How to Avoid a Major Mess
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Back in the 1950s, Walt Disney went to an amusement park he didn't like very much. It was a mess; there was litter all over the ground, dirty bathrooms. It just felt tacky. He made up his mind that when he built the theme park he had dreamed of, it would never be a mess. If you've ever been to Disneyland or Disney World, you know he got what he wanted. Any time we've been there, it's been amazingly clean, considering the millions of people who go through there. I've been told that they have a simple strategy that makes Disney parks clean places. Take care of a mess right away. One day at Disney World I dropped my Coke cup and this guy with mouse ears made a flying leap and caught it before it hit the ground. OK, I'm kidding. But it almost feels like that. It really does stay clean there because they just won't let a mess get started.
The plan for keeping a park clean is the plan for keeping a life clean - don't let a mess get started. When you mess up, clean it up fast. There's not one of us who doesn't have things we wish we hadn't done or things we wish we had done. We've got things that make us feel dirty, ashamed, guilty, or unworthy. It all comes under the heading of what God calls sin.
The problem is that too often when we mess up, we give up, so we just keep giving in to more and more spiritual mistakes. So the darkness grows. The garbage starts piling up. But God has given us His spiritual recovery plan in clear, simple terms in our word for today from the Word of God. 1 John 1:8-9 tell us this: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
That is immediate and heartfelt confession. That's the way to keep a mess from accumulating. When I was a kid, I had this inflatable boxer who was as big as I was. When I punched him, he fell all the way backwards, but he didn't stay down. He came right back up again. That's what God has made it possible for you to do so you can begin to break that cycle of defeat and discouragement.
As soon as you've done what you know is wrong, don't run from God; run to God. Confess it to Him immediately. And what does it mean to confess your sin? It's much more than just feeling guilty or even feeling sorry for what you did. The original word in the Bible means to "say the same thing." In other words, you confess your sin when you say the same thing about it that God does. You see it for how ugly and wrong it is; something so bad it took the death of God's Son to pay for it: immediate confession, immediate forgiveness and immediate cleansing. A spiritual shower as soon as you get dirty. As the Bible says, "His compassions never fail. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23-24). Imagine a clean start each new day. Don't carry yesterday's garbage into today.
How can a holy God forgive this junk that He hates? Soon after the "confess and be clean" verse, God says, "If anyone does sin, we have One who speaks to the Father in our defense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins." Being forgiven by God is a matter of taking what Jesus did on the cross and making it personal for you. It's standing at the cross and saying, "Jesus, You died for what I did. I have no other hope of being forgiven, so I'm Yours."
Maybe you've carried the guilt and the shame of things you've done for a long time. The good news is that you can go to sleep tonight knowing that you are clean from all of that for the first time in your life, if you'll just invite the Savior who died for all that junk to become your personal Savior from your personal sin.
I've tried to put into simple words on our website some helpful information on how to begin your relationship with Christ and know you are clean once and for all in His sight. Go to our website and check that out, would you, as soon as you can - YoursForLife.net?
You don't have to carry all the sin and the mistakes on your back one more day. You can lay it down at the cross of Jesus and leave it there, and walk away forgiven.