40 Days to Lasting Change Day 32
Pick Up Your Sword
After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Passivity reveals that we’ve chosen something or someone over God. When will you put down the remote control, choose God, and stand up for your family? Put down the cell phone, pick up a sword, and fight for your marriage. Put down the PlayStation controller, put down the 9 iron, put down the iPad, and fight for something. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (p. 208). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
Dealing with the great sin of “passivity”, the author encourages us to pick up our sword and fight for what is good and right and true. Passivity, maybe the original sin of Adam, allows darkness to determine our destiny. Either we change, or we die. Passivity wants to cheat but action wants to change. We can say that’s easier than it sounds. But it’s not easy, it’s simple. It’s time to pick up the sword and do something about making something worthwhile of our lives. Our passivity reflects what we truly prize. What is that thing you need and want to change about your life? Do something today to do something about that issue in your life. God is with you.
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 26
Settling the Bill
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
The word for today is, “So what about you? Add up your bill. What is the true cost of sin? Paul told us that ‘The wages of sin is death’. That’s the bill. Our choice to sin has created a barrier between us and God, taken a toll on our relationship with Him that we can’t fix, repair, or pay off on our own.”
Sin not only affects our relationship with God but with ourselves and others. Have you ever just added up the bill? What has sin done to our way of thinking, talking and loving God, ourselves and others? It takes courage to look at the bill, but the bill never goes away until we get real and right with God. It’s better to look at bills earlier than later. The truth of the matter is that Jesus paid the bill, we just have to receive the payment through repentance and reception of that payment. But we need to be as specific as possible about what we are repenting from and receiving payment for, otherwise, we will misplace the payment and keep the sin in our pocket. One of the bad things about keeping a sin in your pocket is that it keeps poking in your heart. Just saying!
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 25
This Time It Is a Big Deal
I have hidden your work in my heart that I might now sin against you.
Today Kyle Idleman writes, “The problem is we don’t realize how bad things are. When you spend too much time in the Distant Country, you start to come yourself with the people living around you, saying, ‘If everyone else is living this way, then what’s the big deal?’ It’s a slippery slope of the Distant Country. Soon your perspective becomes warped.”
I like that statement that says, “God’s word is meant to get our attention, so we won’t minimize our sin, but rather realize the seriousness of the situation.” We don’t have to end up in a pigsty before we make some life adjustments. God’s wisdom of His Scripture and His Spirit will speak to us and lead us in life-giving ways. Are we taking time to be in a place where we can hear God’s word to us on our way through this life?
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 24
When He comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. John 16:18
Today’s word from “40 Days to Lasting Change” is, “To experience AHA, you don’t need to back away from the edge. You need to turn and run.” We have all sorts of excuses for keep danger, pleasure, and sin, close to us. We do, we keep telling ourselves that “things will be different next time” or that “it’s not that bad”, or even “other people deal with the same thing”. Left to our own excuses we find ourselves left in our pigsty. The reason we’re making excuses is that the Holy Spirit is examining our lives and exposing our issues. We want the Holy Spirit, but we want our unholy habit. We can’t have both and we know it. It’s going to take trust and treasuring a life that is free. Are we willing to exchange our excuses for His exoneration?
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 23
It Is a Big Deal
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins
is a slave to sin.” John 8:34
God’s offer of compassion and grace is still wide open to us. It’s the whole point of the story of the Prodigal Son. He waits with open arms for us to awaken, get honest, and take action to return to Him. Being honest about our sin means we stop minimizing and instead recognize that whatever took us to the Distant Country is a big deal, after all. Thankfully, our heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness are a much bigger deal. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (p. 153). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
This issue that took us off the farm and dumped us in the pigsty of life is a big, big deal. We can’t afford to sweep it under the rug any longer. These tricks we use to try and outrun our problems such as denial, projection, and minimization tie us down in the pigsty; they don’t liberate from this pigsty picture of pain. This is a big deal, but so is God’s message of love and forgiveness. Instead of trying to live with emotional, mental, and even physical pain, it’s time to live over it. But that’s going to require getting real with what we might consider being a little deal that has become a big deal in our lives. And, by the way, God’s love and forgiveness is NOT a little deal either. His love and forgiveness are a big deal. His love and forgiveness will help and heal anyone who is willing to get real about the deal in their lives that is keeping them from the love and life of God.
40 Days to Lasting Change Day 22
The Usual Suspects
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3–5
There’s a difference between being honest about our pain and being honest about our responsibility. As long as we continue to say, “It’s not my fault,” and blame our parents, God, spouses, bosses, exes, friends, or anything else, true AHA won’t happen. We can’t change our past, but when we’re willing to take responsibility and come to God honestly in AHA, He can change our future. (Idleman, Kyle. 40 Days to Lasting Change: An AHA Challenge (pp. 146-148). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.)
Today I’m reminded again how important it is to take responsibility for my part of anyone of my problems. “How did I get here?” or “Why am I feeling ______?’ It’s important to deal with responsibility because that is the point where you and I come into agreement with heaven, here or hell. Where there is agreement there is the authority. Why am I where I am, feeling what I’m feeling, and thinking what I’m thinking? The answer to those questions is where we find the aha moment. Sure, we may have been treated badly and handled wrongly but I am where I am because of the decisions I have made. So, what can I do about my situation? Better yet, what can God and I do with this situation? We ask the hard questions because we want the real answer.