After giving in to temptation, how would you fill in the blanks of this sentence: “The reason I chose to (name the behavior) is because I (state your reason)”?
Would your story change depending upon to whom you were justifying your actions? To your parent? Your spouse? Your child? Would you choose your words differently if you were having this conversation with God?
How hard would it be for you to tell God why you made the decision you made? Why you chose (perhaps again) that sin or bad habit over Him? How would your excuses hold up? Just picturing this conversation with your heavenly Father gives you a clearer perspective about your choices, doesn’t it?
Unless we’ve allowed our conscience to be seared, we feel guilty and ashamed when we try to minimize or lie about our actions to the people who love us. Unfortunately, it is that same guilt and shame that often keeps us from going to the One Who gives us the grace to see our choices differently. Honestly.
But does the idea of having this conversation with God still scare you? No wonder. A healthy reverent fear of God is a good thing. We never want to romanticize God as being a “that’s-okay-and-now-let’s-hug” kind of God. We dare not minimize His holiness.
Thankfully, He is magnificently loving and full of compassion and mercy. But He’s also comprehensively holy and demands respect for His Word. Because of His nature, He hates anything that threatens us harm, including our own destructive choices.
Considering all this, would Psalm 51:10 (ESV) be a good prayer for you?
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Let’s ask God to give us the wisdom to have a greater respect for His Word and to trust His love for us. Let’s invite Him to renew a right spirit within us, especially if we’re already developing a seared conscience, and give Him permission to reveal the lies we tell ourselves when we justify our actions. And let’s choose to obey Him, one choice at a time.
Then we can revise the opening statement this way: “The reason I chose not to (name the behavior) is because (I respect my Father’s Word and I trust His love for me.)”
What about you?
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- Is it time to have an honest conversation with God?
- If so, after you’ve had that honest conversation with God, perhaps consider having another one (or two) with some of the people who love you.
- How can I pray for you?
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