I recently wrote a post about how our lives might change if we understood how God loves us. I want to follow on from that with another one - if we realised how gracious and merciful God is, how might that change us?
One day, years ago I was feeling discouraged that I would just keep going back to the same old sins and it seemed so hard to change! Isn't that always the case?!! And what did God think about it? I felt guilty, and found it hard to imagine that God would want me to come to Him yet again and say sorry.
But then as I read my Bible I spotted this wonderful verse:
For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
I realised that we do fall, just like everyone, and God knows that. But the difference between us and non-Christians, is that we keep getting up, no matter how many times we fall. And that's OK! In fact, it's what God wants us to do!
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
We just need to rise again by confessing our sins to God and asking for forgiveness and He will cleanse us - a clean slate again. We don't need to make ourselves feel guilty and depressed for the next week to atone for it.
And we don't need to avoid praying to God because we're embarrassed at sinning again. Why not? Because He is gracious, more than we could ever understand:
And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, Exodus 34:6
Just as an example - look at how Christ treated those who had sinned. Christ is our living model of what God is like.
He has so much compassion and forgiveness. To the woman who had committed adultery He made all her accusers go away, and then just said 'Go, sin no more'.
To the thief on the cross who asked for forgiveness He said 'Today you will be with me in paradise'. To Peter who had denied Him three times, He said, 'Feed my sheep'. In the same way God has mercy on us.
Since I love songs, and linking to them, here is the one that was the theme song for our women's retreat recently: 'We Could Change The World' by Matt Redman. The words are so great for helping us realise that our lives would change if we understood how great God is!
Could we live like Your grace is stronger than all our faults and failings?