[Willow Creek Association] 1999-04-07 - It Can't Be Erased

In 1997 my oldest daughter won the State Gymnastics Championship for her age group and level. In 1998 she came in third place at the State Meet. This coming weekend she is competing for the State Title again. She trains and works out very diligently. After the 1998 State Meet, I remember telling her, "You did your best and I am very proud of your achievements this year. Don't lose sight of your 1997 victory. It will never be removed from the record books." She is very competitive, yet very mature and has realistic expectations for herself. Her maturity keeps her from wallowing in her past mistakes, as she focuses on her past successes and her future hope of achieving more successes. She is very competitive, yet her expectations for herself are realistic, just as God has realistic expectations of us.

Throughout the Bible we read of great people of faith. Often their victories over temptations or their great displays of faith are followed by periods of moral foul-ups and sinfulness. I think of Abraham, he has been called the "Father of our Faith." Yet, Abraham had many lapses in his walk with God, but he never allowed his failure to negate his past successes. More importantly Abraham never let his past failure prevent him from growing closer to God. His faith keeps growing and his walk with God becomes closer as he repents from his sins and grows more trusting of God.

How are you living your life? Are you dwelling on your past failures or your past successes? Are you allowing present wrong decisions erase your past right decisions? Satan wants you to constantly live your life looking back at failure. He wants you to drive your car of life looking only in the narrow rear view mirror. Christ wants you to drive through life looking forward and out the front toward victories down the road, while glancing back occasionally at your past victories over temptations.

Take comfort in God's word:

Isaiah 65:17 (NCV) "Look, I will make new heavens and a new earth,and people will not remember the past or think about those things.

Psalm 103:12-13 (NCV)He has taken our sins away from us as far as the east is from west. The LORD has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.

Jer 31:34 (NIV) "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.""

Father, we praise You and thank You for giving us what we do not deserve and not giving us that which we do deserve. Thank You for Your love and mostly thank You for Your risen Son who takes away all our sins. In His name, Amen.