Opening Prayer: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.”
Daily Scripture Reading:
- Genesis 39:20-23
- Romans 8:12-13
- Ephesians 4:22-24
- I Peter 1:15-16
- 2 Peter 3:9
- I John 3:7-10
Recently a post come across my social media feed that said something like, “If you think your mistakes can mess up God’s plan for your life don’t worry- you’re not that important.” The words were written in lovely script overlaid on a peaceful stock photo of a mountain stream and at first I scrolled right past, silently agreeing with the encouraging quote. But the more I thought about it the more I wondered; can we blow God’s plans and purposes for our lives? Don’t our choices matter? Don’t our decisions, good and bad, play a role in how this thing will go or was it all set in motion before the beginning of the world? I think the Word teaches that we can, in fact, derail God’s best for our lives by the choices we make.
Our God is a God of redemption, forgiveness, and love. Like we read today in 2 Peter 3:9, He does not want anyone to perish but all to come to REPENTANCE. He is so passionate about the salvation of our souls that He sacrificed His own Son so that we could spend eternity in right relationship with Him. He is also passionate about the salvation of our lives today, here on earth. He is passionate about saving our minds, our motivations, our decisions, our character. When we come to Christ and submit our lives to His Lordship, He redeems our mistakes- past, present, and future. He forgives our sin- past, present, and future.
However, God is after our hearts and loves us too much to force right choices on us. When we continue to allow sin to rule our lives, we gradually slip back into the deadness of our “old self.” Robert Mulholland says in his book Invitation to a Journey, “If you continue to allow the dynamics of your deadness to shape your behavior, you will make a shipwreck of your faith.” That sounds very different than “don’t worry, you’re not that important.” Eventually, our loving Heavenly Father will give people over to what they really want, to what rules in their heart (Romans 1:28-32). He calls us to holiness. He calls us to live according to the Spirit and put to death the sins of the flesh. He calls us to life as our “new selves.”
We don’t know what would have happened in Jospeh’s life if he had taken the bait and fallen into sin with Potiphar’s wife. After all, he ended up in prison even though he had high integrity and chose righteousness. But sin is a prison of the heart and can keep us locked away from God’s best plans and purposes for our lives. Your choices matter too. Don’t choose the fleeting over the eternal. Don’t choose a good time over real contentment. Don’t choose distraction over purpose. Don’t believe a sabotaging sound bite over Truth. I believe we are that important and our actions and attitudes can, in fact, jeopardize God’s dream for us.
Today’s Big Questions: Do you have unconfessed sin patterns in your life that are jeopardizing God’s plans for you? Do you know of areas that you consistently choose to behave like your “old self?” Does the command to “be holy just as I am holy” feel impossible to you?
Prayer Response: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any “old self” patterns in your life and repent of them. It is only by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that we can ever “be holy.” Ask Him to infuse you with that power and tell Him today that you choose to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
Optional Action Step: Take a moment to look back on your life at decisions and choices you have made that have brought you to where you are today. Can you identify temptations and sin patterns you are glad you did not fall into or got out of? Make a list of the pitfalls you avoided because you chose righteousness like Joseph and “old self” ways that you have repented and grown out of. Let this list be an encouragement and give you strength in any current temptations.
Closing Prayer: “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”