Do you ever want to start over or have a do over in your life? The beginning of a new year gives us thoughts about starting with a clean slate in certain areas of our life. It may be in the way we take care of our health or our finances or certain relationships. It may mean finally conquering a destructive addiction or habit. I like the end of Phil. 3:13 which says, “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…” I have a plaque in my kitchen that a counselee gave me years ago. It says, “God of second chances, here I am again!” He’s not only the God of second chances but third and fourth and fifth! Does that mean He’s easy or passive? No, it means His grace far outride’s our sin. Romans 3:20b says, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” When we come to him with a regretful heart over our sin, He reminds us that we are already forgiven and gives us grace. (James 4:6) He reminds us who we are and how what we did made no sense since we ARE a holy and righteous child of the King. He brings us back to our senses! To put a law on ourselves or anyone else will increase the sin according to God’s word. Most people already know that what they are doing is wrong so they don’t need a judgmental reprimand. (Romans 6,7 and 8 tells us that we are now dead to the law anyway. The law was given as a tutor to bring us to Christ. Gal. 3:24) Now we live out of our spirit and true identity because it’s what the real you and the real me WANTS to do. (Hebrews tells us that His laws or ways are now written on your heart! Hebrews 10:16) If you are struggling with sin, you may be having an identity crisis. You may have forgotten who you are!
What does He give us grace for? Titus 2:11-13 tell us, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly (it just makes sense), righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to REDEEM us from every lawless deed…” Let Him redeem your sins and things you regret. Rely on HIS strength in you to resist temptation and to live out of your true identity. It’s so much easier and you’ll be so much happier! Focus on the truth about who you are instead of your sin. To focus on fighting the sin does not work. Asking God to convince you of your righteousness DOES work! (You are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price. I Cor. 6:20)
I will end with Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” The Hebrew in this verse ACTUALLY means you will EXCHANGE your strength for HIS! The “Exchanged Life”(which is Jesus) gave me so much! I gave Him my life and He gave me His! I gave Him my sin and He gave me His righteousness! I also give Him my weaknesses and He gives me His strength! AND Phil. 4:13 says, “I (and you too!) can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!”