When we meet Jesus in a way that makes us want to change our lives and center them around him instead of whatever else guides us, we can’t help but see where we are not living in line with what he wants for us. Reading through Proverbs and the difference between living wisely and living foolishly, it was disturbing to see the foolish areas of my own life, the choices, words and motives that were far from holy or righteous and mostly only things that God would know because God knows my heart…whether I like it or not.
It’s easy to get stuck there. To get stuck in the daunting reality of where life feels messy and mistakes have lead to disappointing [in myself] consequences. To get stuck wondering if it’s possible to undo what’s been done. To get stuck so off course that there’s no turning back.
But that’s not the end of the story. God does want us to see where there is opportunity to love him and love others better. He does want us to recognize our mistakes. He does invite us into living wisely when we are not. But he doesn’t leave us to do so on our own.
Pricilla Shirer puts it like this in Discerning the Voice of God:
His [God’s] voice will always point out sin but offer grace to continue on in righteousness. He doesn’t bring up the past without pointing toward the future.
When God speaks to us, His words will not heap judgment on us. He reveals our sins to lead us to repentance, but this revelation is buffered with the hope of His grace, love, and another chance. He has already undergone the punishment for our sin and for all on the cross.
There’s a clear difference between conviction and condemning. A god who only seeks to condemn wouldn’t provide grace, be merciful or pay the consequences for us. Instead, God convicts us and guides us back to where he wants us to be in a way that sometimes does include real consequence but is never lacking hope.
When I consider the areas of my life that more accurately fall into the “foolish” categories of Proverbs than the “wisdom” ones, shifting course feels overwhelming and daunting. I know where I want to be with certain situations, choices, attitudes, relationships and decisions, but getting from here to there feels confusing and impossible. It’s too much. The distance is too great. And the mistakes made feel as if there’s no realistic solution, reconciliation or change possible.
I’m so thankful that God doesn’t leave me there, afraid to take the first step. I’m so thankful that God doesn’t give me a list of things to do over the next several months or years to arrive to where he’s taking me on any one journey. I couldn’t handle that. I would find great hope in the conclusion provided but would be terrified of what happens in between here and there.
What I do know and of what I continually have to remind myself is that all I need to think about is today. Of course, there are long-term effects of our decisions, but on what I focus is getting through today in a way that honors the Lord. Getting through today loving God and loving others. Getting through today living wisely in the mundane, little things, trusting that God is in control, trusting that the outcomes and consequences of my actions and words are not outside his love when they are off course and confident that his grace IS sufficient in all situations, struggles and relationships. That’s what I need to remember today. That’s what gives me so much hope, so much confidence and so much joy and allows me to hold tightly to trusting that when I take these baby steps – even if I don’t like them or am frustrated or feeling like it’s a little out of my control – that it’s totally worth it in the long run. Living wisely. Today.