Thought for the Week - 24th January

Pastor Gareth Watkins
As we’re heading into February, we’re hoping that restrictions will fully lift and we’ll all be able to return to church as one big assembly.  But as we move into the second month of the year, I’d also like to ask you:  What do you think the major obstacle is for you when it comes to going on with God?
For me, the major obstacle is sin.  It’s an old fashioned word and not many people these days would know what it means.  But we know that the only way to get to God is to get your sins cleansed through Christ Jesus and to come into a new life, because God has given it to you.  If you have sin in your life, there’s going to be a consequence.
Going into 2022, as hard as a topic as it may be, each of us need to consider our sins.
Our sins are an obstacle to us going on in God.  Our sins blind us to the truth; we can’t see the truth of God because we can’t see past our sin.  Sin causes us to be selfish and look to our own selfish ways.  Sin makes us stubborn and proud.  Sin resists God and blocks the Holy Spirit in us.  Sin has a lot more effects; these are just a few.
We’re all sinners.  We have all sinned.  We have all fallen short of the standards of God.  But praise God for Jesus Christ!  In the middle of all the gloom of knowing we are sinners, praise God for Jesus Christ!  He came to set the captive free.  To forgive sins.  To take the veil from our lives.  To take that chain from our backs.  To take us into a new life!  We may have sins, but Jesus came to forgive us of each of those sins.  Whatever that sin might be.
In Nehemiah 9: 1-3 we read:
1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. 2 Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.
Imagine all the people of the town coming together, reading the Bible and confessing our personal sins out loud!  Not just our own sins, but those of our father’s!  There’s so much here about recognising sins and coming before God to repent of them – to say sorry to God for them.  That’s how important it was for them to be right before God.
It would be nice to think that the same hunger could come back into each of us at the beginning of the year.  The hunger to be free of sin.  That sin will hold you back from persevering in the things of God, keep you blind to the things of God, keep the Holy Spirit away from you, and keep the blessing of God away from you.  You will give up so much just to keep that sin.
All the things that come from God – blessings, joy, happiness, peace, love – can be sacrificed on the edge of a decision: shall I give this sin over to God?  Shall I confess this sin or shall I not?  In a moment of a time you’re making a decision to follow God or not.  You can suddenly not be on the right path anymore because you’ve chosen in your heart, before God, to let this sin rule your life.  You know what that sin is for you.
There comes a time where you have to stop still and then repent of that sin.  It doesn’t matter what that sin is.  Confess it and ask God to forgive you of it.  Ask God to renew your life because the effect the sin has had.  Step into your new life in God.
It’s for all of us.  It’s for you and it’s for me.  Where am I before God?  What do I have in my life that’s a sin?  What does Christ need to free me from? 
It is good for us to recognise what needs to be removed and to ask Christ to forgive us.  It will be a better 2022 for every one of us with our sins forgiven rather than if we keep hold of them.  Think what needs to be put right in your life.

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