February 17, 2020
Maybe It's Time to Start Making Excuses
MEREDITH HOUSTON CARR
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-6 (ESV)
When it comes to the art of making excuses, it would seem young children hold a monopoly on this skill. Simply spend an afternoon at my house, and you'll hear any number of excuses fly:
But he started it!
But she hit me first!
Yeah, but they made me do it!
And lest I begin to think this skill applies only to my children, the expert excuse-maker within me pipes up with numerous examples of all the excuses I've made over the years:
I'd love to exercise in the morning, but I just can't get up that early.
I'd love to spend more of my day in Bible study, but I just don't have the time.
I'd love to connect more deeply with people, but I'm just not trusting enough to open up.
Can you relate? Perhaps you share my simmering mistrust of people and red-hot love for the snooze button.
And then there are the excuses that scoot a little closer to our souls. Ones like, I wish I could forgive, but I just can't get over the feeling I'm letting her off the hook. Or, I'd like to prioritize my family more, but I just can't take the time away from work. Or, I should probably break up with him, but I'm just too afraid of being alone.
We are so adept at pulling out excuses, but I wonder what would happen if we started making a different kind of excuse - one that invites God into our fears, doubts and struggles.
And today's key verse points to just such a method. In Ephesians 2:4–6, the Apostle Paul writes:
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4–6).
We serve a God who is so in love with us, He was willing to sacrifice and save us - long before our excuse-loving hearts ever turned to Him. And because of His incredible sacrifice, we now have resurrection power living in us. This power makes a way through any barrier or trial we face!
In Him, we find every single thing we could possibly need in order to survive and thrive in the situations we're facing. Our enemy loves to hurl excuses at us because it leaves us feeling helpless and blind to the incredible power we have in our Savior.
Dear one, we are anything but helpless in our sin and struggles, for there is nothing too big, too hard, too confusing or too difficult for Him. When we tether our identity, security and hope to all we have and are in Him, we can flip our excuses upside down and view our trials through the lens of God's power.
That marriage you're in? The one that feels too hard to handle?
Yes, but God can redeem and restore all things, even broken things.
That big decision you have to make, the one causing crippling fear?
Yes, but God is faithful to illuminate the next step of the journey.
The lonely feeling that gnaws at you and threatens to sink you to the bottom of a dark pit?
Yes, but God will never leave you or forsake you. His steadfast love never fails you.
No matter the trial pending or the mountain looming within view, you and I can courageously make an excuse to do the right thing.
But God ... the only excuse we need to walk in joy and hope today!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what struggles or heartaches we face, we have Your resurrection power within us. Help us to trust Your good plans in the midst of our challenging circumstances. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 2:12, "For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead." (NLT)
2 Peter 1:3, "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what area of your life are you most likely to make an excuse? What would it look like to invite the divine power of Christ into that area today? Let us hear from you!
© 2020 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.