Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Put An End to the Excuses

“I will never be good enough. I’m just not capable.”
“I can’t get over things that I’ve done in the past.”
“Christians are hypocrites, and I don’t want to be like them.”

Have you heard any of those statements before?  Chances are, you have stated one or more of them.  Those are excuses, NOT reasons.  Here’s the truth:

You’re right.  You never will be good enough.
Every person sins every day.  Most of the time, those sins are unintentional.  The cartoon with an angel on one shoulder, and the devil on the other, isn’t that far-fetched.  Most of us have a persistent, nagging sin that we just can’t seem to conquer.  Whether it’s gossiping, or greed or lying, it comes up and we have that devil on our shoulder wooing us to do the easy thing and give in.  And guess what? Sometimes, we do. ALL of us do it.  Then, that feeling comes on us that we have let God down, and that He is upset with us.  That is NOT the truth!  That is that little devil on your shoulder speaking the words of the enemy into your conscience.  Satan wants to keep you down on yourself.  Jesus overcame everything through His sacrifice on the cross. He shed His blood for the purpose of forgiveness of our sins.  He didn’t come to make us good, He came to give us life.  Because of that, we can live in victory too, but ONLY through Him. 

You won’t ever be good enough, but Christ is more than enough and He paid the price.  Believe it and then live like you believe it!

Your past is history.  Gone! Poof!! Kaput!
Paul was one of the most effective ministers of the Gospel in history.  If you don’t know much about Paul, he certainly provides an interesting read.  He was there holding the coats of the people who stoned Stephen for teaching about Jesus.  He, himself, hunted followers of Christ down to kill them for stating their faith in Jesus.  Yet, God chose Paul, changed his life completely, forgave him, and equipped him to minister to many New Testament churches.  His words still minister to us through the books that he wrote in the New Testament.  Forgiveness is not just a pardon, it’s an empowerment to do something.

Do you think that Paul ever thought that he wasn’t worthy because of his past? I am sure he did.  If God can not only forgive someone who despised and killed His people, don’t you think He can forgive and use you too?  I John 1:8-9 says, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”  Notice the words FAITHUL and JUST to FORGIVE, and ALL WICKEDNESS.   This doesn’t say that He might forgive some sins, it says that HE WILL FORGIVE ALL OF IT!  Salvation becomes a reality the day you accept it.

You shouldn’t want to be like me.   You should want to be like Christ!
If you are looking at any person other than Jesus as a benchmark to measure Christianity or as someone to model your life after, you have it all wrong.  This excuse is the one that hold so many Christians back from sharing their faith, because they don’t want to be labeled as a hypocrite, when they know that they are going to make mistakes.  If you expect anyone to be perfect, other than Jesus, you’re going to be disappointed.
The definition of hypocrite is “a person who claims to have certain beliefs about what is right, but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.” As stated before, we all sin every day.  Do people need to know that we love God and the awesome things He has done for us, even though we might have sinned earlier? YES!  People also need to know that we make mistakes.  Be honest with your story.  Be honest with your life.  Show God’s love and help others experience the growth and peace that comes from loving and being loved by Jesus.

When you read the Bible, you see how much God uses and loves messed up people.  I was reading about Jacob this morning.  He was a dishonest man who gained his inheritance through lies and trickery, yet he plays a huge role in God’s story.   We all have flaws.

Are you ready to stop with the excuses?   Are you willing to step out, live your faith out loud, and be a genuine person seeking Christ?  Please pray for the courage to do it.  Share your story, no matter how ugly it is.  God can make it beautiful, and if you’ve already received Christ as your Savior, it IS beautiful in His eyes.

I ask you to grant the courage to those reading this, to stop with the excuses, and to stop believing the lies that the world tells them.  We will never be good enough, but through the blood of Your son, You see us as whole.  Help us to stop living in fear of what others think about us, and believe in what You know about us.  Help us focus on the present and the future, and believe that You have forgiven and forgotten our pasts.  Open our hearts, and allow us to let the Holy Spirit do great things through us, all for Your glory.

Passages to Ponder:
I Timothy 1:19- Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear.  For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
2 Corinthians 5:17- This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun. 
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9-So, to keep me from being proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.  Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time He said, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Kathy Derda, Kim McClure and Marla McDonald

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