Rom 4:6-8 “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
I gave my life to Jesus Christ in 1977. That seems like a long time ago. I was 24 at the time which means I had 24 years to train my mind to think like the world thinks – that’s bad! As I had become a student of the Bible there were parts I loved and parts that made me feel so condemned. I felt that way when I read the verses in Prov 6:16-19 which says, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” On every account I found myself overwhelmingly guilty. I was taught the Lord loved me yet knowing that all these things were a part of my past and seeing that He said in His Word that He hated these things, I had to fight mind battles continuously. I battled the fear that the Lord knew me all too well and had to be disgusted with my past and what was still cluttered within my thinking.
Of course I learned over time that He didn’t hate me. He truly did love me and washed the sins of my past away. He simply hated these six sins because they would hurt my intimacy with Him and bring hurt to my life and to others through me if I walked in them. It was gaining a revelation of the righteousness of God that saved me from thinking that God hated me and from tempting me to run away from Him and hide like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.
In Romans 3:22-24 I found great forgiveness and freedom from the condemnation of these things. These liberating verses said this: “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fallen short of standing in God’s Holy presence without sin, yet we are rendered as innocent by the free gift of His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
I thought, “That’s me, I have fallen short but, Praise God, this righteousness – God justifying me as innocent is by faith, not by my ability to live perfectly sinless.” I had to quit the mind battles – mentally beating myself up every time I’d miss it. It wasn’t that I’d sin in deed every day. But, my thoughts were still far from pure in many areas of my life. Sometimes my attitude stunk. Sometimes my motives stunk. Sometime the thoughts I’d think were outright sinful even if I hadn’t acted upon them. I had seen the Holy Spirit work much change within me. I had to accept this free gift of God’s righteousness by faith and let it further empower me to become more like Christ in my thinking and actions. The mind battles of beating myself up would only discourage me. Rejoicing that God saw me washed from sin liberated and encouraged me to run to Him in thanksgiving instead of running from Him in shame. I began to work hard to change my way of thinking and rid my life of these things that God hated. Whenever I fell short, instead of beating myself up, I’d repent and work again to get it right. I purposed to keep this glorious truth before me. “He made me righteous by faith. I cannot do it in myself.”
I hate to admit this but one of those areas that really took some work to change seems almost too awful to admit, but, why stop trying to be honest with you now? One of the things listed in Proverbs 6 that God hates is “a heart that devises wicked imaginations.” I wasn’t a person that did wicked things. But you know how some authors of novels think up all these twisted things that people do and put them in a story. Well I would find myself thinking like that. Suffice it to say I wasted a lot of brainpower thinking on nonsense things that made no difference and profited nothing. From time to time I would catch myself drifting over into one of these wandering thought sessions. It was like I’d catch myself, slap myself and say “snap out of it.” “If you want to think about something, think about God’s Word and meditate on it.” I was harder on myself than anyone!
Change for me in some areas was fast and in other areas seemed far too slow. When it was slow, today’s Fresh Manna verses, Romans 4:6-8, became my favorite verses. They felt like a nice hot bath. They cleansed me over and over again. They say, “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
My mind is not the devil’s playground. Wandering evil thoughts and imaginations gone amuck are no longer what goes on in my head and heart. The mind battles of how God feels about me and the question, “Am I ever going to get it right?” are gone. God’s gift of righteousness, His love, His presence, His truth and the promise of His Word sit upon the throne and direct my thoughts and steps! It is a wonderful place and one available to us all!
More to come…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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