Despite what the weather may be spring is finally here. Soon, there will be an explosion of colors from flowers blooming and the grass turning green. Even the air will smell sweeter. The warmer temperatures and being surrounded by the beauty of spring may fill us with the urge to clean. However, this spring, let us not forget to clean our spiritual lives too.
All winter we’ve been storing up disappointments, heartaches and betrayals. We may have become angry and discouraged because some of our dreams still haven’t come to fruition. There’s no telling how long we’ve been holding on to our grudges either.
God wants to give us an outpouring of blessings in our lives. He wants to give us beauty for our ashes. There’s just one problem, we have to let some things go. We have to let go of our anger and shame. Let God replace it with love, hope and joy. Clean out the past and let God do a new thing in your life. Allow Him to heal your wounded heart. He is able and willing. Don’t miss out on your blessings because you didn’t do your spring cleaning.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
Love came down from glory and into this world. It carried the burdens of our sins to the cross. It allowed us to receive forgiveness and salvation. That same love heals my broken heart. It calms me down when I’m angry and prevents me from seeking vengeance. It allows me to see the other side of the story and leads me to pray, instead of responding with harsh words. Not only does this love give me the strength to forgive but it gives me the courage to open my heart again and let go of the past.
Only God’s love could do all of this. His love changes us into a new creation. Thank you, Lord, for loving me so completely. Your love allows me to love others as You love me.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11-12 NIV
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive them their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14 NIV
When you thought no one was watching, my daddy saw everything. He saw you break my heart. He saw you abuse me. He saw when you plotted and schemed against me. He saw you stab me in the back. He heard you lie to me and about me. He heard you say that I was ugly and that no one would ever love me. He saw you try to break my spirit. He saw you laugh when I fell. He heard every curse you spoke over my life. He saw you use me. He saw you cast me aside. He heard how you talked to me like I was something stuck on the bottom of your shoe. He heard you call me every foul name you could think of.
I wanted you to pay. I wanted revenge. I couldn’t wait until you felt the wrath of my daddy. When he didn’t seem to move fast enough, I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw things. I wanted to punch and kick. Then I realize that not only was my daddy watching you, he was watching me too. He was watching to see if I would be obedient and follow his teachings. He wanted to see if I would forgive you, if I would pray for you and if I would love you. For a brief moment I forgot these things. I forgot who my daddy is.
I don’t know why you chose to hurt me. Maybe it’s because you were hurt. Maybe you’ve never experienced true love. Maybe you’ve never seen a true representation of my daddy. I would love for you to meet him. Let me tell you who my daddy is. He goes by many names, God, Yahweh, Jehovah. He is the alpha and omega. He is almighty and he is love. He forgives and shows mercy. He lifts up those who have fallen down. He heals broken hearts. Even though we fall, he still loves us unconditionally. His purpose is never to hurt but to encourage and strengthen. I was created in his image therefore, I will forgive you. I will continue to pray for you and I will never stop loving you.
“I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44 NIV
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 NIV
Would you give a drink of water to someone who is thirsty? Would you give up your favorite coat to someone who is cold? Would you give your last piece of bread to someone who is hungry? Would you offer someone a place to lay their head? Would you offer comfort to someone in pain? Would you help someone up if they had fallen? Would you lay down your life to save someone else’s?
Most people would answer yes to these questions if it were a close family member or friend. However, the real question is, would those same people still answer yes if it were for a complete stranger. What if it was someone who humiliated you, lied to you, beat you, betrayed you or completely denied your existence? I’m guessing that the answer to these questions would change to absolutely not for a lot of people.
There is someone who did do those things for us despite what we did to him. His name is Jesus. He endured torture and humiliation for everyone, even those who mistreated him. He died so that we could receive salvation. He didn’t wait until we wised up and begged for his forgiveness. He didn’t wait until our attitudes changed. He asked for forgiveness on our behalf, knowing that we didn’t know any better, and he suffered the punishment that we should have received. He loves us in spite of ourselves. Aren’t you glad that he was willing to do that for us? Now, if God can forgive us after all we’ve done, why can’t we forgive each other?
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 NIV
“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!’” Mark 16:4-6 NIV
So many of us live as though we are trapped in a tomb. We’re sealed in by our pasts. We continue to relive our mistakes and past hurts. Our old ways of thinking and behaving haunt us. We want to escape the stinking decay around us but we forget that the stone has been rolled away. When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were set free from our past. It’s ok to step outside of our tombs.
We are no longer bound by our old ways of living. When Jesus arose from the dead, so did we. Our thoughts should be higher. Our dreams and goals should be higher. Our actions should be higher. Now, more than ever it is time for us to remember this. Let go of the past and step into the light. Praise God, the stone has been rolled away!
“As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men and chosen by God and precious to him–you also, like living stones, are built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
“Excuse me, don’t I know you,” I ask staring into a pair of eyes full of tears. I take a step closer, “you were there when my heart was broken. When I was rejected. When I was at my lowest. You said that fighting was hopeless. You said that I wouldn’t make it. You said that my situation would never change. I heard your voice in the middle of the night begging me to give up because it was just too much.
“I almost believed you. Your voice was so familiar and soothing. It felt like you were trying to spare me further pain, but before I gave up, I had to face you one more time. I had to look into those eyes so that I could know for sure what I was dealing with. I can see that you’re scared and frustrated. Life has beaten you down. You’re tired of crying yourself to sleep. I understand, but it’s time for you to shut up and listen to what God has to say. It’s time for you to be still and stop trying to fight this battle alone. It’s time for you to let go of your pride.
“I know it’s scary and it hurts. I know it feels like this struggle will never end. I know it’s lonely. Your Heavenly Father is with you. He loves you dearly. He loved you before you were even formed in your mother’s womb. He created you in His image. He knows exactly how many hairs are on top of your head. He knows how many tears you’ve shed. He knows all your weaknesses, all your secrets and all your dreams and yet He still loves you and wants you to succeed. He has been trying to get your attention. He wants you to open your eyes and see the blessings He has in store for you. He wants you to fully receive His gifts. He has plans for you that are so amazing you can’t even begin to imagine. You have to allow Him to mold you and guide you. You have to place all your worries and fears in His hands. You have to let Him heal your emotional and spiritual wounds.
“Yes, I definitely know you. I’m looking at my own reflection in the mirror. I’m going to keep on encouraging you. I’m going to keep on being patient with you. I’m going to keep on loving you. I will never give up on you and neither will God.”
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:17-18 NIV
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18 NIV
This is my official resignation letter. I am resigning my position as worrier, regretter, self-doubter and self-punisher. I have served in this position faithfully for most of my life. I don’t fill fulfilled any longer and not to mention, the pay has been less than stellar.
Despite the stress of this position, I do believe it served a purpose. It has taught me several things. I have learned that God is with me, always, even if I don’t listen and try to do things my own way. God is always patiently waiting for me to open my arms to Him after I have fallen. I also learned that my current position is not where He has meant for me to stay. I didn’t realize I was blind until He opened my eyes.
Praise God, He has offered me a new position. I have humbly and gratefully accepted His offer to become one of His faithful followers. I no longer have to worry because He provides for everything. I no longer have to doubt my worth because I am apart of His royal family. I no longer have to punish myself for past mistakes because He has forgiven me. I no longer have regrets. Well, maybe I do have one regret leftover. I do regret that it took me so long to accept God’s offer.
Well, it is time to say goodbye to this position. I can’t give you a two weeks notice, as my new position starts immediately. I also won’t be able to come back and visit. My new position does not allow me to look back. I am so excited; I’m finally on the right path to my destiny.
Loyal servant of the Kingdom of God
P.S. I also plan on recruiting as many of my coworkers too, so expect many more resignations.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31 NIV
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
Why does it hurt so much to worry? Why does my head throb and my stomach stay tied up in knots? Why does my back ache and my neck feel tight? It’s as if I have the weight of the world sitting on top of my shoulders.
Every possible negative outcome races through my mind. When someone attempts to give me a word of encouragement, I shoot them down. I have everything under control. I can manage worrying about my hectic life and worry about you too with my hands tied behind my back.
Denial can only last but so long. When I go home my worries follow me. They wake me up in the middle of the night and torture me. Why? In the darkness, a voice says, “worry is a burden that you were never meant to bear.”
God provides for all the needs of His children so that they don’t have to worry. Life presents challenges but He has promised to never leave us alone. When the worries of this world start to weigh you down, lay them before the Lord and watch Him perform miracles in your life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
“But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.” Jeremiah 5:23 NIV
Look at my mighty fist. It may look small but it can hold so much. It can hold anger and bitterness. It can hold fear, annoyance, frustration and every hurtful word that was spoken against me. It’s all held securely inside my mighty fist. I admit it’s a lot to hold in my grasp but I don’t want to let go. I want to keep my control over it. My mighty fist allows everyone to see how I was mistreated. They can understand why I can’t trust them. They can understand why I can’t completely open my heart to them.
The problem with this is that no one really sees any of that. They can never see the pain that I have balled up in my fist, because they are too consumed with whatever they are keeping inside of their own mighty fists. We are all desperately holding on to fistfuls of pain.
Now, we may feel safer with our mighty fists held high, but we forget that we can’t reach out and hold on to God’s hands with them. We can’t grab a hold of our brother or sister’s hands. We can’t give or receive a comforting embrace. We can’t receive our blessings.
I don’t want to miss out on my blessings, so I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I lift up my mighty fists to God and let go of the anger. I let go of my bitterness. I let go of my fears. I let go of the pain. I let go of all of it until my hands are free to receive God’s grace and mercy. Now, my hands can overflow with His blessings and favor. I’m safely in my Heavenly Father’s arms.
It stings when I let go of my mighty fist. I cry but with every tear I shed, I release God’s healing and forgiveness. My heart opens wider. I am free to love as Jesus loves me.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8 NIV