December 8, 2016
Remember the Ninevites!
If you hide your sins, you will not succeed. If you confess and reject them, you will receive mercy (Proverbs 28:13, NIV).
Friend to Friend
We will never experience the life God wants us to live until we are ready to honestly face and deal with our sin. I mean the kind of honesty that shines a spotlight in every dark corner of our hearts. Getting real. Getting honest. Going all in with God – like the people of Nineveh did.
God sent Jonah to Nineveh with a message – and it was a doozy! Jonah told the Ninevites they had 40 days to clean up their act and get their lives in order, or God would destroy their city.
When the King of Nineveh heard Jonah’s message, he took it seriously. The King first addressed the sin in his own heart. He then vacated his thrown, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat down in the dust.
He urged the people of Nineveh to listen to Jonah – to give up their violent and evil ways. He warned them to turn from their sins – and they did!
When God saw how the Ninevites repented, He forgave them and He saved them.
Now fast-forward a few thousand years … to present time.
Our daughter has two little boys. Justus is seven years old and truly has a special calling on his life. He is pure in heart, has a sweet spirit, and loves God fiercely.
Justus has a little brother named Hudson. Hudson is a four-year-old charmer and a comedian. He also has a calling on his life – to test Justus’ love for Jesus.
One night, Hudson was exhausted from his day in preschool and was just over life. The result was a full-blown tantrum. Sam, our son-in-law, came home from a tense day at work and was also tired. Our daughter had been running errands all day, and was running on fumes.
It wasn’t long before Hudson’s tantrum caused everyone to fall off the emotional cliff from which they had been hanging – and things got heated.
In the midst of the heat, Justus stepped up to the plate and said, “Now everyone just needs to calm down! Mom and Dad, you need to stop and take a deep breath.” Justus then demonstrated how to breathe deeply and “let all of the bad feelings out.” When a measure of peace had been restored, Justus turned to Hudson with a stern warning, “And Hudson, you need to remember what happened to the Ninevites!”
We all need to remember what happened to the Ninevites!
God has the same message for us today. We need to get our lives in order. We need to cry out to God, turn from our wicked ways, and deal with the sin in our lives. But if you are like me, it is easy to become flippant about sin.
The first time we commit a sin it is painful. We are filled with remorse and mourn the fact that we have grieved the heart of God. But regret is not enough when it comes to dealing with sin.
Unless we confess and turn away from that sin, we are likely to commit it again. If we allow sin to settle into our life and refuse to confess it, that sin eventually hardens our heart and builds spiritual calluses in our soul. When we become comfortable with our sin, we are walking in enemy territory and setting ourselves up for spiritual failure and discouragement.
The good news is that Jesus understands human frailty. He is well acquainted with temptation and the tactics of Satan. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for our sin – and He paid our sin debt in full.
But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done (1 John 1:9, NCV).
This verse was written to believers as an encouragement to deal with sin and a promise that when we do so, God is faithful to forgive us and to clean up the mess that sin has caused.
We are not perfect – just forgiven. God is very serious about sin. We should be as well. And we need to remember what happened to the Ninevites.
Father, do not let me ever forget the price You paid for my sin. Thank You for the forgiveness and freedom You purchased with Your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life.
For Your glory and in Your Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
Set aside time each day to pray and study His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of every sin that stands between you and God. Confess that sin. Choose against it and walk on in His power and forgiveness. Ask yourself the following questions:
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