Devotional - There Are No Regrets In Jesus – Part One

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2Timothy 4: 6-8 (NLT)

    Death remains the great equalizer. Besides taxes, it is the only thing this world is sure of. We all will run our course here on this planet and one day will stand before God. I came across a secular article yesterday about the five greatest regrets people who knew their time was up shared. The top five things they looked back on wishing they had another chance to re-do. I found them interesting in relation to what the Bible says because there should be no regrets in Christ Jesus. There should be no regrets in living the eternal life now. The devil works overtime to try and convince Christians to live in their past and he succeeds way too often. A Christian stuck in their past is not allowing the redemptive work of the cross free them in this life. When we are stuck in the past we are in fact shackled to it and are unable to move into the great future God has laid out for us already since the foundations of the earth were set:

    For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2: 10 (NIV)

    Yet so many never find their calling. So many spend their lives living with regrets over things they can no longer change. The first regret given in the article was, I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” There is a lot of worldly truth in this regret. People are constantly allowing who they are to be shaped by other people. Wives give up their identity for their husbands. Husbands sacrifice who they are on the altar of a career. Mothers turn in their hopes and dreams and live vicariously through their children. Youth try to live up to the image of some superstar or idol they admire. As followers of Jesus Christ however, we are freed from this:

    But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. – 2Corinthians 3: 16-18 (NLT)

    The only expectations we are to try and live up to is that of our Lord and Savior. Will we achieve it? Never in this flesh but we know we serve a God who will forgive us all our unrighteousness. There is no reason to live true to ourselves because we nailed ourselves to the cross and now it is Christ that lives inside of us! This regret is summarily canceled before it could ever come to fruition in real time! God sets our expectations. God makes our paths know before us. The Word is a lamp unto our feet because our faith need only to see the next step God has for us. Hallelujah!

    The second regret the article references is, “I wish I hadn't worked so hard.” Oh beloved, how many of us can relate to this? We live in a dog eat dog world where compulsive, sacrificial work is rewarded and admired despite the negative consequences that accompany it. Society reinforces the “he who dies with the most toys, wins” mindset but we as Christians ought to know better. He who dies with the most toys still stands before God naked and toyless. As Don Henley once quipped; you don’t see no hearses with luggage racks.” Jesus taught specifically against this:

    Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” – Luke 12: 16-21 (NLT)

    Jesus said that we run around worrying about things we should have faith the Father will provide. Seek first the Kingdom of God! Work is important as a means to an ends and to be a living witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything above that and it has the danger of becoming idolatrous. Fame and fortune are fleeting beloved. How many people do we have see die miserable who seemingly had “it all” from the worldly perspective? Just this past week Country Music Star Mindy McCready died at age 37 from a self inflicted gunshot wound after battling alcohol and prescription medication for years. I am always thankful for the jobs God has provided for me but never can I allow them to dictate who I am – only Jesus can do that!

    The third regret from those who were near their end was “I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.” The explanation for this contained the consensus opinion that people suppressed feelings to keep the peace and ended up bitter and resentful because of it. I am sure we all know people like this. People who are free in Christ except for that thing that happened when they were 20 years old. But now they are 40 and still circling the same mountain, time after time, gaining no victory and walking in none of the power Christ appropriated for them on Calvary. The truth we understand as Christians is that our feelings will always betray us but our faith in who God is will never let us down. This is what the Bible teaches us about our feelings:

    “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? – Jeremiah 17: 9 (NLT)

    whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. – 1John 3: 20 (NIV)

    He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. – Proverbs 28: 26 (NIV)

    Clearly, the Bible is instructing us to not lean to our own understanding or how we might “feel.” The world sells us on the notion that if we are right; we need to stand up for ourselves! We need to not let anyone walk all over us! This worldly thinking has seeped into the church where Christians are typically more self righteous than they are humble. This is despite what Jesus taught us:

    “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow. “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5: 38-48 (NLT)

    We are supposed to be different – set apart. People are supposed to see something different inside of us, namely Jesus Christ. Where the world holds onto bitterness and unforgiveness, we forgive freely because of how much Jesus has forgiven us. Where the world says to stand up for your feelings we stand up for God. When we live for Him there will be no such selfish regrets when our life is coming to an end. Remember beloved, no one truly “gets away” with anything.

    The fourth regret discussed was, “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” Once again, too often the Christian life regarding this may not be lived correctly. We are not supposed to live as the world does. We are not supposed to engage in superficial relationships that have no depth.

    We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. -- 1John 3: 16-19 (NLT)

    There is far too much lip service in Christian relationships these days and not enough heart. When you read the Pauline letters you can feel the genuine love Paul had for the people he was writing to. Often towards the end of these letters he mentions them by name and says how much he thanks God for them and prays for them continuously. Unfortunately in the modern church we see too much “blessed and highly favored” without any substance behind the words. The most valuable resource we all have is time. We are supposed to take the time God has given us and invest it in the lives of the people He has given us. Standing over a casket is a horrible place to regret. The Word instructs us better than that.

    The final regret that people commonly expressed when facing their own mortality is, “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Happiness, much like peace, is an elusive chase. People spend their lives chasing happiness in one form or the other. If I only would get this promotion I would be happy. If I only made more money I would be happy. If only I would have this ministry, this amount of people under me, married, single, slimmer, or whatever other condition we set – we would be happy. Of course our human nature and the deceitfulness of our hearts will simply move the goalposts when the condition is met. Suddenly we will be happy only if we make more money, have more fame, have more ministries or any other new conditions we set. That is the problem with happiness – it is conditional. Joy however is positional!

    Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! – Philippians 4: 4 (NLT)

    Joy is a permanent state of being that arises from our position in Christ Jesus. The Bible says that in His presence is fullness of Joy. Our joy does not shift with which way the wind blows. No matter what happens in this world we know that the God we serve has already overcome the world! We also know that nothing can remove us from our position:

    And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8: 38-39 (NLT)

    How can we not be joyful when this is our position in Christ every single day! The sad truth is that too often we trust what the world says instead of what our God said. Happiness is but a fleeting concept wholly dependent upon an outside event that we usually have no real control over. Joy however is a permanent state based upon what God has already done for us. One of the damaging effects of the “bless me” theology is that it robs people of the joy they should have in Christ because instead of appreciating everything He has done, they are constantly looking for the next payout of blessing.

    Five regrets culled from the lips of those who knew their time was short. Five common areas we all can relate to in our flesh. Five areas Jesus Christ ahs already given us victory over. There need not be any regrets beloved. The Apostle Paul certainly could have regretted his initial arrogance and opposition to the Christian way. He could have regretted presiding over the stoning of Stephen; the first martyr. While I believe he held onto these times as a way to remain humble in the Lord it is evident that he did not regret anything as his life drew to a close. We can know this based upon our key verses today.

    The Book of Second Timothy is essentially the last words of Paul. He would be martyred himself shortly. Paul knew these would be his last words as he says here that the time of his death was near. Within these verses are some wisdom God wants to impart to us today regarding the inevitability of death and how to truly live a life that will not look back regretfully in the end. We will examine these verses more closely in part two of this devotional tomorrow.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – February 20, 2013

  2. sorry about the bolded parts, some kind of formatting issue.
  3. They needed bolding...
  4. lol, God always knows better!

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