Looking to the Lord
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
For some of us last year was one in which we did not acquit ourselves very nobly as Christians, considering the infinite power available to us through the indwelling Spirit. But through the goodness of God we may go to the school of our failures. The man of illuminated mind will learn from his mistakes, yes even from his sins. If his heart is trusting and penitent, he can be a better man next year for last year’s fault—but let him not return again to folly. Repentance should be radical and thorough, and the best repentance for a wrong act, as Fenelon said, is not to do it again. Charles Wesley called Pharaoh “a penitent in vain” because he repented under the pressure of each plague and went back to sinning as soon as the plague was removed.
In seeking to evaluate our conduct over the past year, we must be careful to avoid two opposite errors: the first is being too easy on ourselves and the second is being too hard.
Contrary to what we hear constantly, especially from certain enthusiastic brethren determinedly bent on revival according to their particular idea of it, we do not always do God service by scourging ourselves. The evangelical flagellant who thinks to please God by punishing himself is as far from the truth, though in the other direction, as the rabbi who in all seriousness declared, “If there are two righteous men in the world they are myself and my son; if one, it is myself.”
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. First Chronicles 16:11
There are some lessons in life we learn best from failure. But that is no reason to drown ourselves in it. We have not learned what God seeks to teach us until we have changed accordingly as He enables us.
I look to You, Father, and to Your strength to learn from the past and grow in the future.