For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise up, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. ~ Proverbs 24:16
Which rising is this for you? The sixth? The eighth? I sure wish this proverb said what sometimes rings true in my own life: Though Karen fell for the 1,975th time, she rose up…
This weekend I was continuing my study of Ezekiel in preparation for the Bible study I am writing. Here’s what stuck out to me: Ezekiel 18:21-23, MSG:
“But a wicked person who turns his back on that life of sin and keeps all my statutes, living a just and righteous life, he’ll live, really live. He won’t die. I won’t keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. Do you think I (God) take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn’t it my pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong, but living right – really living?”
Verse 24 goes on to say,
“The same thing goes for a good person who turns his back on an upright life and starts sinning… I don’t keep a list of all the things this person did right, like money in the bank he can draw on. Because of his defection, because he accumulates sin, he’ll die.”
I really just want to copy this entire chapter for you – it’s so good!
Verses 25-28 go on to clarify for us the simple truth that those who turn away from evil have a blessed hope of knowing that God is not keeping a record of what they did wrong any longer.
“Because he faces up to all the wrongs he’s committed and puts them behind them, he will live.”
Oh wait, what? You mean we can’t just continue to sin, and assume that because we’ve asked God’s forgiveness, he’ll wipe the slate clean? Afraid not. He says that a righteous person cannot switch to a life of sin and expect no consequences. God makes a clear distinction here – no amount of good deeds in the past can erase the sins of today. If we want to live – really live the abundant life He has planned for us, we have to make the sincere effort to not only confess our sins, but to leave them behind. And that’s the hard part, isn’t it? Leaving it behind. Anyone can sin. Anyone can confess sin. But walking away from it? Eeek. Much, much harder. The good thing is, there is so much hope knowing that God knows our weaknesses and more than anything, he wants to help us conquer them.
How does He know our weaknesses, you ask? Why would God even care about our struggles? Oh sweet friend, He created us. He created me, and He created you. Not just that He created you, but that He created you with flaws and weaknesses. It is in those weaknesses, and with His help, HE makes us strong. He perfects us when we bring our weaknesses to Him for help. Each of us has these amazing strengths that we can use not just for ourselves, but to give back to Him or to help others. Conversely, each of us has weaknesses – weak links in the chain where we need the fortification of an almighty savior and the alliance of Godly friends here on earth (James 5:16) to help us get through.
So what do you say? Are you ready to rise up with me for the eighth (or ahem, 1,0008th) time and leave it all behind? We can do this. We can stop yelling at our kids, stop being impatient with the neighbors, stop working on X when God wants us to work on Y, (even though X may be a good thing, ahem. Again,)… stop lying, stop infidelity, (insert sin here______)… you get it. Come on, rise up with me. I’ve got your hand, and we can do it together.
Cheering for you,