Rejoice, Your Sins are Forgiven Part II
Key Verse: Luke 5:20
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man your sins are forgiven.”
Additional Reading: Luke 5:17-26
The goal of today’s devotion is to encourage you to rejoice over the fact that our sins have been forgiven and we are on our way to spending eternity with God!
It may seem that if we truly believe God has forgiven us our sins, that we wouldn’t need any reminders to rejoice. However, I have found that we all allow a couple of things to diminish our rejoicing. First is familiarity with the facts can diminish our rejoicing over our forgiveness. In other words, we have heard so many messages on the subject, sang so many songs about forgiveness, and thought about it so long that we no longer truly rejoice.
If you are a new Christ-follower, you probably can’t relate to this first reason because you are still in the “honeymoon” stage of your walk with God and are still overwhelmed by His mercies to you. That is great, I hope you work at keeping that enthusiasm. However, many of you, like me, have walked with the Lord for many years. We may show our gratefulness to God for our salvation, at times, but our rejoicing has diminished.
The second reason that our rejoicing can be diminished is that our burdens in life have consumed our thoughts and our prayer life. We have become so focused on our problems that we have forgotten about God’s power and that can kill anyone’s joy. Like the crowd in our story from yesterday and today’s scripture, the crowd was so focused on the man’s need of healing, they forgot about what sin does to a man’s eternity. They weren’t thinking long term blessings, but only the immediate need in his life.
How do we get our rejoicing back for the work Jesus accomplished in our hearts when He died on the cross? How do we rejoice over our own forgiveness, even during our daily life with all its issues?
First, if you have been a Christ-follower for several years, determine in your heart that you will always tell God how grateful you are for your salvation and forgiveness. I use the Lord’s Prayer as a guide in my prayer life. After I start with “Our Father in heaven”, I stop and bring to Him all the reasons to praise Him I can think of… starting with my own forgiveness of sins. That has been a habit of mine for several years and I believe it has made me a “grateful follower of Jesus Christ”. I wasn’t delivered from some terrible addiction or a horrible lifestyle. However, I was delivered from the penalty of my sins; I needed to remind myself sin is sin, and all sin leads to eternal death of the soul.
The second thing that has helped me in keeping my joy in the Lord is not allowing my problems to keep me from prayers of thanksgiving. In other words, I developed a habit of every morning starting with several moments of praise, no matter how burdened I felt over some issues in my life. I might say things like: Father, I’m not praising you because I feel like it, I’m praising you because I know that you deserve it!”
As you more mature Christ-followers know, praising God amid deep hurt and burdens is not an easy thing to do and none of us do it perfectly! However, God calls us to walk by faith, so we say our prayers of praise, even when in our humanness we are not feeling like it! But we must remind ourselves that mature people don’t live by their feelings. For example, how many people would be good employees if we only go to work when we feel like it? So, we’ll never be mature in our walk with God until we stop allowing our feelings to rule in our lives!
Father, with our help, I will praise you even in the storms of my life! In Jesus’s Name, amen.