Christianity 201

December 29, 2010

Making Your Disappointments Work For You

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Back in May I borrowed an analogy from David Paul Door; and today I decided to see what he’s been writing more recently.    This one appeared earlier in the month under the title Leverage Your Disappointments.

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more (Luke 12:48).

The above verse is in the context of knowing God’s general will and acting upon it.  For all us who know what God wants (in general) much is asked.  Where we have knowledge, the knowledge should grow.  Where we have talents, they should be refined and used; our money should be leveraged for the kingdom of God.

But one of things we have also been given is our disappointments and our failures. These two things are never experienced as gifts.  They feel terrible.  They’re heavy. They are things we often try to ignore, or, worse, medicate with food, shopping, drugs, or alcohol.  But failure is also something to be leveraged.

Think about it for a minute.  It is often our greatest disappointments and failures, and how we overcame them, which are the greatest use to other people.  They inspire, but they also clarify the way forward for others.  Our failures can keep others from failing and bolster others who are going through the same disappointments.

Sure we admire winners, but we can relate to the one who overcame great hardships, because our lives are filled with great hardships and disappointments.  If you haven’t experienced these yet, wait a few years.  You will hit a point in your life where nothing is going according to your plan. Is that a bad thing?

We certainly can make it a bad thing.  We can throw in the towel.  We can quit, thinking how stupid it was for us to even try.  But what a missed opportunity!  It is the failure itself that is the missed opportunity — the choice to put your face into the wind, and make not only something great for yourself, but others who will walk the same road.

Possibly related post: Regrets, I Have a Few — A Review of Regret Free Living by Steven Arterburn.

May 21, 2010

Sorry for Sin

I’m quoting this from memory and changing at least one word, but in The Pursuit of Holiness, author Jerry Bridges says,

We never see sin correctly unless we see it as against God.

Sin isn’t like failing to stick to a diet, where we’ve let ourselves down, but rather we sin against God.

Repentance involves

  1. Being truly sorry for our sin
  2. Turning around; changing our behavior

Sometimes we are sorry for sin because we’re reaping consequences which we deeply regret.   While those consequences may be built-in results of what happens when we go against God — because His ways are higher; because His ways are best — that’s not the kind of sorry God is looking for.

It’s more like the song that says,

Regrets, I have a few…

Rather, His desire is that we’re sorry that we failed to see His plan as best.   We failed to live as though He was walking beside us.    We went off and did our own thing.  Now we’re sorry over the results, but we haven’t factored in being sorry for how it hurt Him when we took a detour off the path.

Perhaps somebody is reading this who needs to join in this prayer,

God, I’ve been sorry for _________ because of the consequences, but I haven’t yet said I’m sorry because I went against your ways; I sinned against you.   Forgive me.   Create inside me a clean heart, and renew inside me the attitudes and desires that are righteous.