Yes, I can obey God’s Word! I’m through telling myself the “I can’t” lie. Sometimes, when I would read a Scripture portion or verse, I would say internally, “God says to do _________, but I really can’t. So I’ll just skip that part and look for something I can do. For example, I would read Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”). Then I’d think, Well, yes, but you know I’ve tried to think on these good things, and I really can’t. Other thoughts always take over. Then my mind runs wild, and I fall back into a negative outlook.
I repent. No more “I can’t.” No more excuses. I will choose to listen to the truth that by the power of the Holy Spirit I can obey God. I will choose life, not death. (Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”)
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)
How many times my thoughts stray from focus during the day! I find myself going over and over conversations or actions, thinking about what I should or shouldn’t have said or done. Or sometimes I’m planning what I’ll do if such and such happens or if so and so does this or that.
But I have hope. Since I’m in Christ, old things have passed away (died), and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have received the Holy Spirit who gives me power to put off the old and put on the new. When I catch myself thinking the old way, I can say to myself,
“No, self. Focus on the task at hand. If it doesn’t take much thought (comb hair, vacuum), think about the Scripture you meditated on this morning or heaven or Jesus or God’s attributes or other wonderful things.”
Then as I begin to focus on the good things and let go of the scattered thoughts, I will be obeying God’s Word by renewing my mind. (See Romans 12:2 and James 1:22.)
(Photo by Paula Satijn, “Mirror.” Found in Flickr Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulasatijn/79850464800/)
“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 5:17 New Living Translation)
The old me was touchy, irritable, grumpy, and rude. She sought only self and her way. She spent time with gossip, deception, unfaithfulness, anger, greed, quarreling, and jealousy. (See Galatians 5:19-21.)
The new me is patient, loving, pure in heart, and hardly even notices a wrong done to her (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). She fellowships with peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness, honest and loving speech, generosity, courtesy, and other such companions.
O Lord, please grant me grace to take off and dispose of the rags of the old me and put on the clothing of the new me which is renewed in the likeness of Christ. Holy Spirit, please help me do that more! (See Colossians 3:5-10.)
I read something the other day that triggered a painful memory. I felt sad and angry. But I choose today to wash that recollection with God’s total love for me and for the others involved.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word which tells me of Your unconditional love for us. You love us when we’re correct and when we’re not, when others approve of us and when they don’t, and when we succeed and when we fail.
So I will receive Your love and allow it to heal my soul. And I will forgive those who offend me because You have forgiven me for my offenses. Thank You for showing me how to deal with this troublesome memory. Amen.
“We love because He first loved us.” –1 John 4:19
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.” –Colossians 3:12-13
(Both Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
“‘All things are ready,’ come to the feast! Come for the table now is spread;
Ye famishing, ye weary come, and [you shall] be richly fed.”
“Hear the invitation, ‘Come whosoever will.’ Praise God for full salvation,
For whosoever will.”
(First verse and chorus of hymn “All Things Are Ready” by Charlotte G. Homer and W. A. Ogden)
I recalled this song from my youth after I’d read Pastor Tom’s sermon on Matthew 22:1-14 (You’re Invited to the Feast! ). The sermon helped me understand the part of the parable in which the man without the proper wedding clothes was thrown out. From the parable and the sermon, I see that even though everyone is invited to God’s wedding feast for His Son Jesus Christ and His bride the church, we can’t come on our own terms. We have to come on His terms.
My own goodness (even if I were “practically perfect in every way,” which I’m not) wouldn’t be proper attire for the feast. I can’t come smeared with the filth of my sin. I must repent and turn from my sin to Christ.
It’s not about saying a prayer and getting a ticket to heaven and living as I please. Accepting the invitation means that daily I lay down my own way (die to self, take up my cross) and go God’s way (follow Jesus, seek God’s kingdom). When I live this way, I will experience real life and joy now. And when I am called to enter the banquet hall, I’ll be properly dressed and ready.
Mark 6:53, 55-56 Amplified Bkible “And when they had crossed over, they reached the land of Gennesaret…. and they ran about the whole countryside, and began to carry around sick people on their sleeping pads or mats to any place where they heard that He was. and wherever He came into villages or cities or the country, they would lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch even the fringe of His outer garment, and as many as touched Him were restored to health.”
I wonder how many today come to Jesus and receive healing for themselves or someone else and go away. They’re content with healing and don’t go on to become His disciples. Following Jesus instead of our own interests requires laying down the lordship over our own lives, but the rewards are worth the price. Jesus offers healing because He is good and merciful, but He offers so much more as well. He offers forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, joy, fulfillment, strength, and on and on. The most important thing He gives, though, is relationship with the living, triune God—in this life and the next.
Dear Lord, please don’t let me ever settle for anything less, but remind me to take up my cross and follow You so You can give me the greatest gift—You, Yourself. Amen.
Pastor Tom has done an excellent 4-sermon series on the homosexuality issue. He shares a very biblical view of the issue. They should be read or listened to starting with the first one and going in order 1-2-3-4. Here’s the link to the first one: