I don’t have to be perfect because Jesus Christ died for me and exchanged His righteousness and perfection for my sin and failure, and He rose again leaving sin and failure at the cross, and He lives forever at the Father’s right hand. He intercedes for us (me), and His Holy Spirit lives in me to work out Christ’s righteousness in my life.
My trying to be perfect and pretending to myself that I am–these prevent me from receiving the mercy and forgiveness Jesus went through so much to provide for me. “If we say we have no sin, we are calling God a liar” (1 John 1:10), and we can’t partake of the pardon and cleansing offered in 1 John 1:9.
I’m through trying to hide my sin, failure, and mistakes (from others and myself) behind a façade of personal goodness. I choose instead to hide them in the blood of Jesus where they are dissolved and carried away.
Let me cease from trying so I can rest in trusting.
When the people of Israel witnessed God’s thunder, lightning, trumpet sound, and smoking mountain at Sinai, they “trembled and stood afar off” (Exodus 20:18).” “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin’” (Exodus 20:20 New King James Version– NKJV).
Psalm 5:7-8 (NKJV) says, “…In fear of You I will worship toward your holy temple. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.”
Father, I pray that I will learn to fear You as I ought. Teach me the “fear of the Lord” so that I worship only You. Lead me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 5:8 and 23:3). Make Your way straight before me (Psalm 5:8), giving me grace to walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it (Psalm 119:35). Amen.
When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
Matthew 6:9-10 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come….”
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Lord, let Your kingdom come in me—
Righteousness—always obeying You more and more
Peace—seeking and pursuing peace by resting in Your love and loving You with heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then showing Your love to others (Psalm 34:14, Mark 12:30-31)
Joy in the Holy Spirit—coming reverentially close to You and rejoicing in Your presence
(Scripture quotes are New King James Version)
Today’s Prayer – Seeking Holy Living. Great post by one of my blogging friends.
Lord God on high, You are holy.
You are total righteousness.
And yet You regard the lowly
And forgive all my sinfulness.
You fill my life with music,
With joy and peace from above.
Every good gift comes from You,
O merciful Father of love.
Your love is higher than the mountains,
O Lord, yes deeper than the sea.
It is broader than the universe.
You wrap it sweetly around me.
Psalm 138:6 “Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly….” James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights….” New King James
At salvation, we are declared righteous, i.e. not guilty, in right standing with God. We are headed for heaven as our final destiny.
But we also start the process of righteousness at that point. That process involves being made right from the inside out by God. We begin and continue being transformed by the renewing of our minds, submitting to God’s work as He heals all the brokenness of our lives, little by little.
Unrighteousness is not functioning properly or not doing what something was designed to do. We weren’t designed for sin and failure and being hurt. Those things injure and scar us. Righteousness is God’s coming in and dealing with the bondages and scars in us so they don’t continue to wound and destroy as they have in the past.
To let the process of righteousness continue, we put on the belt of truth—quit hiding and making excuses. We must deal with the truth; then God can fix the broken parts.
Today I thought of my mind as a desktop with my soul as the desk underneath. I can de-clutter my desktop (at least somewhat) by taking care of the obvious things that bother me. As God continues His work of righteousness in me, He asks me to open those overstuffed desk drawers where I’ve hidden my failures, pride, sins, longings, hurts, etc. so He can clean them out. He invites me to face the truth so He can make me righteous, turning my soul “right-side up” so I can love Him and others as He designed me to do.
If we confess, He forgives and cleanses from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
Quick Thought: My soul seems like a tangled ball of miscellaneous yarns. Little by little, God is separating the strands and weaving them into a tapestry pleasing to Him.