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August 31, 2017, 5:00 AM

What mistakes are you chained to?

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:3-8


At one time I was [fill in the blank]. When I ran that statement through my mind, my brain was fast to fill in the blank. I mentally responded back to Paul who is writing to Titus, “yes I was foolish to others and yes I was disobedient to my parents. Oh, and yes Paul, I was enslaved by wanting to fit into this world, enslaved by alcohol, enslaved by intimate desires.” Boy was I reminded of all the pain I was in and all the shame I felt, though immediately, Paul jumps into verse four to paint the bigger picture. He points out that even though we have one time been a person we are not proud of, we have a kind and loving God seeking to save us where we are. Sounds simple, so why do we make it so complicated?


 It starts when we let our minds believe that we are unreachable to God because of our mistakes. We let our hardships affect our memory of His character. We limit a limitless God and ignore that He generously extends a merciful hand out to us. And, we won’t grab on because we don’t feel righteous enough. What I love most about our God is how faithful He was to us before you and I were even born. He allowed His only Son, worthy and perfect, to be arrested, crucified, die and conquer death three days later so everyone would have hope of eternal life. We have this hope because God freely gives us a choice to be in a relationship with His Son.


Paul eloquently explains that it is through a relationship with Jesus Christ that we can feel renewed again to move forward. Christ comes alongside of us to look at the pain we are chained to, not to judge, but to say, “I’ve suffered and wept from pain too. Here, let me take it all and wash you off.” He pours out the Holy Spirit on us to help us take a breath of fresh air and to see Him who has a better way planned for our lives. Through the Holy Spirit we are comforted and strengthened to turn from the past and run forward. Hebrews 6:18-20 says, “We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.”


Christ is our forerunner. Let that soak in a bit. As we run forward we may not have an easy linear path between Point A to Point B, but we can find peace in knowing we are running behind a trustworthy Lord. Paul says, “Stress these things.” I was caught off guard when I first read this because when I think of the word stress, I immediately think about noun forms, like anxieties from circumstances. But in this statement, stress is a verb. Paul is saying to emphasize what God is doing and to stop stressing over past mistakes. Stress what is excellent and profitable. What mistakes are you chained to? Will you allow Jesus to break the chains and take it all from you? How will you emphasize these things this into your lifestyle?


This is my Prayer: Father God, I praise You for seeking me with persistence. Lord I pray that You fill me with wisdom to believe in all that You have done for me. Jesus wash me today from what is holding me back, so that I feel renewed and see Christ ahead of me. Let courage flow through me as a run purposefully towards You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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