February 21, 2017
A Lesson Learned on Monkey Bars
He (God) is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, NLT).
Friend to Friend
One of our grandchildren is seven years old and desperately wants to learn how to maneuver Monkey Bars. “Mimi, will you take me to the park so I can practice?” Justus asked. “Absolutely, honey! Let’s do this!” I responded. I remembered how hard I worked to become the fastest girl on Monkey Bars when I was in first grade. I was certain I could help Justus, so off we went!
When we got to the playground, not another person was there. Perfect! I looked at Justus and said, “Show me what you have learned so far.” Justus grinned and started toward the bars. He then stopped and said, “I have only tried once, Mimi. You have a lot of work to do.” I was up for the task!
I soon saw the problem. Justus climbed the ladder, put one hand on the closest bar, let go and swung to the second bar. That was it. He wouldn’t let go of the first bar in order to swing to the third bar. He looked like an adorable human wishbone. After working with him for about 15 minutes, he was zipping down those bars like a monkey. The grin on his face was priceless!
The thought occurred to me that we often have the same problem Justus had. We refuse to let go of the past in order to reach out and take hold of what God has for us next. Dealing with and letting go of the past is essential to our spiritual growth.
In fact, one of the key factors in my ongoing battle with clinical depression is letting go of past sin and pain. The shadows of yesterday can so easily become the dark clouds of today. In order to deal with the darkness life can hold, we must deal with sin – first, in a personal relationship with Christ and then on a daily basis as a believer.
Every believer has two problems when it comes to dealing with sin. First, we must confess sin. I know it sounds simple, but so many of us have lost our sensitivity to sin because we are aligned with the world instead of with God. The mark of a believer growing in grace is sensitivity to sin.
When I was a little girl, I hated wearing shoes. But when the first day of summer came along, I would kick off my shoes and store them in my closet – wearing them only when absolutely necessary. Even now, I can remember the painful sensations of playing on the gravel road beside our house. The sharp rocks cut and bruised my tender feet – at first - but by summer’s end, my feet were rough and calloused. I could run, jump and play for hours on the rocks that had once caused so much pain.
Sin is much the same. The first time we commit a sin, it breaks our heart, but the next time we commit that same sin, it doesn’t hurt quite as much. Our heart becomes calloused to that sin we repeatedly commit and a foothold is formed, making a place for darkness to reside. We must confess sin completely, confidently and continually. Jesus is faithful and will keep His promise to forgive and to cleanse us from all sin.
Psalm 103:12 (NIV) “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
The second problem we have with sin is forgetting forgiven sin. Is it even possible to experience true forgiveness? While we can’t totally blot out a memory, we can make sure it’s no longer a live issue in our lives. God’s way seems too easy – to just ask and receive. We act as if the Holy Spirit needs our help or as if what Jesus did on the cross was not enough. We feel like we must make additional payments for our sin by doing something when Micah 7:19 is clear about God’s attitude toward our sin, “Once again You will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under Your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean” (NLT). The problem comes when we revisit confessed sin, when we “go fishing” in the waters of our past.
The core of any pit in life is often riddled with sin we have never acknowledged or dealt with. Guilt and shame surround each transgression and since condemnation seems like the logical solution, we allow the darkness to consume us as payment for each sin. Like Justus, we need to learn how to let go and move on.
Father, I am so tired of trying to live today while carrying the baggage of my past. Please give me the courage to face the sins I have tried so hard to bury. Help me turn away from each one, leaving it in Your hands. Thank You, Lord, for Your grace, Your mercy and Your love. Please fill my heart with the light of Your forgiveness.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Victory over the past requires action on your part. You must be willing to take several steps of faith and obedience.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion can and will change your life if you apply it personally. You don’t have to understand it all to have it all, girlfriend. Accept His love. Surrender the pain and sin of your past to His forgiveness and healing power. Come to Him just as you are. If you made that decision today, we would love to hear from you so we can pray for you as you begin your new journey with God.
Mary’s CD, How to Get Past Your Past, will encourage you as she shares her own personal story of victory over the pain and grip of the past in her life.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.