Monday, July 13, 2015
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It was sort of good news/bad news for our youngest son. But it was mostly good news. He had sensed the strong leading from the Lord to go into full-time outreach to Native Americans. That meant he would be driving those exciting, rugged reservation roads. But there was no way that was going to be possible without a four wheel drive vehicle.
The amazing good news is that the Lord miraculously gave him the vehicle he needed. The little bad news, it was a stick and our son has never driven a stick shift. He learned quickly. In all the time he drove his miracle on wheels, none of his passengers needed a neck brace after the ride. And he mastered that manual transmission pretty quickly. If there was any roughness, it was when he put it in reverse. He said "Dad, backing up is the hardest part."
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Four Steps to Turn Your Life Around."
Yep, backing up is the hard part, not just "automotively" but morally. When the Lord shows you that you've been going the wrong way, it's smart to start backing up. To get out of that habit, get out of that dishonesty, that compromise, that wrong relationship, that sexual involvement. If Christ is living in your heart, He's going to begin to make you feel about that sin what He feels, and you'll know it's time to change.
God's word for this attitude of "I've got to change this" is repentance. You're tired of the guilt, you're tired of the shame, the cover up, the consequences? You're ready to start heading God's direction, but you've got to back out of that sin. Driving in moral reverse is hard, especially when you've been driving full speed ahead to sin in forward gear.
Some help from our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 7:10, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret." God talks about feeling sorry about what we've been doing. That's a good beginning; it makes you decide to shift gears. But, that's not repentance. Verse 11, "See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourself, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done." These people were taking aggressive action, not just feeling bad but taking aggressive action to get to the roots of sin and get it out of their lives and make things right. I mean, we're talking about an extreme makeover - a thorough clean up here.
Maybe you've been struggling. You're trying to back out of a sin that you know you need to leave. Let me give you some steps that can help you make that shift a little more smoothly. First, make sure you have repented specifically, bringing the specific times you sinned that sin to Jesus Christ. You don't just repent of the overall general sin. You repent of the sins.
Secondly, go back to any people who have been affected by your sin and make things right with them. This closes a circle of repentance and it actually makes it harder for you to return to that sin.
Thirdly, analyze what people and what places and what influences weakened you, pressured you into that area, and rubbed off on you. If sin is going to go, you've got to get rid of all your sin props and your sin partners. You've got to burn the bridges. Don't go near any situation where you will be tempted to go beyond the limits again.
Last of all, number four, get a mature believer who will hold you accountable, to be your faithful "checker-upper." The Bible says, "Two are better than one. If one falls down, the other can help him up."
Don't let a failure sink you. No! If you mess up, get up right away and start walking again. Passive repentance won't set you free, but active, aggressive repentance can start you down victory highway. As my son learned, backing up can be a bumpy thing initially, but you can end up going the right way if you'll learn to run in reverse. That's the only gear to use when sin is on that road ahead.