In last Sunday’s sermon I shared this quote: “God takes us from where we are, and not from where we should have been.” While this concept especially applies to our initial conversion from spiritual death to a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I thought it would be helpful to take a moment and encourage us to apply this wonderful and gracious truth to our everyday lives.
The truth of the matter is that every time we pursue a sinful course of action, we aren’t “where we should have been.” When, for example, you inject your self-absorbed irritability into your family’s evening – thus turning what might have been a peaceful evening into an evening of strife – “where [you] are” is “not… where [you] should have been.”
As we realize the foolishness of our ways, there is a weight forcing down on us that wants to keep us in a defeated place of guilt, shame, and regret. In such moments we might turn to worthless idols or pseudo-comforts to medicate our soul. Poor remedies! As long as we refuse to address the real issue, it won’t be fun:
“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3-4 ESV)
But we don’t need to remain in that place. “[The] light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV) is more than bright enough to lift us out of the darkness one more time. As we acknowledge our sin and turn away from it, and as we rest in the sacrifice of Jesus who made perfect atonement for our sin, we can immediately be renewed in our fellowship with the Lord. No elaborate process. No self-punishment. No dwelling on the past. No beating yourself up because you are the kind of person who needs another supply of grace. (Yes, you are that kind of person, and you’ll need many more supplies of grace! Me too!)
There is a wonderful simplicity to this spiritual renewal: We trust the Lord from a pure heart, receive His grace, and then begin to bear good fruit again. If there is repair work to do in our horizontal relationships, we make an honest effort to do it out of the fullness of God’s grace toward us (e.g., Ephesians 4:32).
Now let’s apply this to our everyday failures. Suppose that you had a rough morning. Maybe it was a prayer-less, Scripture-less, anxious morning. Maybe you said some unkind words that you wish you could take back, and now you feel that all too familiar angst. Maybe you got sidetracked from your responsibilities and literally wasted two hours – and now you’re feeling every minute of it. In this scenario, the temptation is to let your rough morning shape your entire day – and then you’ll be inwardly unsettled all the way to bedtime. Don’t do that. Instead of letting your morning blunders determine the rest of your day, let God’s grace determine the rest of your day. From the very place that you are – and not from where you should have been – lift up a simple prayer of confession to the Father. Ask Him to cleanse your heart. Lean on Him to reset your attitude. Remember that Jesus is your peace. Resolve to move forward in step with the Holy Spirit.
It is true that you cannot un-do your morning. But your morning need not un-do the rest of your day. Thank God that He is glad to send a wave of new mercies over your afternoon, and a wave of peace over your evening, and a wave of restfulness over your sleep. Your heavenly Father delights to do this for you, so that you might immediately return to the blessed path of “bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10 ESV).
Receive His love, dear one, from right where you are.
 This quote is from Douglas Wilson, although if I remember correctly he learned it from his father, Jim Wilson. Douglas Wilson has shared this principle on more than one occasion. For example, see Douglas Wilson, “Ezra Nehemiah 18,” April 19, 2006. Available online at https://dougwils.com/the-church/s8-expository/ezra-nehemiah-xviii.html.
NOTE: Header Image/Featured Image Photo from Brandon Jean on Unsplash