CONTINUED FROM: Eyes Focused Ahead (part I)
The more obvious situation is when I focus on my own personal struggles, temptations, and sins more than my Savior. I have found that when I do this it seems like the things that I am weakest against begin to consume my thoughts and the very things that I don’t want to do, I do! I know that I am not alone in this… Even the Apostle Paul, who was filled with the Spirit of God, fearless in his dedication to sharing the love of Jesus, says in Romans “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway”. As he considered this pattern in his life he concluded that it was an effect of the sinful nature that he, and everyone else, was born with. There is nothing I can do on my own to cure this disastrous condition that I was born with. No “self-help” book or shrink can reprogram me in a way that will rid me of my hell-bent fixation on the things that I don’t want to do and know I shouldn’t do. There is only one solution and God revealed it to Paul when he wrote, “… because you belong to Him (Christ Jesus), the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death… God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins… so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” Jesus is the answer! When I pull my thoughts from of those things that cause me to stray from the path intended for me at the beginning of time AND I gaze upon His face only then will my life remain pointed towards my Savior… allowing me to live with purpose every day.
Don’t misunderstand what I am saying… readjusting my focus onto Jesus is a daily task. It’s not a one-time thing that magically takes away my tendency to drift towards sin. I will drift… I will have times of weakness… I will fall… I will get entangled in those things that want to captivate my attention. At times I may wrestle with those temptations and sins for extended periods of time. I may waiver back and forth over those boundary lines for miles. The power of evil wants to hold me there and pull me outside of those boundaries… a path that will ultimately lead to destruction. BUT my God is more powerful than any force of evil! The devil cannot stand in the presence of a righteous God. So in those times of despair… in those times of guilt… in those times of hopelessness… I have a critical decision to make. I can choose to remain focused on the guilt and failure… captivating my thoughts to the very things that got me off track in the first place… employing futile efforts to keep from falling into the same sins. OR I can choose to bring that sin and guilt to the cross where the bondage of evil meets the freedom-giving blood of Jesus… letting grace and mercy strip away the hopelessness… hearing my Creator beckon for my steadfast attention on Him. I mustn’t remain in despair, leading to a life-sucking pit of self-pity and resentment. That is right where the devil wants me because when that’s where my heart is I am only one weak moment away from temptation falling into sin. I can’t stay there! My Father doesn’t want me too. I have what it takes to get back on track! The Holy Spirit gives me the power to turn my focus back on Him. Temptations will pass by me every day… some closer than others… but a glance upon them doesn’t demand guilt… it allows acknowledgement that evil is at play in this world. It’s only when I dwell on them and act upon them that they manifest into sin. See it’s a choice! The temptations of this world WILL coming knocking at the door, but I can handle it! I take a look at what confronts me and by the grace of God I can say “no thank you”! AND even when it progresses into sin, because it happens every day, I bring it to my Father… confess it, humbly accept His forgiveness, and, in repentance, turn my focus back to Him. I can move forward because I understand that when I trust His perfect forgiveness my record is cleared… it’s dealt with… the blood of Jesus makes me righteous in the eyes of my God NOT my feelings of guilt or remorse.
TO BE CONTINUED…