As a pastor, I do a lot of counseling and I often say, “The best way forward might be backwards.” What do I mean by that. Well if you are standing in front of a cliff that leads to an abyss, the best thing to do is, what?
Turn around, right?
C.S. Lewis said, “Life is long obedience in the same direction.” He also said, “Your dreams do not determine your destiny, your decisions do.”
Many people are making wrong decisions over and over again and they are ruining their lives. As I counsel, weekly, I see people who continue to struggle because they simply refuse to make the right decisions. Do you know why? Because the right decisions are usually the hardest ones to make.
Can I ask you a question?
What kinds of decisions are you making right now? Are they good ones? Are you making good decisions about your family? How about work? How about in your finances? How about spiritually? How’s your health? Are you making good choices and wise decisions about what you eat? How is your self-discipline. You know self-control is number 9 in the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Most of the questions I just asked could be answered in the affirmative and positively if we have self-control. Do you? Can you tell yourself, “No.”
That’s where most problems begin. Think about it. You can’t tell yourself, “No.” A drunk can’t say, “N0” to that drink. A shop-o-holic can’t tell herself, “No” and stay out of the department store. The thief can’t tell himself “No” at the convenience store. The porn addict can’t tell himself, “No” and not click on that porn site. Can you tell yourself, “N0?” Are you making wise decisions?
If not, then I tell you what I tell myself: REPENT.
One word. Just one word…but, it can change your life. It can change anyone’s life.
What does it mean to repent? It means to “turn around.” If you are at a cliff, turn around. If you see sin coming…turn around. Repent. How do you know if you repented? Well, if you can get away with it and you know you’ll probably do it again, then you haven’t repented. I you have truly repented, then most likely you won’t do it again.
We must see ourselves and God sees us. He sees the real “you” and the real “me.” The REAL person. He sees into our souls. He sees past the mask we wear for everyone else.
If we truly see our sin, and we truly see the horror of what it does to the Father, then we will stop it. We will repent and we will turn around. But we will only be able to walk away in the power of Jesus Christ. We can’t will ourselves to walk away, to stop drinking, stop spending, stop stealing, stop lying, stop looking at porn, stop smoking, stop overeating. We must do it in His strength. We surrender and repent. We say two words, “I quit.”
Do you get that?
When we say those two words…that’s what surrender looks like and that’s the first step to repentance and healing. You see we are all bent toward “self-deception.” We think we are really better than we are. Sin makes us dumb and foolish, did you know that? We will always rationalize why our behavior is right. We will justify it and find people who will justify it with us and run from those who won’t.
Are you living in lock-step with Jesus or with the world? If you are living in lock-step with Jesus, then this is what it looks like…
Being in “lock-step” is like a two-legged sack race. Who’s leg is in the sack with you? The Lord Jesus or Satan? It’s one or the other.
Two last questions.
Who are you accountable to?
Who has the license to ask you anything in your life?
The anwer to those two questions will determine if you are accountable or if you are free-birding in this life. If you aren’t accountable to someone, then you WILL struggle. Count on it. For instance I have a computer program on my computer called: X3Pro. It keeps me accountable. A report is generated and sent to my wife every Sunday regarding everywhere I’ve been on my computer. Some of you men reading this need that kind of accountability. It’s $7 per month. Here’s the site: http://www.x3watch.com/
But, most won’t check into it, because they simply don’t want to be accountable. That means that you are OWNED by your habit, sir. Sorry to be so blunt, but you are a slave. Yet, it can stop…you can turn around…repent…get accountable.
I love the lyrics to Matt Maher’s song entitled “Turn Around.” Take a look…
Young man on the side of the road, lost indeed and don’t know where to go.
Smells like a hangover from days ago. He does what he can to survive.
Single mom with a deadend job, 90 hour week just to keep what she’s got.
The bills add up and now she’s caught. She does what she can to survive.
Well, let me say that love won’t take away the pain. But don’t be afraid, cause it will never walk away.
(Chorus) If you’re scared that you don’t matter, if you’re lost and need to be found, if you’re looking for a Savior, all you gotta do is turn around.
Some turn to a bottle, some turn to a drug, some turn to another’s arms, but it seems like it’s never enough.
Well, I won’t say that you will never fail again, but there is grace to wash away your every sin.
(Chorus) No one listens to you anymore, and your heart has broken down. You don’t need to move, love has come to you, all you gotta do is turn around. All you gotta do is turn around. Turn around!
You don’t have to take the broken road. You can turn around and come back home.
It’s a great song. You can watch Matt perform it live at a church in Arizona, here.
So…life is long obedience in the same direction which comes after you turn around, repent and say, “I quit.”
Will you quit?
This is what that looks like…
That’s it. Just look to the Father and say, “I quit” and then turn around…