The Christian Mulligan?
1 Corinthians 15:31
I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
How many times have you been faced with circumstances in your life where you throw your head into your hands and think, “man, if I could just do that over”. If you are like most of us, it has happened more than a time or two I’m guessing. My point; we all have things we wish we could have done differently. The good news is that God can use even our foibles for good, but will we?
Our Wednesday night bible study is going through 2 Samuel. In there we see David make mistakes, Amnon make mistakes, Absalom make mistakes and others as well. Bad choices are not limited to the Old Testament either. Most of the disciples fumbled from time to time. Paul fought God’s will in his life and tried over and over to take the message of the Gospel to the Jews, when God had given that responsibility to Peter. Peter tried to tell Jesus what to do, and then later denied Him three times (not bad for the first “Pope”…), and was later restored. Judas gave Jesus up to the enemy, and in spite of feeling remorse, did not repent.
Mulligans are something we’d all like to have in life, not just golf. Yet as bad as we want them, would we really do things differently if given the chance?
God is a God of mercy. He is a god of second, third and forth chances. But He is also a God of justice, and we are fallen, sinful creatures pushed and pulled by the world, the old man, and by our human nature. But being indwelt with the Holy Spirit, each believer has been given authority and power over sin, the world and the old man. Our problem is that we give in to him too often. Our Spirit is willing, but our flesh is weak. Scripture proves we are not alone in this position. This being the case, how many of us really would do things differently if given the chance? I’m going to probably shock you and say, not many.
Sure, it’s easy to say, “I would do things different”, or to look at a decision we made and failed our faith or offended a brother and say, “I’ve grown a lot since then”, or “I’d never do that/act that way if I had a second chance”. But let’s be honest with ourselves and examine our hearts, and our actions, because God has surely already given you a second chance at a behavior, or a choice. Just because we do not physically go back in time like some ethereal ‘slider’ from some late ’80’s TV show, does not mean that God does not give us second chances.
How many times have we mishandled a corrective action with our children only to repeat it the next day? How many times have we been course without spouse one day, and do the same thing the next? How many times have we made a decision to do something, say something, think something ~ knowing that it is not God’s intended best for us (His will), and then done it again sometime later on?
You see, God is a God of second chances, but we are children descendant of sin. Born as sinners, we are indwelt with the Spirit of God at our conversion and instantly and permanently forgiven of all our sin, past and present. We are given the power to overcome sin in all circumstances, and yet we still choose self over God over and over. We need to make sure the old man is dead. We will have failings, and for them we are certainly forgiven, but if our heart does not seek to please God rather than ourselves we will not change. We can never make the wholesale change in our life towards choosing God, until we have made the fundamental change in our heart. That change; Die to self.
Each day when the sun comes up, God has given us another chance. Each day we much choose to live for Christ and die to self. Stop thinking the ‘what if I had a second chance’, because you do. Even is an offense has been made yesterday, you have today to make it right. No, words cannot be taken back once they have been said, but appeals can be made and love can be shared. Make today the day that you decide to choose the Spirit over self. We are refreshed daily, why not die daily? To stip ourselves OF ourselves is perhaps the single most important thing we can do in practical Christian living.
Thanks for reading, and have a nice die… I mean day. J