Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Joy of Forgiveness

In my dream I am running the race - strides even and strong - going forward with strength and purpose. Then it happens; I stumble and fall taking myself out of the race to sit miserably on the sidelines.

I am not a literal runner. A brisk walk is much more my speed. I am, however, a runner in this race called life. I run not in my own strength, but in the grace and strength the Lord supplies. There are seasons when I run like the runner of my dreams - strong and steady. The path is straight and smooth, and I feel as though I can easily go the distance.

As long as I keep my eyes fixed on the goal I do well. It is when I begin to look over my shoulder at the places I have been that my gait begins to falter. I see the things of my past, the sin and failures, and wonder how I ever thought I could do anything of any value for the Lord. Before long, I am so consumed by past mistakes I have taken myself completely out of the race - and the enemy sits on the sidelines and sneers.

I have learned, ever so slowly, to stop looking back. I have taken Paul's words to heart:

"...I focus on this one thing. Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God ,
through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
Philippians 3: 13,14

Paul confessed that he was not perfect, but he pressed on. The lie the enemy whispers into my heart is that I have made so many mistakes I can never be of any use to the Lord. It is just that - a lie. My perfectionist, approval-seeking little heart is so easily seduced by that falsehood. The Father can take this cracked, flawed vessel and make of it something useful and beautiful in His eyes. The sins of my past, the sins of today, the sins of all my tomorrows are covered by the blood of Jesus. I belittle His sacrifice when I don't embrace that.

So with joy - I run.

"Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin."
Romans 4: 7,8


Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash