Saturday, May 31, 2014

Practicing what you preach takes practice

I was at work and had a "moment" that I wish I could have handled better. It wasn't anything huge, but some time later, I did hear a comment from a co-worker about "practicing what I preach." Having given it some thought, the truth of the matter is, practicing what you preach takes practice.

I don't know who in this room is walking with Jesus and who is not. You'll have to ask yourself that question. If you are not, let me encourage you. Jesus is not on a search for perfect people. He welcomes you right now as you are. If you are walking with Jesus, He knows you are not perfect, but He is calling you to strive for more.

So, give some thought to times you have "blown it." You were at a point where a choice was to be made; do this, or do that. A moment of decision, a moment of temptation.

And you fail.

So now what? You can give up, go back to the world, declare you were never going to get into Heaven anyway. Or, you can do what somebody else did a few thousand years ago when they had a gigantic moral failure.

[Psa 51:1 KJV] [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.]] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
[Psa 51:2 KJV] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
[Psa 51:3 KJV] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin [is] ever before me.
[Psa 51:4 KJV] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.
[Psa 51:5 KJV] Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
[Psa 51:6 KJV] Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden [part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
[Psa 51:7 KJV] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
[Psa 51:8 KJV] Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice.
[Psa 51:9 KJV] Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
[Psa 51:10 KJV] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
[Psa 51:11 KJV] Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
[Psa 51:12 KJV] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.
[Psa 51:13 KJV] [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
[Psa 51:14 KJV] Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: [and] my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
[Psa 51:15 KJV] O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
[Psa 51:16 KJV] For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give [it]: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
[Psa 51:17 KJV] The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
[Psa 51:18 KJV] Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
[Psa 51:19 KJV] Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

King David had committed adultery, and murder. Yet, God referred to him as a "man after God's own heart." How is this? We just read the answer. Take your time to go over it again. David confessed his sin, and knew he was sinning against God more than he was sinning against men. He wanted to restore a walk he had with God. He wanted to walk in the presence of God, not from the presence of God.

And God wants us to walk in that presence. Not everybody was born with a heart to follow God, though, and God knew that.

[Jhn 3:16 NKJV] "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God so loved THE ENTIRE WORLD that He gave his son Jesus. The sort of closeness that King David had with God the Father is open to all of us this very moment through His Son, Jesus.

And when we walk with Jesus, what to do when we fail?

[1 John 2:1 KJV] My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
[1 John 2:2 KJV] And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.
[1 John 2:3 KJV] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
[1 John 2:4 KJV] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
[1 John 2:5 KJV] But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
[1 John 2:6 KJV] He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

We have an excellent attorney, His name is Jesus. He is not only our attorney, he has paid for our failures as well. But we can see that He does not intend to be used as a mop to clean up our mess.

Look at verse 3, if we "keep his commandments." This doesn't mean you never fail, but it means you exhibit a lifestyle of trying to do what is right. Verse 4 says if you do not do this, you are only lying to yourself.

This passage isn't here to chase you away from God, it is here to drive you to Him. If you find yourself feeling guilty, then this is your gut check. You need to spend some time with your attorney, Jesus.

Look at verse 6. "Abideth." This means to live with. You live with Jesus. Jesus is Lord, sure. Your belief or disbelief doesn't change that. But are you abiding with Him? He says, as an invitation, enter in and abide with him. Live with Jesus. Walk down the street with Jesus.

[John 10:9 KJV] I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

So that's basically it, folks. Practicing what you preach does take practice. When you fail, the thing to do is not to give up. Do not return to old habits and old lifestyles. See yourself as walking along with Jesus everywhere you go. Choose to abide with Him. Enter into the door and live with Him. And when those times come that you fail, confess that failure to Jesus and He will be faithful to forgive you.