“Who can speak and have it happen if the LORD has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the most high that both calamities and good things come?
Why should the living complain when punished for their sins?
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD…”
Lamentations 3:37-40, NIV
We do not speak things into motion. We do not have nearly the amount of control over life that we might think or wish we did. We do not create situations or bring about good things that are outside of the LORD’s decree. Likewise, we do not bring about punishment upon others—nor is it our job to. The LORD is the one who brings everything about: good or bad, peace or war, comfort or conviction. He is the ultimate planner, setting every moment into motion. God has created and purposed every situation of our lives…including the punishment and repercussions of our sinful ways.
So why should we complain amidst the punishment for our sinful ways? Why do we say, “Woe is me!” when we sit among the mess we made? There is a price to pay for the decisions we make and the path we choose.
Now let me mention that Christ’s blood has washed over our lives and cleansed us before God. We have been made holy before the throne, adopted into the father’s love. But that’s not to say that we are no longer sinful or that we no longer have to face the repercussions of our ungodly choices. It’s also not to say we just bet on Christ’s forgiveness instead of actually preventing ourselves from committing sins in the first place. If we have been made holy, then surely we are called to live in a holy manner. This is the process of sanctification. This is our daily task.
So often as Christians we get to a place of comfort. We get comfortable with God, comfortable with our few small sins (which we claim to be managing but are really just allowing to continue on because they’re “minor”) and our list of excuses and justifications for our actions continue onwards. But it is not okay to live like this. The LORD calls us to continuously examine our ways and return to his ways. This is an hourly, daily, weekly process.
We need to stop making excuses and start making changes in the way we act, think, and live. In what areas of your live are you choosing to remain comfortable rather than being Christ like? What excuses are you making regarding your behaviors or character? Examine your ways, test them, and return to the LORD.
This may seem like a daunting task, but God gave us all the tools needed to achieve this. He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit, his word, and our church family to help us press forward in our walk. He presents us with challenges to keep us from remaining comfortable and stagnant. Next time you feel challenged or uncomfortable in a situation and want to avoid it, embrace it instead. Do the thing that seems culturally unacceptable. Pursue growth and change. Pay attention to the Holy Spirit guiding you; listen to your "gut feelings". Try measuring your life up to the Bible. Wherever it is that things don’t line up with God’s commands, change them. Ask close friends to keep you accountable (Not just to keep you from sinning, but also keep each other accountable in doing good things). God has given us everything we need to turn our lives around, and anything that is not already inside of us will be provided when the time is right.
He makes all things new. He will renew you. He wants you to move forward in the process of sanctification. He does not want you to be burdened by the guilt of your past actions! Instead, he wants you to draw near to him in response and become more like him.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light!” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV, exclamation added).
All materials written and designed by Heather & Daniel Christy.