It is the middle of Lent and you may have slipped by eating what you gave up for Lent or you may have gotten off track one way or another. Do not be discouraged but be encouraged to continue on, not looking back, but pressing on toward the end.
In our journey with the Lord, we may have similar experiences. I think all of us run hot and cold with Jesus. We may have times when our relationship is close; we feel Jesus in our lives; we are disciplined and reading God’s word. There may be periods in our life when we attend Wednesday nights on a regular basis, help out with different ministries, or volunteer in church. Then there are times in our lives when we feel too busy for church stuff; we do not take time with God during the day; we do not give of our time, talent, or treasure; we simply are not motivated towards God. Our relationship and walk with God is neglected. Like the hymn we are, “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” (Robert Robinson 1735-1790)
When you have wandered, ask God to forgive you. Do not let your spiritual walk fall prey to distractions, and keep your eyes on Jesus.
Forget the Past (mostly)
The Apostle Paul counts his personal accomplishments as rubbish (Philippians 3:5-8). Sometimes we take too much pride in the past or rely too much on the past and neglect what is ahead of us. We may have the attitude that we have been there done that and do not need to do it again, or that we have already taken our turn teaching Sunday school or leading the youth. All our past accomplishments pale in comparison to the grace of God at work in our lives.
On the other hand, we do not need to beat ourselves for our past sins. The price has been paid for our sins and we do not need to leave a tip. We feel remorse, which is natural, but we ask for forgiveness and move forward. God refuses to bring up our past sins (Rom. 4:7-8). We need to follow His example.
Looking back at how great we were or how bad we were does not add to the future relationship with God through Christ. There are times, however, when we should look back. We look back at the great things God has done in our lives. God’s activity in our lives encourages us in our current struggles and needs to be remembered and celebrated.
Moses told God’s people wandering in the desert, “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” (Deut. 5:32-33)
Life is full of distractions, both good and bad; but we need to focus on God’s best for us. There is a lot of good that can be done in the world but what is God’s best for our walk with him? There are worries and cares of the world that distract us. There is temptation and sin that distracts us. There is our desire for rest or sleep that distracts us. Turn not to the left or to the right but keep your eyes focus on what lies ahead.
Focus on the Goal
Focusing on the future and where we are going with the Lord and our relationship with God is all that matters. Everything else in our earthly existence is secondary to developing and maintaining a relationship with the Lord.
Do not grow weary of the distractions and the past but be encouraged to stay the course and fight the good fight. Recommit yourself to your spiritual journey and ask God to help you to the end. “Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above,” is the last line of the hymn by Robinson. It is never too late to recommit yourself to your spiritual walk with the Lord.