“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”
(2 Corinthians 6:2b NIV).
“I don’t always obey Mom and Dad, but I do obey God.”
It made sense to her six-year-old mind. Well, sure I might not obey my parents, but at least I’ve got the God-thing covered.
What’s a little family Bible time without some lessons on what this all means? So, it didn’t take two seconds for my husband and me to jump on this one with a little Scripture quoting: “Children obey your parents.”
That’s what God says, we tell her, so you can’t obey Him without obeying us.
I understand what she’s going through because most of us grow too comfy with our own sins and misbehaviors. We try to justify or ignore, or create some arbitrary system of categories and hierarchies.
Well, I might gossip…..but I don’t lie.I might tell white lies….but I don’t tell all out whoppers.
I might lie….but I don’t steal.
I might steal….but I don’t murder.
The truth, of course, is that we’re all sinners, and sinners don’t just make mistakes, accidentally mis-step, or suffer from minor character flaws.
And while we might try to dilute the definition a bit to take the sting out of the conviction, Scripture says, “…everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b NIV).
We know what sin does, don’t we? We know because so many of us have dragged that heavy burden along with us, refusing, forgetting, or just plain failing at leaving it behind. It holds us back. It keeps our hands encumbered instead of free to raise in worship and to extend in service.
Hebrews 12:1 describes it this way:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (NIV).
Before we can run forward and make progress in this race, we’ve got to begin by leaving some things behind. We’ve got to throw everything off that hinders. We’ve got to un-knot the tangle of sins that are tripping us up.
We’ve got to ditch the load and then run free.
In a new year, so many of us are looking forward to goals and expectations, but we won’t go far without throwing over what has entangled, encumbered and ensnared.
Angie Smith writes, “Part of moving forward is always letting go of what has held us back, and it is never less than a battle.”
The truth is we can’t drag it all along after us and still expect to move forward with God. We’re inhibited and stuck.
So that worrying….that gossiping….that perpetual busyness and never resting….that sharp tongue…that lack of grace….that lack of faithfulness to our commitments…that pride…that jealousy…that disobedience…that bitterness…that unforgiveness…that fear.
Whatever it is, it’s got to go.
Why not begin letting it go today?
At Women of Faith last summer, Christine Caine taught on the plague of frogs that struck Egypt in Exodus. The nation was overrun by frogs, just as Moses had warned Pharaoh:
“The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials” (Exodus 8:3-4).
Imagine frogs everywhere, between the sheets of your bed when you lie down to rest and in your kitchen, jumping all over your food.
That’s too many frogs for anybody!
So when Pharaoh begged for Moses and Aaron to pray that God would end the plague and remove the frogs, they agreed. They even went beyond that. Moses said Pharaoh could choose the exact day and time when the frogs would disappear.
Shockingly, he didn’t say, “Right this very second!” or “Before I go to bed tonight and have to sleep with another creature in my bed.” He didn’t want it “over with by dinner so I can eat my food without it tasting like frog.”
He wanted the frogs gone, “tomorrow” (Exodus 8:10).
Why did he do this?
Why do we do this?
If God has promised us deliverance, if He’s asked us to leave something behind, if He’s challenged us to lay it down and move forward, why do we linger here?
Why do we endure one more day and another and then again of hindrances and snares instead of letting go?
Today is the day of salvation. Let it be today—not tomorrow—that we ask God to search our hearts, to know us, to reveal the anxious thoughts and the waywardness and help us lay it down, let it go, so we can move on (Psalm 139:23-24).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King