Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making a decision when we stumble

Being human beings we all stumble, as did Matt Talbot. The key is what we decide to do next. Do we just give up or do the "next right thing?"

Mass Reading & Meditation for October 15, 2008

The Word Among Us

Rivalries, anger, jealousy, envy, selfishness—many of these “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) are things we can point to in our lives or in our families every day. As we see the many ways in which we stumble, should we just give up?

No! We belong to Christ. Our sinful passions were crucified in baptism, and we have been filled with his Spirit (5:24).

The call to holiness is a process, and that means the sinful aspects of our nature don’t disappear overnight. We can be glad that God doesn’t judge us by a snapshot of our worst moments! What about that outburst of anger? What about that envious thought? God sees them all, but he also sees the bigger picture. He never loses sight of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, the life of his Spirit within us, the natural goodness he created in us, or our desires for godliness. He all that, too—and it makes him smile!

So don’t be disheartened when you stumble. Your failures certainly do not prove that God has abandoned you! The truth is, we will never see perfection in ourselves short of heaven. However, with each choice we make to put off the flesh and live by the Spirit, we make a little more progress toward Christ. That’s why God offers us forgiveness each time we fall. That’s why he generously offers us the power of his Spirit to help us get back on the path.

Before you go to bed tonight, take some time to review the day. Don’t just look at the works of the flesh that you gave in to today. Look also at the fruit of the Spirit that you demonstrated. Be encouraged at your victories, and ask the Spirit to strengthen you in those areas where you are weak. Whether it’s an issue of self-control or patience or fortitude, look to Jesus and to his mighty power. Remember that the blood of his cross has brought you peace (Colossians 1:20)! Claim that peace in his name, and get a good night’s rest—for he will never abandon you!

“Lord, I rejoice in your life in me and in the working of your Holy Spirit to conform me to your image. May my heart be always open to his call.”

Psalm 1:1-4,6; Luke 11:42-46