Ten chances sounds like a lot, and it may be. But some things are so critical, that ten chances isn’t even CLOSE to what you’re going to need. And today I’ll explain why, and what you can do about it.
Free people have choices. We are the ones who get to make them. We can choose to do one thing, or to do another thing. Sometimes we don’t have the option to do nothing, we have to do something.
For example, if you’re in a burning building, doing nothing is not your best choice. You might choose to open a window, close a door, or try to escape down a stairwell. If you’re trying to move in one direction and are blocked by fire and smoke, you have to make a different choice. The clock is ticking and your choices are getting fewer and fewer. You may have started with ten choices, but the number is dwindling as you try to escape; and eventually you run out of chances.
Ten chances may be enough for smaller things like making cookies or playing a game on your phone, but life has no “new game” button. We don’t get to start over. Or do we????
Today’s verse is John 3:16, and it reads “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It’s a promise with a purpose. Can you imagine how terrible it would be if it said, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him WOULD GET TEN MORE CHANCES TO GET IT RIGHT.”
We don’t need “ten more chances” to be holy. (I’d have blown through those by lunchtime!!!”) We need a God who made a way for us to be set free, and to walk in His grace.
As I’ve said before, people who’ve been set free should live like it. We who are free need not submit to temptation. We need not choose to sin. We can choose the path of holiness, righteousness and joy. We don’t always do so, of course. Thankfully there is grace in temptation, forgiveness after failure, restoration after repentance. I need God’s grace and forgiveness. We all do.
The love of God was made manifest among us when God sent his only Son into the world. He didn’t do it to judge us, but so we might live through Him. That “living through Him” is the amazing part, because as we walk in His grace and are filled with His Spirit, He uses us as He transforms us. We don’t have to wait until we’re “perfect” to choose to be used. We can choose to listen today. We can choose to yield to His call and serve Him for His glory this morning.
As He uses us, touching lives and changing hearts, He is magnified and glorified. Getting to be a part of God’s work in HIs world should lead us to another choice. We always have a choice to praise Him.
Let me let you in on a major tactic of the enemy – he wants to get you to STOP praising Jesus. And he doesn’t care how he gets you to do it.
If he can make you feel as though your life it overwhelming and get you to focus on all of your problems, he’ll do it — as long as you decide to swap worship for worry.
If you choose to praise God in spite of the problems, the enemy will try to convince you that God isn’t listening. If he can make you feel as though your worship is useless and get you to focus on how alone you feel, he’ll do it – as long as you decide to swap loving praise for loneliness.
Here’s another one of his favorite tactics, to try and convince you that you’ve blown through your ten chances and God is done with you. If he can make you feel as though your previous sins and bad choices have closed the door on ever being used by God, he’ll do it – as long as you decide to swap forgiveness for failure and quit worshipping the one who set you free.
David was a man who understood sin, failure, redemption and forgiveness. He knew what it meant to be restored by God, and then used again — in spite of his failures.
David the murderer.
David the adulterer.
David the prideful and arrogant king.
He was also David the forgiven.
David the restored.
Because David knew that the path of sin and temptation is not a one way street, David chose to repent and return.
God called David a man after His own heart.
David was a man who made a choice to praise God for who He is and what He does. It was David who wrote – “I will praise Him with an upright heart.”
David knew that he didn’t need “ten more chances” – King David needed a God who loves, forgives and restores. And David knew he had one.
So do you.
Never let your past stop you from praising God in your present. It will transform your future.