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Regret or Rejoice!

“Ninety percent of the regrets I’ve had in life have been a failure in a crisis of faith,” confessed my friend. These were times when, in his words, he “succumbed to fear over faith.” He went on to recall a time when the Spirit urged him to take a step of faith and speak to a stranger about Jesus—“It was as close to an audible voice as you can get,” he told me, but he remained silent in the moment and has carried regret ever since. We can all relate, can’t we? Yes, every single one of us can relate, for we’ve all floundered in similar circumstances and walked away in guilt, disappointment and sorrow.

So what do we do? Another friend of mine is fond of saying, “Give up all hope of a better past,” and perhaps we do well to start there. If we let yesterday’s failures distract us from today’s assignments, we will erect yet another milestone of regret at sundown. So let’s accept forgiveness for what lies behind us, learn what we can from experience, and fix our focus the here and now. We do well then to anticipate God’s call, which is to say we should not be caught flat-footed or surprised by the daily urging of the Holy Spirit. Obedient action is the overflow of identity; it’s the “what we do” that arises out of “who we are.” Paul writes, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”1 There will be calls to action, and these are not random; rather they are planned by the God we confess, and He has fashioned us for them.

Then in the splendor of who God has made us to be, and in His high calling, we surrender ourselves to Him. Wrote Paul to the church in Rome, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”2 To say no in the moment and regret it the rest of our years, this is truly a tragedy. We don’t need to repeat it. How much better to say yes to God, knowing He will work through our obedience and we will rejoice in His pleasure both now and forever. The choice is clear. Which do you desire today?

Father, you are so good! You turn our mistakes into learning, and You send us into a new day of tasks that await us. Fill us completely, that we would live today as living sacrifices, watchful and eager to join You as you direct us. You will accomplish Your purposes through us, Your people. What an honor. Thank You. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Ephesians 2:10
2 Romans 12:1