Lately I’ve been feeling discouraged about my daily tendency to repeat certain sins. I often let pride, fear and selfishness reign instead of reaching out for and clinging to God.
I’ve noticed it in the smallest of details in my day. Not just choosing wrong actions, but dwelling on sinful thoughts like they’re a melting piece of chocolate in my mouth. 😦
In the moment I feel justified—as if I have no other alternative.
But when I come to God each day and pour out my heart in prayer, I’m reminded of my willful, independent, rebellious choices. Then I confess and grieve for the sins I’ve committed, knowing God forgives me even before I utter the words. He extends grace with abandon.
But I still feel there’s something missing each time I step away from the altar and head out into the world.
Am I really not receiving His grace—embracing it?
Is it that I’m giving God lip-service?
And if so, am I really repenting or just unburdening a guilty conscience?
I may not know the complete answer to these questions most of the time. So I trust that God hasn’t finished revealing the truth to me in this matter. And believe me, He is gentle in His revealing—never condemning or pushy.
But here’s the one thing I see and hear clearly, since it’s been echoing in my head lately …
Make the hard choice!
I am much too easy on myself and give myself an out, time after time. For some reason I’ve convinced myself that I don’t have to make the hard choice each time I’m at a crossroads. Adding to that, I’ve convinced myself that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
But, as I come face-to-face with my sin each time I pray, I am further convinced that it does.
It does matter.
Every time I chose to avoid the hard choice—the choice not to act in God-honoring ways and resist sin—I hurt myself, my husband, my marriage, my sons, my friends, my influence, my spiritual progress and, most importantly, my relationship with Christ. Ultimately, I’m resisting taking Christ’s hand—climbing that narrow, rocky path of earth. In fact, every time I choose not to make the hard choice …
I’m actually making it harder to choose the hard choice next time.
Instead, I’m going to challenge myself to resist my earthly desires, my selfish propensity to sin, and make the hard choice to obey. Each time that obedience will look different, but I know that much of it will require eating a heaping helping of humble pie!
Even beyond that, much of it will require accepting the pain … the pain of this broken world.
It also means accepting the slights others regularly commit against me, as well as praying for God to defeat the unimaginable evils committed against others in this world.
These things stand in stark contrast to Christ’s beauty, redemption and love. But I’ve got the choice each day to add to the beauty, redemption and love rather than to the ugliness, hatred and evil in our world.
With that thought in mind, I will choose the hard choices. How about you?
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 5:7
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
What hard choices are you resisting?
What would help you to drop your resistance and embrace God’s hard choices?
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