"Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? NKJVNothing of course.
But, isn't that the exchange we make every time we choose to sin or tell ourselves that, "It's not really a sin. . . There's nothing really wrong with what I'm doing. . . God wouldn't really have a problem with it. . ."
This verse can call to mind such noble thoughts like, "I wouldn't trade my soul for all the money in the world!" and contentment in our faith in Christ.
Yet I'd find much more interesting the person who reads this verse and asks the question, "If not for Christ, would I have made this trade yesterday when I decided not to go back and tell the cashier that she gave me an extra dollar in change?"
One rightly gleams from this section of verses that no matter how great the earthly gain or one's desire for a thing, it is not worth the soul. However, it is not only great things which we have the choice to exchange our souls for. Man makes this exchange with every little sin, great sin, accidental or unrealized sin, premeditated sin, material sin and thought formed sin, corporately of our sin and with each sin individually.
It is the love and sacrifice of Christ by which God nullifies our transactions of the past and refuses to acknowledge the transactions of our future.
Still, it is easy to get caught up in and bogged down by our own awareness of our short comings. At times when I realize I have sinned; or think of how I have sinned in the past; or think of how, short of a sudden and unavoidable death bringing me face to face with Christ, I will no doubt sin many many times to come, I feel almost sick. Frozen and trapped knowing how far I fall below the standards set by Christ and my inability to follow even His simplest of commands at times.
It is often difficult to remember or accept deep down that no matter what I may have done or will do, God chooses to see neither my sins nor my shortcomings, but looks and sees a "little Christ".
Even knowing this, on a personal level I still become disappointed in myself for not being 'good enough', for disobeying, for failing to meet God's will that I have accepted as my absolute standard, law and rule with Christ as my loving, forever King.
For disappointing Him.
I need to trust in His strength to not only free me from sin, but to "break the power of cancelled sin." To ask forgiveness when I have done wrong, and to take to the cross all my feelings of self doubt and discouragement so that I may continue on in life and doing His work despite my short comings.
I must take strength in Christ and not let myself stand still for personal loathing of weaknesses and failures and the sinful nature of my human condition when God has already decreed me a new creation and adopted me as a brother of Christ, transcending through fulfillment the accusations of law and making me righteous for all of eternity in Him.
Also, I would like to make note of this weeks theme, Perseverance, and memory verse, which opened our Bible study that was held later Thursday night, the same day I wrote this devotional.
"But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. NKJVStudying the Bible and following after Christ; devoting all of myself to God and throwing myself at His feet; I must do these things and remain faithful to Him, but they won't magically produce the fruits of the Spirit in my life over night.
I'm not perfect, and, while God is working in me, He works in His own time for my good, knowing exactly where to take me. Even when I fail or fall or become discouraged, I MUST persevere!
I'm not perfect! I won't always follow God's perfect will and that's a sad thing, but He's not surprised and already had a plan for bringing me closer to Him which accounted for that screw up, and my next screw up, and my next screw up after that, and all the screw ups I'll make from now to the day I die! ((Still remembering, of course, Romans 6.))
I'm not perfect, and if I had to guess, I won't be for some time, but while I may not have all of my weaknesses, failings, short comings, etc, etc, etc straightened out just yet, I must trust in God and have faith as He continues to work in me by the Spirit. That while I may struggle with the failures of today, I am one of God's chosen. I am His child. He is and will continue to nurture me for good growth so long as I have the faith and trust in Him to be a good gardener. That I might one day grow into a great and beautiful plant bearing much healthy fruit for Him. That He has a plan for the fruits I will bear, and may use them in some way to feed and nurture His other children, just as He gathered other fruits and fed and nurtured me.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.