Even when our sins are inadvertent, in most cases we still have some personal responsibility. It often happens that we’re more ignorant and weak than we ought to be, given the time and opportunity God has granted us to grow (Hebrews 5:12).
Often, we don’t see how poor we are spiritually, like the Laodiceans whom the Lord rebuked: “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
Jesus said, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). We do ourselves a huge favor, and more important, we show the greatest honor to God, when we loosen our grip on our lives in this world.
Our destiny, then, hangs upon our decision about the light. Either we’ll accept the momentary pain of repentance, or we’ll suffer the eternal pain of regret. Jesus said it is the truth that will make us free (John 8:32). Is that what we seek or not?
In the end, it will be evident that most of the “urgent” matters that tried to claim our attention were simply inconsequential. Before it’s too late, we need to stop our frantic fixing of things “out there” and start working on things “in here.”
We were created to desire unity, but there is precious little of it to be found in the world as it now is. Here, the norm is enmity, not unity. We don’t have to look any further than the daily news — or in the mirror — to know that many, many things have gone awry.
When we suffer, we can be thankful not for the pain but for its result: a heart more joyously fixed on God. Slowly but surely, God is conforming us to His character. Sometimes with pleasure and sometimes with pain, He is teaching us what love is.
Defying the devil, let’s keep going. He would like to see us drown in despair and give up, but we can refuse that option decisively. When we’re hurting and the hurt seems nearly unbearable, we can take at least one more step. Our God is worth that and much more.
We aren’t told what the future holds. Our life’s journey may take us along any number of different routes, none of which we can predict or be prepared for. So no map is given to us, only a Compass, and we’re to be content to be guided by God.
Sometimes we are defeated by discouragement, and our cause looks like it’s lost. But the great hope of the gospel is that, while life lasts, none of us is a lost cause. Our defeats need not be final. Our failures need not be fatal. Real change for the better is always possible.