Isaiah 43:18, 19"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
A NEW DAY HAS COME
What are the first thoughts that cross your mind as you face a new day? Are they the mistakes of your nagging past or the choking anxieties of your future? Often in life we find ourselves either endlessly ruminating over our past failures; full of regret wishing that we had somehow done things differently or we find ourselves at the other extreme; spending sleepless nights dreading our tomorrows, worrying about the future. In reality, both of these activities are thieves that rob us of our TODAYs.
On a more humorous note: “If you have one eye on yesterday and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today.” ~Author Unknown
REFLECT AND LEARN FROM THE PAST BUT THEN MOVE ON:
It is good to reflect and learn from past mistakes but we must not get stuck there. We can learn a valuable lesson from the great inventor Thomas Edison, (the founder of the electric bulb) who when asked about his past 10,000 failures replied that he hadn’t failed even once! He had only found the ways that wouldn’t work and by eliminating those ways he would be able to find the way that did work. What a winner attitude! Let us learn from mistakes and then move on.
LET TOMORROW TAKE CARE OF ITSELF:
The other futile exercise that we often engage in is worrying excessively about the future and its troubles. Jesus has warned against this in Mathew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” No doubt, planning for the future is good but we must never allow either the failures of our yesterdays or the fears of our tomorrows to rob us of what is rightfully ours - the opportunities of Today.
Some beautiful quotes for emphasis:
“When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.” ~Author Unknown
I love the quote from the animated movie KUNG FU PANDA: “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift and that’s why it’s called Present.”
“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” ~John Newton
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are NEW every morning; great is your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23: “
Isa 40:31: “Those who wait on the Lord will find NEW strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Revelation 21:5 “Behold I make all things new.”
ON THE SPIRITUAL FRONT:
Many times in our spiritual walk with the Lord, we find ourselves going two steps forward and then three steps backward. This results in discouragement and temptation to give up and ultimately backslide. I speak confidently about this because I have very well gone through this painful back and forth dance in my Christian life. Paul writes about this POWER struggle in Rom 7:18-25 “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”
Dear reader, have you ever felt this unending struggle against the flesh in your walk with God? If you have, then this post is just for you. Take heart, there is hope; I will now share with you what the Lord has taught me about how to deal with this.
When Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary, it was a once and for all redemption. This means it was not only for the sins that we did before becoming a Born again but also for ALL the remaining sins that we are going to do in the future. Don’t you see how futile it is …we are actually fighting a battle that has already been won? We need not struggle. Just as we started the spiritual walk by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, in the same way we finish the walk also by His grace alone.
Let me explain: Suppose you accept the Lord today, you are set free from sin and hence full of joy. But what about the next day and the day after that? How will you safeguard your salvation? By doing good deeds? By never sinning again? In that case let me save you the trouble by telling you that you are never going to succeed with that because we are sinful by birth.Isa 64:6 says “all our righteous acts are filthy rags before the Holy One.”Nothing we will ever do can make us holy again and as long as we live on this earth; by default we will keep sinning whether we like it or not, whether we want to or not!
THEN WHERE IS THE HOPE?
Acc to Heb 10:10-18 : “We have already been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all so there is no longer any sacrifice for sin required.”
Isa 43:25 says that God blots out our transgressions and for His own sake remembers our sins no more.
We have a Compassionate God who tramples our sins and throws them into the depths of the ocean. He remembers our sins no more. (Micah 7:18-19) According to Romans 8:1, 33-34 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”No one can bring charges against those whom God has chosen. The only one worthy to do that is Jesus and He is our Advocate seated at the right hand of God interceding for us.”
SO DOES THAT MEAN WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT?
The answer is a Big NO .God is Merciful and full of Love, yet He is also a Just and Holy God who cannot tolerate sin (sin of any color - black /white lie OR size-big/small sin). He hates sin but loves the sinner. The answer to the above question is given in Rom 6:1, 18:Paul asks whether we should go on sinning so that grace may increase? He adds that though we were once slaves to sin , we have been set free from sin and have now become slaves to righteousness.
OKAY, THEN WHAT SHOULD WE DO WHEN WE FALL?
The Difference in Approach is that now when we sin, instead of feeling guilty/condemned, we immediately repent by confessing our sins and claiming redemption by the blood of Jesus every single time. Keep short accounts when it comes to confessing your sins to GOD. It is true that Jesus Death on the Cross was a onetime sacrifice for all our sins but GENUINE REPENTANCE is required each time we sin.
What then is REPENTANCE?
Repentance does not mean only confession and saying that you are sorry. REPENTANCE actually means “To Turn.”This means that not only we ask forgiveness from God, but we take a U TURN and start afresh anew in His grace once again.
Repentance is the result of CONVICTION. Many times we may feel guilty or condemned for our past. This is totally different from being convicted of sin.
Now let us see the main differences between CONVICTION & CONDEMNATION.
1) CONVICTION IS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT WHILE CONDEMNATION IS BY THE EVIL ONE.
2) CONVICTION REVEALS THE PROBLEM AND SOLUTION WHILE CONDEMNATION BINDS US TO THE PROBLEM; IT NEVER SHOWS US THE WAY OUT.
3) CONVICTION ATTACKS THE SIN WHILE CONDEMNATION ATTACKS THE SINNER
4) CONVICTION LEADS TO REPENTANCE WHILE CONDEMNATION LEADS TO FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS.
5) IN CONVICTION, THERE IS EXPLANATION that is essential FOR CORRECTION AND HENCE IMPROVEMENT WHILE IN CONDEMNATION THERE IS ONLY ACCUSATION FILLING US WITH DOUBT AND SELF HATRED.
6 )IN CONVICTION WE FEEL THE DISCIPLINE OF A LOVING FATHER WHILE IN CONDEMNATION WE FEEL JUDGEMENT AND REJECTION.
7) WHEN CONVICTED WE BECOME BETTER, WHEN CONDEMNED WE BECOME BITTER
8) WHEN CONVICTED WE LEARN AND GROW, WHEN CONDEMNED WE LOSE HOPE AND GIVE UP.
9) AFTER BEING CONVICTED WE GAIN CONFIDENCE, AFTER BEING CONDEMNED WE LOSE CONFIDENCE.
10) WHEN CONVICTED WE CAN GO FORWARD, WHEN CONDEMNED WE MOVE BACKWARD.
11) WITH CONVICTION THERE IS PEACE AND LIGHTNESS OF HEART WHILE WITH CONDEMNATION THERE IS CONFUSION AND HEAVINESS OF HEART.
12) PETER IS AN EXAMPLE OF A PERSON CONVICTED (Mathew 26:75)Peter remembers Jesus prediction of his denial and weeps bitterly. THIS IS GENUINE REPENTANCE.
JUDAS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A PERSON CONDEMNED (Mathew 27:3-5) Judas is filled with remorse and so returns the thirty pieces of silver. He even confesses his sin and throws back the money to the Church Elders. He has done everything to show that he regrets what he did however the tragedy is that he feels condemned and hence hangs himself.
POINT TO PONDER: Was Judas sin (covetousness) bigger than Peter’s sin(THREE TIMES Denial of Lordship of JESUS for fear of humiliation)? WOULD THINGS HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT HAD JUDAS BEEN CONVICTED RATHER THAN CONDEMNED?I truly believe that GOD would definitely have forgiven Judas if there was a genuine repentance of his heart, if Judas was convicted of his sin instead of being condemned.
Lesson TO LEARN: When we feel regret/guilt for past failures we need to ask ourselves is this the work of the Holy Spirit trying to teach me something or is this the voice of the Accuser of the Brethren trying to destroy me? The above symptoms will tell you the truth.
The quickest way to fight condemnation is to remember your IDENTITY in CHRIST. Confessing the proper Scriptures will ensure a quicker victory.
How wonderful it is to know for sure that we are already more than conquerors through Him who loved us and that NOTHING can ever separate us from HIS love!(Rom 8:37-39)
“One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”
Let me leave you with an inspirational quote from the poem “A Psalm of LIFE” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(1807-1882)
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Act,— act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !