The Law and Grace. Day twenty-seven...
When I closed my furniture plant back in 2002 many people were hurt besides me. Employees lost jobs—some they'd had for twenty years. Vendors weren't paid. Customer orders weren't filled. Small businesses that depended on our presence in the community suffered.
But worst of all was the fact that my business was the only church many of my employees ever knew. I did more counseling in my office than did most small‐church pastors. My staff and I helped a lot of people get into a right relationship with the Lord.
What happened? Who was responsible?
While I could pass out the blame in many directions, I ultimately took the burden on myself. This was my conscience of sins that we've been talking about. (So much for the progress I'd made in this area.) My whole universe was suddenly consumed with all the “what ifs?” on my part that might have saved us.
I didn't run and hide but tried my best to make things right where I could. But liquidating everything I owned couldn't make things right.
I asked a question of you last Friday:
“How do you hate something to the point of utterly detesting it without having it consume your conscience?”
As far as I was concerned the closing of my factory and all the resulting fall‐out was pure evil at work. Just how much of that evil I brought on by bad decisions or how much of it I could have avoided—I don't know. Whatever the source, I hated this evil and my hatred consumed me at first.
But the weight of it all was more than I could bear.
I hated what had happened to the point of utterly detesting it, but it was consuming my conscience. I had to hand it off to someone with bigger shoulders than mine. I had to hand it off to the Lord.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6–11 NKJV)
I had to hand my burden off to the God of all grace. And in His grace I found freedom in my conscience from sin.
Was sin at work in my life back then?
Certainly, just as sin is at work in my life today. But my sins no longer consume my conscience. Oh, I still have days every once in a while when I don't feel worthy of the air I breathe—but not very often.
If you are struggling with a burden way too heavy for your shoulders, please avoid all the wrong ways of dealing with it, and go directly to the answer.
If you measure your relationship with God by your performance, and your performance isn't measuring up, the answer is not to abandon your effort for excellence. The answer isn't in doing what “you” feel like for a change. The answer isn't in making up your own rules—the rules that are natural and easy for you to follow.
The answer is in submitting your direction and your discipline to the Lord.
He will guide you as you study His Word:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV)
And He will guide you as you live in His presence:
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:25–26 NKJV)
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13–15 NKJV)
Have a good day,