Day 3: He will bless you with forgiveness.
Verse: Jeremiah 33:8
"I WILL cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I WILL pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me."
My sister Peggy Lively and I have this crazy hobby of walking/running marathons. It's together time; it's prayer time; it's adventure time...about every 6 months, we choose a marathon from state to state to state. Most of these races start very early in the morning so we have learned to layer our bodies with extra clothing to keep us warm in the low temperatures. But after several miles and when the sun has come up, we and other runners begin to throw off these extra layers onto the side of the road. (A Goodwill truck picks these items up later). No one wants the extra weight on the long trek! This act of "throwing off" by my sister and me is what I think of when I read about our faith walk in Hebrews 12:2-3: "Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." How fitting that these verses come directly after the Hall of Faith chapter in Hebrews 11. God is showing us how these biblical heroes ran, and now, how we are to run.
Jesus also ran our life-race and He is the One who did it perfectly. He crossed the finish-line and then sat down with joy because He knew that He accomplished everything He came to do for us. Forgiveness was both certain and complete because His life sacrifice paid for every sin. He is now our perfect Life Coach who knows every twist and turn as a forerunner. He is encouraging us to run like Him, with His help. Sometimes we get it right, as evidence in Dayna Curtis Moseley's post yesterday; we run obediently and freely with His Spirit working in us. What a blessing! But other times, we can get off track, or we can get caught with a rope (of unbelief or sin) entangled around our feet, or we unintentionally carry a pack of rocks (of guilt and shame) on our backs. Jesus implores us to throw off these weights and remove these snares so that we can once again run without any hindrance...the way He intended! He tells us to fix our eyes on Him, the One who died for these sins, and the one Who already bore our guilt and shame. The heroes of the faith didn't do it perfectly, but they confessed, received forgiveness, and kept running. Let us do the same.
Hear your "Coach" say to you, "Eyes on Me, child. While you run, let Me have your stuff; I died for all that. Confess and believe, I WILL forgive." Remember, your enemy will tell you otherwise: "Keep picking up rocks, even backtrack and get some more. Shame and guilt are my two greatest weights. Carry them onward,'friend'." Choose to listen to your Savior's words of truth. Be blessed by the forgiveness He promises... He WILL do it because He said so.
FURTHER: Deuteronomy 30:1-6; Isaiah 1:18: Isaiah 30:18; Psalm 103:1-14; Like 23:33
We have seen this week in Your word how You bless our faith and how You bless our obedience. I wish it was always that easy--that we fully believed and fully obeyed Your word without fail so that we would receive blessing after blessing after blessing! You know however, "our spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). You know we will mess up and trip up, and that we carry lots of unnecessary baggage! Help us to believe in Your promise, "I WILL forgive". Cause us to confess to You, our Savior, throwing all our sins at the cross. Lighten our steps with the freedom of forgiveness that You intended for each one of us to have TODAY. Dear Father, I claim this promise over every Soul Sister who throws off some kind of weight from their shoulders right now : "Yet those who wait for the Lord WILL gain new strength; they WILL mount up with wings like eagles, they WILL run and not get tired; they WILL walk and not become weary." In Christ alone, we run free. Amen.