I know frequently I look at myself and think "Oh man I just suck. Why can't I ______?". Sin has this way of distorting our vision and reminding us of our failures.
We become what we focus on. So if our focus is on our failures and regrets, it just opens up this door for sin to rule. It's like an unraveling sweater.
The sweater might start out great but you walk by something and it snags. At first there is this tiny string, but the more you pull and pull and pull the sweater starts unraveling. All of a sudden all you have is pile of yarn on the floor and you're standing in the cold with out a sweater.
It's the same way with sin, at first it might be something small like sleeping in instead of having a quiet time. But the more you focus on the sin, the more your focus becomes about you and your shortcomings instead of the mercies of God.
Nehemiah 9:26-31 shows the "big picture". Israel was caught in a sin cycle - they would sin, plead to God for forgiveness, God would give them a righteous judge to guide them, and then as soon as the judge died or left they quickly forgot God and were consumed with sin again. (You can read the whole story in Judges)
Four times in this passage Nehemiah talks about the character of God during these times of sin.
From Heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies. (9:27)
And when they cried out to you again, you heard from Heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time. (9:28)
For many years you were patient with them. (9:30)
But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. (9:31)Through out their sin, the character of God did not change. God is still merciful and gracious even when we sin against Him.
What if when we sin, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and discouraged, we focused on the character of God? If in our sin we turned away from our self-pity and turned to embrace the Creator?
What if we turn our focus to him like Nehemiah did in 9:17 "But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love"
Or like David in Psalm 51? "Have mercy on my, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions."
When we shift our focus to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and trust him to fix us it will bring God the most glory. To focus on Him is our only hope of leaving our own sin cycles. Let's trust God to be the one who repairs our unraveling sweater and to knit it together by His spirit.
Oh Lord it is so easy to focus on our own shortcomings. I confess my self-focus in my sin. Lord lead me into your glory. Let us focus on you the grace giver whose mercies are new every morning. Thank you for being the one to repair us.
This is my third post for Not about Me November over at Beholding Glory. It has been such a blessing and such a great way to focus my heart. Have you written any NAMN posts that you've linked up to Laura? I'd love to read them! Leave the links in your comment and I'll make sure I swing by. You can find my other two posts here:
Dating is not about me.
My Birthday is not about me.
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