My friend, may I ask you a question? Do you feel that facing temptations head-on and then personally battling them is the way to capture obedience? Is this only a short-term solution though?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
I grew up with two brothers, both close in age to me; a recipe for periodic misbehavior. Misbehavior ultimately ended in some sort of punitive reaction from my Mom. It might be swift and certain which normally had only a temporary impact on us or it could be more subtle and far more enduring, which tended to be far more impacting. “You’re going to have to talk to your Father!” Why she didn’t make this always her prime weapon I’m not certain. We feared it though. Not because he was violent; my Dad seldom was. Mainly it was because we knew he would carve the guilt right out of us and fill us up with remorse. I think it was the one-on-one forgiveness that was so hard to ignore. You just had to yield and want to misbehave no more. It was his highest gesture of love evoking our utmost in the will to obey.
In our relationship with God I believe we can employ a similar strategy when it comes to sin, confession, and obedience. Some Christians feel that facing temptations in public and then battling them is the way to capture obedience. In the short-term this may be effective. However, in the long-term, bringing our disobedience directly to the source of our forgiveness might be far more enduring.
Here's a story. In 1884 Grover Cleveland was running against James G. Blaine for the presidency of the U.S. Blaine supporters discovered that Cleveland, who was a bachelor at the time, had fathered a son by Mrs. Maria Crofts Halpin, an attractive widow who had been on friendly terms with several politicians. Subsequently, Republicans tried to pin an immorality tag on Democrat Cleveland by distributing handbills showing an infant labeled “One more vote for Cleveland” and by having paraders chant, “Ma, Ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha!” The move, however, backfired badly. Rather than deny the story, Cleveland decided to tell the truth and admit the intimacy. This candor helped defuse the issue, and Cleveland was elected president. (From the Book of Lists, #2, p. 35.)
Cleveland had two choices; he could fight it out publicly with the Republicans or he could take a more private approach and discuss it with the electorate. He wisely chose the latter and achieved his goal of winning the presidency. When it comes to personal, spiritual battles won and lost we have similar options. We can publicly declare ourselves at war with ourselves and go public with our ardor, or we can quietly and respectfully enter into the presence of our Heavenly Father, return to the only source of our spiritual strength, make full confession and enjoy the awesomeness of a heavenly hug designed to strengthen and reassure us that all is well. The Father loves and forgives us. We give him our utmost and he delivers his highest. No other forum provides the same opportunity.
We pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to come to you personally in confession to rid ourselves of guilt and our sin. Forgive us when we try to battle our faith out in defiance of sin without regard for the nurture and comfort of bringing our confession to your highest throne with our utmost and humble confession of faith. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don’t let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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