January 24, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member, Certified Speaker
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." Psalms 23:6
When people become aware that I am a spokesperson for the Lord, they begin to act differently. Some share their pain and ask me to pray for them while others clean up their act as if they were standing before God himself. I don't mind those who ask for prayer. What I do mind is when people think they have to act more "godly" than usual in my presence. It's not my place to judge. That's God's job, and the reason why we all need to be aware of our daily actions performed in His presence, instead of worrying about what others think of us while we are in theirs.
The bondage we place on ourselves trying to be perfect is unnecessary. Aside from Jesus Christ, there has never been another person who "arrived" in their spiritual journey before they passed through the gates of heaven. Not even Paul. He confessed there were times when "he did things he shouldn't do and times when he didn't do what he should." (Romans 7:15, my paraphrase)
God has called each of us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, and He has provided the source in which to do it. In other words, we are to exercise the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives by being continually yielded to Him. It's only through God's provision that we can achieve the excellence that reflects a life of holiness in a dark world.
On the other hand, when we fail to yield, we have to deal with our flesh. Why God didn't destroy our old nature when we received His Salvation is something we may never know. What I have come to understand is that Christ died to destroy our sin, not our bad habits. There are things in our lives that God leaves to us to destroy - things like bad attitudes, bad eating habits, or using our time carelessly so we can't accomplish what we should.
God's Word instructs us to "put away our old habits" and "put on the mind of Christ." In doing so, we can know what is good, holy and right. As we change our bad routines into good ones, we are one step closer to living the life that Christ came to give us. Not by pretending, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then, when an old habit comes knocking at the door of our flesh, we have already won. If we fail to yield, our flesh may open the door, resulting in defeat and bringing grief to our Lord. Yet even in His sorrow, I have found there is no place we can go that God's mercies can't follow.
Paul cried out in his misery, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24,25) Praise God! His goodness and mercies can rescue us from our bad temper, our lack of trust, and our disobedience when we allow His grace to cleanse and restore us.
God's mercies don't stop there. His loving forgiveness can be found anywhere a person might go... into the nightclubs, behind the door of a secret relationship, and to the bottom of an empty bottle. There is no place too dark, too vile, or too wicked that the grace of God can't penetrate, pick us up, make us clean, and offer a new beginning. To believe otherwise is to believe a lie from the enemy who wants to keep us from all hope.
Yes, my friend, God may not have destroyed our bad habits, but He has provided new mercies everyday! To receive them, we must put away our old way of life. We must run to the Father and rely on His provision to strengthen us through all temptations.
Let's be honest. Are you seeking God's mercies or playing cover-up by pretending to have it all together? Your Father knows the truth. Don't stay down in the sludge today. Reach up and take hold of God's mercies. They never run out. They are new everyday.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, there are things in my life that need to go. Today, I surrender them to you. I'm sorry for the pain my bad habits have caused you, myself, and others. Help me to love you more than the sin I commit. I desire my life to be pleasing to you and a testimony to others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Go to the person you most trust and tell them that you have put away your old habits and committed your life to Christ. Then, ask that person to be your accountability partner. Ask them to help keep you on track by praying with and for you and by allowing you to share your daily progress.
Is it a struggle to live a holy life or am I depending on the Holy Spirit to help me?
Why do I hold on to some bad habits that I know hinder my relationship with God?
Could it be that I love those things more than I love Him?
Do I need to return to my first love, the Lord my God?
Is it time to surrender all today?
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John 10: 27-28 (NKJ)
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18 (NKJ)
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask?" Luke 11:13 (NKJ)
"For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJ)
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, book by Lysa Terkeurst
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, book by Sharon Jaynes