like being on a hamster wheel. There's no way off. So we think.
That is Satan's lie. And he trips up so many of us with it. He's chuckling as we are drowning in guilt. He knows he cannot have us because we are children of the King, but he is doing his best to keep us from living in freedom. He's trying to sabotage whatever he possibly can.
The message at my church this past Sunday was thrilling. I wanted to jump out of my seat. I am attaching a link at the end of this post and I would highly recommend taking the time to listen to it. If you want to live life free from guilt, that is.
In a nutshell, this is what you need to know:
1. We are all born in sin - Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5
2. When we become Christians, our sin is paid for......in full. We are no longer under condemnation.
3. We are still capable of sin, but our focus is not to stop sinning. Our focus is to listen to the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
Our focus is on God every minute of every day. As we focus on Him and become best friends with Him, the things of this world will fall away and become disgusting to us. Not because of anything we can do, but because of what He is doing in us. As Mike Shellenberg, who preached Spinning Our Wheels at our church last Sunday, put it* - When we stop focusing on the Holy Spirit and God's will for our day, we go back to our 'default' setting which is our sin nature. We shouldn't be surprised. It's our default setting. We don't need to feel guilty, but just say, "Hey, Lord, I messed up. I guess I need to refocus my heart back on You. Please forgive me." No need to dwell in guilt. Sin no longer has any power over us. Sure, we can still go there, but God has removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. It has been paid in full. (*This is not a direct quote, but more of a paraphrase)
So don't get all caught up in the dos and don'ts; the law. Yes, there are things we should do, and things we shouldn't do, but those things will follow naturally if our heart and focus is in the right place. And that right place is on Jesus. So how does one go about "focusing on Jesus" in a practical, day-to-day sense?
When you wake up, don't even get out of bed before giving your day to God for His glory and purposes. Tell Him you are available to Him for whatever He has planned for you. Then go about your day with this in mind, looking for those opportunities to show the love of God to everyone who crosses your path. Your kids, the telemarketer, the bank teller, the guy who cuts you off in traffic, your ex, whoever.
When things are getting tough in your day, breathe and take 10 seconds to pray for peace and clarity and direction.
In every situation, ask God what He would do and what He wants you to do.
When you mess up, say sorry and start over.
This is the second time I have blogged about this topic, but it is sooooo important. It really is. This is HUGE!!! My friend was over today and while she was reading her Bible at my kitchen table she noticed that the exact same verse was found in two different places in the Bible. Why would God put something in the Bible twice? Probably because He thought it was that important. Maybe you missed it the first time, so here's another chance to get the message. That's kinda what I'm doing. Please please take the time to listen to the message in the link at the bottom of this post. You won't be sorry. I'm gonna share a couple verses from Romans 8:1-6
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (emphasis mine)
This song comes to mind -
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
The first link is the notes that go along with the message, the second link is the message Spinning Our Wheels.