We paralyze ourselves by failing to forgive. Having done little to rid our hearts of resentment, we find that our minds do little but replay the past. Energy that should be spent building a better future is wasted in bitterness, and the road to the future is blocked.
I might wish my misdeeds could be seen as nothing more than personal quirks or foibles, but unworthy character and unacceptable conduct can’t be excused by saying, “Well, that’s just the way I am.” Jesus Christ gave His life to get us over the way we are!
What will we do with this ordinary day when nothing unusual will happen, no one will be looking, and there’ll be no particular reason to do our best except a desire to keep on serving our King? It’s days like today that are the true test of our love for God.
“No man is so insignificant as to be sure his example can do no harm,” wrote Edward Hyde. It’s hard enough already for those around us to keep moving ahead. If we make it even harder for them by our example, we should expect God’s displeasure.
It doesn’t do much good to simply say, “I know I need to be a better person.” Instead, we need to take an honest inventory of our personal traits on a regular basis and then make definite commitments to change our character, God being our Helper.
There comes a time when we have to ask what kind of people we are. We may have to admit that passion for God is just not a part of our character right now — we’ve let ourselves get to where we don’t really care about any great cause, even one as great as God.
We find the strength to say “No” only when we have a more powerful “Yes” burning within us. Like Jesus, who “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,” we must endure our own crosses as they come to us. The “joy set before us” is the key.
Will our basic outlook in life be backward or will it be forward? As great as the gift of memory can be, the past should not be the main focus of our minds. Since life moves only in one direction, forward, it is wise to make that the primary direction of our character.
The bottom line is this: a right relationship with God is what we were created to enjoy, and if we lose Him, nothing else can take His place. Without God Himself, hell would be hell even if we could keep every lesser blessing we’ve ever enjoyed.
We need to be more keenly aware of our abilities and opportunities so that we can use them more fully. When we allow the devil to discourage us, we fall into a stupid, insensible daze — a sleepiness from which nothing comes that is truly worthwhile.