What will it take to stretch your faith to the next level?
The answer could be many things, but I have noticed one thing that can stop our faith cold in its tracks; that is not being able to forgive yourself for sinning against God.
Years ago there was a particular sin that I had noticed acquaintances committing. I held myself in such high esteem thinking I would never commit such an offence. Then on the day of my temptation I dove head first into that same sin! And what’s worse I knew I was doing wrong and I said I don’t care, unlike the ones I judged who didn’t know they were doing wrong.
The day came when I realized the error of my ways and I begged God for forgiveness, not only of the sin but also of the pride I so arrogantly held against them.
I knew God forgave me instantly, but the problem began when I could not forgive myself. I spent years in mourning over that sin even though God continually showed me His love, mercy and blessings. I felt like David when He said “I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” I just couldn’t believe God could want anything to do with me after I had so blatantly sinned.
One day God showed me Jeremiah 31:34 “…I will forgive them of their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more.” It was in that moment I realized I was the one holding my sin against myself and not God.
It is so easy to sit down in your faith, scared that God is somehow not forgiving you. God showed me He forgives us like a mother does when a baby falls down. She picks up the baby, loves the baby, and encourages the baby to walk again. She does not say to the baby “Remember yesterday when you tried to walk? Just sit down here and don’t try anymore.” The mother does not remember all the times the baby falls. Likewise God chooses not to remember all the times we fall.
Think of Peter, David and Paul. They each sinned against God, yet God was willing and able to use them to do great works for His kingdoms advancement.
Peter denied even knowing Jesus, yet God used Peter to save thousands of souls through his preaching.
David fell into sexual sin and committed murder, yet God said he was a man after His own heart, using him to be the greatest king in Israel’s history.
Paul murdered those who followed Jesus, God said of him, “A chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name before the Gentiles, the kings and the sons of Israel,” and God used him to write most of the New Testament.
It took great faith for these men to continue believing God wanted to use them, and not sit down in sorrow. I like what Paul said “Forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.”
Are you able to forgive yourself for sinning against God? I know God forgives you! 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Stretch your faith to the next level, believe God wants to use you and your life experiences to further His kingdoms purpose.
Father, thank you for your great love for us and that you are so quick to forgive us. Help us to forgive ourself. In the name of Jesus, amen.